I learned photography by trial and error, and I’m still learning.
In junior high I spent most days after school in a slightly larger than phone-booth sized darkroom that my father built, dealing with all those smelly photo chemicals and a totally analog process. Anyone remember Kodak D-76, stop-bath, fixer, and hypo-clear chemical baths?
One of my first summer jobs during junior high was selling film, camera and darkroom equipment to folks three times my age, compensated at $1.65 per hour at “That Other Photo Place” that was located next to Weingarten’s Grocery at a strip center in southwest Houston. The wage was nothing compared to the employee discounts I received on equipment. That was my real incentive—to be able to afford a coveted Nikkormat FT2 or Olympus OM-1 and a fast lens at the time.
In 1975, I was fortunate to be accepted to The High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston. It was inspiring to be around so many creative and artistic types. I shot lots of film and dabbled with reel-to-reel black and white video. It was easy to fit in at a time in one’s life when fitting is not so easy.
While other kids my age attending “normal” senior high schools in Houston participated in sports after school, I was slaving away at $2.10 per hour as a paid intern with Fred Damon Photographics in West University every afternoon. Fred would shoot anything—wedding chapel deals, oilfield equipment, executive portraits, passport pics, etc. You name it, he did it, and I’m the guy that printed some of that stuff.
I can vividly recall Fred coming into the darkroom, smoking his ever-present cigar, and instructing that I need to “dodge and burn” a bit more on that oilfield generator-something photo he took over at a Bechtel project. The amount of effort it would take me to get a black & white print of a generator just right for Fred, or making sure that all the Harmony Wedding Chapel color prints were consistently color balanced, taught me a lot about the need to practice every day, and to keep going until you get it right—no matter how boring the subject.
Upon receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television-Film from U.T. Austin, I became a professional television news photographer, editor, and live field producer at Channel 24 KVUE–TV ABC ‘Action News’ in Austin, Texas.
It was there I learned the importance of being prepared, with the right equipment, or sometimes really crappy old and heavy equipment, and working quickly, all of the time. Sometimes very very quickly – like at 3 AM on a freezing cold morning to cover a fire in east Austin, rush back to the station in NW Austin, edit the b-roll, write up a quick summary and give it to the 5:25 AM news cut-in anchor for the lead spot news story of the morning.
I also learned that no matter the condition of the equipment or its age, getting the basics right, and using whatever tools you had at your disposal, was essential to effective storytelling for TV news. You could have the most interesting subject matter or incredible scene to capture, but without charged batteries, a working camera, lights, microphone, cables and microwave signal, there was no story, no picture. At KVUE, I was lucky to have great teachers/producers and work alongside very talented and true journalists. “24 Action News” was number #1 in our market, and I was so proud to be a part of that achievement. I shall always cherish the experience.
After eight wonderful years in the TV news business, I decided I needed to make some real cash. A few years later a good friend told me about this Internet domain name thing, and that it was going to be big, and he was right. So, for much of the past 21 years I’ve been heavily involved in the Internet domain name industry, while constantly taking pictures.
Being in the domain name industry for the past 21 years has afforded me the lucky privilege of being able to travel extensively (57 countries and counting!) and experience the many wonders that our world offers. I never let up shooting when on the road, most of the time having only a few minutes or even seconds to capture an image, and now I’m ready to share much of my content library.
No matter the landscape, object or subject, I’m always imagining a mood I want to capture, and how I want it to appear in final form, before I snap the shutter on my camera.
I thank you for visiting my blog! It’s early days and a work in progress, so bear with me. I do hope you enjoy the photos. I’m open to suggestions, and will be updating, switching things around, etc. as time permits. In the meantime, please contact me if you’d like to purchase a photograph or two! 🙂