Growing up I recall visiting Canada on a Boy Scout Trip and being fascinated by another Scout's camera and gear. Through this encounter I received my first 'exposure' to photography (see what I did there). As I grew up I remember enjoying snapping photos of family vacations, but it never really materialized much beyond that. I bought my first camera from Erwin Ball of Ball Photo in Asheville, NC. I read photography books and learned to process my own film and work a photographer on my high school annual staff. I had aspirations of becoming a photographer one day. It actually wasn't until I enlisted in the US Army that my thoughts drifted to pursuing photography as a career. I purchased my first real camera, my beloved Nikon F3.
During the proceeding years, I resembled the paparazzi, taking photos of my kids every move trying to document as much of their early years as possible. Once they got to the age that my quest of life documentation proved to be a nuisance, the Nikon found its new home atop a shelf in my closet where it remained indefinitely. It wasn't until my second deployment to Iraq in 2004 that my passion for photography was reignited. I wish I had a super poetic or inspirational story as to how this occurred, but honestly, as I watched the combat photographers that accompanied our team that I took notice of all the different camera equipment and accessories these guys possessed. I started to ponder how far camera technology had come over the years. When I returned home from this trip I began casually looking online as to the specs that some of the best cameras were shipping with these days..just out of curiosity.
It wasn’t long after this research began that I purchased a new camera, this time a Nikon D300 - this was when the photography bug really grabbed ahold of me..once again. After multiple camera upgrades and the better half of the next 2 years, I came to the conclusion that landscape and outdoor photography was the genre that was most appealing to me. I dabbled in portraits and family beach photography - even photographed quite a few weddings, but found that I didn’t receive the same level of excitement and satisfaction as that of shooting the great outdoors. Shortly after this realization, I made the decision to shift my focus to landscape photography.
I’m a naturally ramped-up person and landscape photography provided me with a channel to encourage patience and a means to slow down. I’ll never forget the tranquil feeling I experienced during my initial attempt at landscape photography. I remember arriving early to my location, setting up my composition and waiting for the setting sun – this was the moment I began to realize what my passion was. The transition time between setting up my shot and waiting for the “good light” to arrive is still meaningful to me as it creates a captive audience within myself and provides ample time to reflect and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all. Outside of the technical and creative aspect of photography, I enjoy teaching the storytelling ability of photographs and encouraging others to not focus solely on the the end result, but to appreciate the overall photographic experience.
After careers in the military and civilian sectors we decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a professional photographer. My wife and sole mate moved back to Brevard, NC where I now focus on portrait and nature photography.
So, that's how my on again-off again love affair with outdoor photography evolved.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story - I greatly appreciate it!