About Me

Imogene Pass, Colorado

During my sophomore year in high school, I had a chemistry teacher, John Underwood, who ran a photography club in the school. One day, I think mainly to get out of class, I went with a bunch of guys to the dark room to learn how to develop film and make prints. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.

It wasn’t long after that, that my parents bought me my first camera, a simple Canon fixed lens range finder, and nothing has been the same since.

Photography pretty much consumed my life from that point on in high school. It provided me a niche, I wasn’t a jock, punk rocker, artsy or, thankfully, a hood. I wasn’t one of the cool kids and most people didn’t take the time to know me. However, with the exception of the bullies and some fringe groups, all the rest wanted something I could provide - someone to take and develop their pictures. While they didn’t know me, they knew of me and the value I provided. That alone was enough to keep me safe and guard my fragile ego. I was relevant.

Even the staff picked up on it. I was often pulled from class by administrators and sent out to shoot something they found interesting or newsworthy. My last two years in high school I was the yearbook photographer and spent probably as much time in the dark room as I did in class. Eventually, I graduated and due to the staff’s fondness of me and my photography, I am probably one of the few kids to make it in National Honor Society with a low 2.9 GPA.

Seward, Alaska

Photography also brought me other benefits. It was a part time job and put a little money in my pocket. I was one of the primary photographers for a local paper and worked in the lab for a local professional photographer. It also fostered a pretty unique relationship with my dad. Soon after I got into photography my dad got the bug as well. He got a camera, built a dark room and started to accompany me on my photo assignments. It’s pretty advantageous as a kid to have a parent invested in your hobby. When I wanted to buy my second camera, a Canon match needle SLR, it didn’t take much to convince him to buy it for me. Wouldn't you know it, at the same time, my dad needed a new camera too.

We spent a lot of time on weekends going to places specifically to shoot. While it felt a little odd, I even went to some fashion model photo shoots with my dad. In retrospect, it was good we had that time together.

One notable experience, which I guess was my 15 minutes of fame, happened during this period in my life. I was vacationing with my family on Mackinaw Island and stumbled upon Michigan’s Governor, William Milliken, who was on the island vacationing as well. I asked and he consented to me taking his picture. When I got home and developed it, I thought it was a pretty good shot. So, I sent a copy to the governor. Within a couple weeks I got a nice thank you letter from him. However, much to my surprise it was quickly followed by a letter from his press secretary. Apparently, the governor liked it so much that he wanted to use it as one of his campaign photos and asked if I’d lend it to him. Of course, I said yes and mailed off the negative. I told the story to my editor and she, wrote a story about me for the local paper. I was famous!

Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas

At about this time, I received an offer to work for a paper at a Northern Michigan University. It was kind of a scholarship of sorts. But my parents weren’t in favor of me pursuing photography as a career. They didn’t think there was much of a stable future in it. I have had an amazing life but if I were to point out one of my regrets, I wish I had stayed with photography and took the offer.

Well, fame fades quickly and it wasn’t long before I was off to college at Michigan State. While I got a job with the university’s newspaper shooting assignments on campus, it didn’t last long. Classes and socializing got in the way. Looking back, I rarely used my camera during those four years. Much to my distain, I shot some weddings for friends who were looking for a cheap, free photographer but that’s about it. Back in the day, digital didn’t’ exist yet so every picture I took cost more money than I had. I rolled and developed my own Black and White film. But still, the paper and developing supplies cost money and my dad wasn’t at college to help subsidize the habit. So, my camera collected dust.

Even after college I didn’t use my camera much. My interest was in other areas. Eventually I got married and had kids and I now had a reason to dust off the camera. It was also the time digital was appearing into the consumer market. So, I sold all my camera equipment, lens, bags and everything and bought my first digital camera. a fixed lens Casio. It was convenient and a lot cheaper, but the quality was pretty bad. But it did the job and afforded me the ability to capture some important and memorable times with my family. It didn’t take long, and I up graded to a fixed Nikon digital – a little better but not great.

Raising a family took precedence and I didn’t shoot much in my twenties. However, as I got older, I got the bug again and more opportunities presented themselves. I upgraded to a Canon Digital SLR not much different than the one I am currently using. I could finally take the pics I wanted to take digitally with the quality I had been accustomed to with Kodachrome.

Key West, Florida

Currently and probably for the last 20 years I have set aside time each year for vacations where I can focus on taking pictures. Many of these trips have been to the Florida Keys. Since the folks I go with aren’t inherently interested in photography, I traditionally get up before sun up, find a place to get a coffee, usually a gas station, and head out to a pre identified location. Once there I setup, sit back, drink my coffee and wait for the picture to develop as the sun comes up over the horizon. I have to say those times of solitude are probably some of my most enjoyable refreshing cathartic times of my life.

So what’s next? Well, there are still places to go both near and far – Castles in Ireland, Big Game in Africa, the Moai statues of Easter Island or the wild life of the Galápagos Islands. Not sure I’ll make it to any of these but that’s okay. There is still plenty of things to shoot in my own back yard and more camera equipment to buy and upgrade. I don’t see my interest wavering much and thankfully it’s a hobby that I can enjoy well into retirement, whenever that may be. Thanks for sticking with this rather long dialogue and I hope you enjoy my pictures.

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Las Vegas, Nevada

Moab, utah

Frankfort, Michigan

Homer, Alaska

Smoky Mountains

Dry Tortugas, Florida