In March 2012, I took part in I'm an Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! The contest is an engineering enrichment and engagement activity, an X Factor-style competition for engineers, where students are the judges, and engineers and students talk online.
This month, the organizers and funders of I'm an Engineer followed up with me to see how I've used the £500 prize money since March 2012. This was the note I sent to them this morning:
"Following my I'm an Engineer win in the Health Zone, I started a science photography initiative. I spent $800 dollars on a used Canon T3i slr camera, and started a website for my science photography at http://paigesphotos.photoshelter.com/.
Since my original camera purchase, I've used my I'm an Engineer winnings as well as personal funds to buy extra camera lenses, including a Canon 100mm Macro lens that can magnify objects up to two times their actual size.
My goal was to provide inspiring and thought-provoking photography of the world at the small scale that we don't always see up close, the scale of plants and insects. This is also known as macro photography. By using a special macro lens and other specialized equipment, I can magnify the size of tiny insects such as ants and spiders.
Every month, I fund my own website where teachers and students can download complimentary macro photography images for educational use. I always attempt to identify the plants and insects in my images, for educational use, and welcome teachers and students to help identify and describe the plants, insects and wildlife depicted in my photos.
My new photography website also a portfolio of my science journalism, so that students and teachers can learn more about science through my photos and writing.
I hope that through my experience as an I'm an Engineer participant, and because of my winnings, students and teachers will be inspired by my photography to learn more about the world around them. Students can use my images for their class projects by clicking on the 'Buy' button on an image, selecting 'Downloads' and 'Personal use.' Complimentary 500 pixel images are provided for personal and educational use."
If you are a teacher or student and would like to use my plant or insect photography for school projects, you can visit my website and download free small versions of any image (500 pixels wide) for personal/educational use. You can also purchase larger versions for personal or editorial use. Please contact me if you have any questions about using my images.