“I came from Connecticut initially. I’d lived there my whole life until I left for Utah to come here for school.

Being surrounded by mountains is not something I was used to, coming from the East Coast. Having the mountains and that sheer open sky opened my eyes, and having access to that kind of nature literally right behind my dormitory at the university was spectacular.

It started with getting my first DSLR about three years ago and messing around with that. Before I was just taking photos with my iPhone. From there I’ve delved into long-exposure photography and a little bit of portrait photography, but my main focus is definitely landscapes and cityscapes.

I like to use long exposure photography, even during the day if I can. I’ll use a neutral density filter to help capture the motion in my shots, if there’s something that I can really capture and maybe change the way the looks to the eye. Like a car trail or, if you get lucky enough, cloud trails and star trails.

One of my favorites is a shot of the eclipse. There’s something going on with the filter I was using that created a kind of reflected solar flare.

It’s neat to see how you can change the way something looks using the camera. It’s cool to see how different something can look through the lens.

My interest in science in general has always stemmed from wanting to learn about the world around me. That interest has led me to be conscious about global warming and climate change, and to want to capture things around us that may not be there in the next 50 -100 years.”

—Gabriel Spiegel, Chemistry student, View Gabriel’s work on his Instagram page

We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at