Falling Back-Asswards Into A Passion.
It Began In The Stars.
Some of you know how I came to find a camera in my hands, many do not.
Here’s my story.
Unlike a lot of photographers, photography was never my “Thing.” I hadn’t been shooting for decades, born with a camera in my hands, lamenting the loss of film. To me film was pretty much a dinosaur from the past. Sure I’ve heard about it, even seen it before, but as far as I was concerned it belonged right next to the dinosaurs in a museum.
Digital was well established by the time I started looking for my first camera, so that’s the way I wanted to go. I was on a budget, and not having to pay for film processing was a huge draw.
Back in ’07-’08, I had a brief, expensive but brief, interest in astronomy. I had my own big(read lots of $$) telescope, and all the fancy gear that went with it. Looking through all the astronomy magazines I started thinking, “I could get some of those awesome photos through my telescope too.” So off in search of a camera I went. I figured I should at least get a camera that I could use to take snap-shots too, as opposed to a dedicated astro-imaging camera, a little box with a sensor in it that needed to be hooked up to a computer while taking photos. Something a little more practical.
I didn’t want a point and shoot though, had to be a DSLR. And since two friends were Canon shooters, I became one too.
Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun.
Coincidentally, I was an avid hunter at this time as well. The passion I have for capturing images of the great outdoors now, I put into my pursuit of all things feathered back then. Ducks, geese, pheasant and grouse were my quarry of choice. And along with my dog Bailey, pursue them I did.
My dear sweet Bailey was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known, gentle beyond measure, my first daddy’s little girl.
Put her in the woods however, and she changed. Miraculously that sweet, cuddle on the couch, member of the family, was replaced by an all business, pure bird hunting machine. It was pure joy to watch at work. Those of you with any experience seeing a good bird dog work the woods know exactly what I mean, she was canine poetry in motion.
Sadly, around the same time I was in search of my first camera, Bailey was becoming too old to hunt. The desire was there, I could see it in her eyes, but what her mind wanted, her body could no longer deliver. While I continued to hunt, without her with me, my joy of time spent in the woods lessened considerably. Without my girl it just wasn’t the same. I started looking for reasons to stay home.
Yet a spark in the back of my mind had begun to glow.
All those mornings spent standing in a beaver pond, or laying in a corn field, waiting for the first mallards or geese to come in, also held something else.
They held magic.
Surprisingly up to this point in my hunting life, as many times as I had thought, “this would make an amazing picture,” as I witnessed the world waking up, seeing nature come alive in ways most will never see or experience, it never clicked that maybe I should get a camera.
What can I say, I’m a slow learner.
Passion Is Born In 2008.
Once I started taking my camera with me on my hunting trips, it really didn’t take long to convert my love of all things hunting into a love of hunting a different, and often more elusive prey, with a much different “weapon” of choice.
All the time spent in the woods, I was never blind to what was around me, but I didn’t really see it either. I had always felt deep in the forest was one of the most beautiful places I could be, but it took leaving my gun at home, entering the forest armed only with my camera, to really begin to see and appreciate my surroundings. It was then that perfect light became my quarry, and I was relentless in my desire to capture it.
So, I gave up hunting, sold all of my firearms, and I’ve been focused, pun completely intended, on capturing and sharing the beauty of the natural world ever since.
Beauty most people will never see first hand.
On the plus side of giving up hunting with a gun, I don’t need to pluck a photograph. The downside though, they don’t taste very good either.
That was back in the spring of 2008.
I hadn’t set out to become a “photographer” back then, that was purely by accident. I never thought photography would become anything more than another in a long list of expensive hobbies.
I’ve never been so wrong about anything in my life.
So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
And for those of you wondering, I fell so deeply in love with capturing the landscape here on Earth, I ended up selling my telescope without ever having so much as mounted my camera on it.