Bryan High School Athletics


Seniors on Bryan volleyball team share love of photography


The Eagle | 9/19/2019

PHOTO CREDIT: Bryan High School Athletics

Bryan assistant volleyball coach Jennifer Pittman will see two of her players, Reagan Smith and Katy Valerius, out and about on campus during class time, cameras in tow. She’ll wonder why they aren’t in class, but they actually are.

Valerius and Smith share a passion for photography. Sometimes, they’ll roam the campus looking for subjects for their photography class, or they’ll take pictures at school district events. Sometimes they’ll go across town. Smith recently went to Texas A&M’s campus for an assignment to photograph a stranger and brought Valerius with her. Smith admits she was hesitant to approach people she didn’t know and having Valerius there helped break the ice.

“We had a strangers project, so we went on campus during [a football] game day,” Valerius said. “My theme was the [Corps of Cadets], and her theme was student life. She’s kind of shy, so I had to help her get people’s attention. She would do the rest, but I would just get their attention.”

The defensive specialists also share their love for the community feel of their team, and Valerius says it helps her cope with anxiety. Whether on the court or the bench, Pittman says Smith and Valerius vocally support the Lady Vikings, and she thinks photography has helped them grow over the years.

“They talk more on the court,” Pittman said. “They’re more of a presence when we’re in practice, and they just yell and get everybody up. They’ve taken hold of their job and that role of players who come off the bench, so when they do get off the bench and onto the court, you just see that transfer from one spot to another. When they come out of their shells, it’s an amazing thing to see when they grow from freshmen to seniors.”

Valerius and Smith also serve as team photographers, taking pictures during subvarsity matches. Pittman says the younger players love the attention, and it helps the entire Bryan volleyball program bond.

Valerius says she loves taking pictures at sporting events, especially baseball. Her twin brother, Matthew Valerius, is a first baseman for the Vikings.

Smith says she enjoys photographing nature and her vacations and has been “infatuated” with photography since receiving a camera as a Christmas gift years ago. Both Valerius and Smith credit teachers John Burrows, Brittany Anderson and Laura Miller with helping them foster their love for the medium. Both seniors hope to pursue a career in photography and are considering attending Sam Houston State for its photography program.

“For photography, a lot of people that don’t really know how to use a camera, they just put it on auto,” Valerius said. “For us, you learn all the techniques and what to do. You learn how to make a photo how you like it, the perfect settings. You also learn how the camera works.”

Both Lady Vikings say photography affects how they see the world. Sometimes they note when a passing view through the car window or a moment with friends would make a good picture.

“It’s a way to express yourself also,” Smith said. “You can take a picture of anything you want, and it’s not like it can be easily duplicated. It’s your own type of thing.”

NOTES — Smith’s twin sister Alex Smith also is a defensive specialist for the Lady Vikings. ... Bryan (14-17) is off to a good sta... Click here to read full article