I was recently thinking about photography and how it all started for me. The first thing that came to mind was, I got it from my dad. We recently celebrated Father’s Day, which can sometimes be hard (I lost my father 21 years ago) and it caused me to reflect on where my love for photography was born.
Where it began
I will never forget all the stories my dad would tell and the cameras he had. Everywhere we went he had his camera. Nikon was the brand and from that moment there was NO other option for me, a Nikon man was born. I remember as a teenager going to service merchandise (catalog retailer back in the day) after wearing holes in the camera pages of the catalog book. We would go look at the same camera every few weeks, the Nikon N2020. Although I knew EVERYTHING about it, I still wanted to see it each visit. Take a look through the lens. Hear dad tell stories of what he shot and what lens would be best for each situation. Then I’d hand it back, only to wait for our next trip. I’m sure the salespeople got real tired of this face.
Finally, I had earned enough money to purchase my prized possession (cutting grass paid off). I had to wait a few days to get to the store, but after days of begging, I finally arranged a trip to Cord camera. I was ready to get my beloved Nikon N2020 (wayyyy before the digital era). Crazy thing happened when I got there, the slick camera store guy talked me in this new camera that was supposed to be the next thing, a disc camera. To this day I don’t know how I got talked out of my dream camera. None the less, I rocked that disc camera until it was phased out.
There was what I called the dark period. During this time I didn’t spend a lot of time in photography. I was in college, being cool and not thinking much about taking pics. It’s amazing though how your passion finds you. I was spending time with my college GFs dad and he found out I loved to shoot and we would talk cameras and darkroom talk for hours. He even showed me a few tips and tricks that I was able to use a little later. Truth is when it’s in you it always there waiting to be thrust into the forefront.
Back to Life
7/7/97 one of the worst days of my life. I got a call from my mom which was quickly interrupted by a medical professional who informed me that my dad had passed. I was living in Indy at the time so they gave me the real news rather than have me driving 3 hours unsure. Tragic times, but on the other side of tragedy, I had a burning desire to continue again what I learned first from my father.
As soon as I got back in town I took yet another visit to Cord Camera (Indy location this time) and purchased my first SLR, yes, of course, it was a Nikon… I enrolled in some classes and it was on and poppin. Digital photography didn’t exist yet, so I had to learn on film. In fact most of my classes I was forced to shoot on slide film which was unforgiving. Basically, it provided the image as it was shot. No Lightroom, no photoshop magic. Just raw images. what I loved about learning this way is that it taught me how to get it right in camera! I became a technician, learning about light, light meters all of the technical stuff I could find so that I could be effective in any situation. To this day, I’m still in love with the tech side as much as the creative. I love knowing the rules, so I understand when to break em! Yup, I got it from my dad.
Here I am some 21 years later, still doing what I Love, capturing the essence of my subjects. I have shot with amazing SLR’s, medium format cameras and now the amazing Nikon DSLR’s. I’m forever learning and growing striving to be the very best I can be. In fact, I’m in the process now of becoming a CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) and will be pursuing becoming a Master photographer after that.
I’m honored to have multiple publications, magazine features, and contest awards. In the end, I owe it all to my dad. I’m so grateful for the seed that was planted and all of the amazing things I learned from him. I wish he were here with me today to talk shop and shoot together. Since he isn’t, I take the time to teach both of my daughters as much as they want to learn. Both already have a keen eye and have found their way to help out in our business. Nothing makes me more proud. I know the ultimate gift I have comes from my Heavenly Father and I’m grateful that my natural father helped nurture that gift.