Callie Klinkmueller knew.
One Friday afternoon near sunset, walking back across campus with a friend, she couldn’t help but notice. The setting sun had turned Popsicle orange, fingering its light across clouds that looked like stretched cotton.
So, she took a shot of a fountain at High Point University and sent it to her mom in Massachusetts. A few hours later, her mom emailed her back.
“How did you do that?’’ she asked.
With a $12 crystal ball.
Callie bought it online two weeks ago. It’s the size of a baseball, no more than a few pounds, usually used for meditation. But Callie didn’t want to use it for that.
Nope. She wanted to use it for her photography.
She assists with university photography, one of her two part-time jobs on campus. Plus, she’s taking her first photography class this semester, and she saw her crystal ball as a new tool. She started using it right away.
It was just past 5 p.m., and she was walking back to the car with a friend toward the Greek Village and the Center for Student Success, currently under construction. Then, she looked up and stopped.
“It was the sky,’’ she says. “It looked like cotton candy, and the streaks coming off looked like the streams jets leave. I would’ve taken the picture no matter what, but this time, I pulled out my new toy.’’
She plucked her crystal ball from her backpack – she had just gotten it earlier that day – and she positioned it in front of the fountain near the Center for Student Success. Then click.
Not with her fancy $1,300 camera, though – with her iPhone. That was all she had.
Right away, she knew. All she had to do was look at the image.
“I was so excited,’’ says Callie, a senior from Acton, Massachusetts, majoring in strategic communication and vocal performance. “I didn’t think anything could make me feel so excited except a completely perfect picture. I don’t get that ‘happy high’ with anything else.’’
Since then, her image has caught the attention of more than just her mother. Once she sent it out on Instagram, she got responses from friends, classmates and strangers.
“That’s the whole part of creating art,’’ Callie says. “Widening your horizons.’’
An Inspiring Environment
Callie found her love of photography as an HPU freshman when she became part of the university’s Media Fellows Program. Once she started using professional cameras and editing equipment for video projects, she became enthralled with the power of image.
So, she saved her money, and three years ago, she bought a $1,300 Canon camera. But it’s a $12 crystal ball that really has set her off.
The crystal ball refracted the image of the fountain upside down. When she flipped it, she saw her campus right side up, her fingers upside down and everything else cast in an ethereal, almost unworldly light.
It all reminds her of what one image can do.
“It’s a new way of seeing things, ‘’ she says. “Even when I don’t have my camera or anything with me, all of a sudden I realize I’m looking at things differently.
“It’s helping me hone my craft. But it’s making me see more beautiful things. That I like.’’