Well, for my first journal entry, I feel like I should just say a bit about myself, maybe a little information on how I got to where I am today.
I guess I’ve always been interested in photography since I was a kid. I think it was my 7th birthday that I received my first camera. My birthday is in August and more often than not I celebrated the occasion while on a family camping trip rather than in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon with friends. As a child, I wasn’t always happy about this. It was hard enough having a summer birthday, meaning that I never got any special recognition at school with singing and cupcakes like so many of my classmates did; but to top it off I had to be pulled away from the few friends I played with during the summer to go camping in an area I hadn’t learned to appreciate yet, trading a traditional birthday for something more unconventional, something a 7-year old may have had problems with. The hardest thing for me to accept was having a birthday cobbler instead of a birthday cake, it seems so silly now but I remember the lack of cake being devastating concept. I also remember the cobbler being delicious. Despite my unwillingness to part with a traditional birthday, I loved camping. Huckleberry stuffed trout, thunderstorms, exploring the woods, fishing, finding frogs, I loved it. One of the greatest pleasures was that my parents would let me pick out a “fun cereal” or two to bring; meaning I ate Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms for breakfast, a rare treat. So one morning I open the box of Cocoa Puffs, bursting with anticipation over my chocolate infused breakfast when I got more than I had hoped for. In addition to the chocolaty balls of goodness that came tumbling down into my cereal bowl and onto the surrounding picnic table was a green camera that had been stealthily hid inside the bag of cereal (it was an unopened box of cereal, or so it seemed). I remember the utter thrill of holding that camera for the first time, feeling powerful in knowing that the recording of family memories and images was now in part, up to me. It made me feel important and excited. So many possibilities, so many ideas I had for pictures.
Five years later, I had a choice. I had been studying the French language for 8 years, and I had the opportunity to travel to France with my 8th grade class. I had been looking forward to making the trip ever since I had seen my brother do the same thing with his 8th grade class, several years prior. I had some money saved up, not enough of course, but close enough for my parents to make up the difference. I didn’t go to France. I bought a camera instead. I had been feeling held back for a long time by the camera I had received years prior on that camping trip when I was 7. It was time to make a choice, and I chose what I was more passionate about. It was a Canon Rebel 2000, one of the most popular film SLRs ever, and maybe still is the best beginners film camera. Over the next few years, I became more serious about photography. I started to experiment more, and assumed the role of family photographer on most vacations we took. I did however, find it hard to photograph people, as I was always much more interested in landscapes, old broken down barns and buildings, and lightning, always lightning. At this stage in my life, I wanted to be a storm chaser. I loved meteorology, and even mentored with a local meteorologist in 8th grade. It wasn’t until a trip to a monastery in New Mexico with my youth group in 9th grade that I had a chance to photograph lightning for the first time. It was a rush like none other. It’s always a rush when you hear the shutter snap and you know, you just know it’s going to be a beautiful image. But the feeling I had when I knew I had captured images of lighting was unlike anything else; I was jumping and dancing around, hollering and yelling with a smile big enough that the corners of my mouth were almost touching on the backside of my head. It is that feeling that I have been chasing ever since.
Here I am, 11 years after that first lightning image was captured. A lot has changed in those years. I thought meteorology was my dream, but I fell in love with that feeling I got after shooting my first great photos. I attended the U of O as an art major with emphasis in photography and lasted 2.5 years in that program before leaving. The U of O art school is heavily based in abstract art, and having recognizable objects in my photographs was frowned upon. My brain does not work in the abstract, and nothing they said ever made sense to me. After discussing my situation with many photographers who make a living traveling the world with a camera in hand, I realized that I had to carve my own path to success. So here I am, working in both digital and film, traveling as much as I can in hopes of capturing even a fraction of the beauty this world holds so I can share it with others. That is my goal, that’s why I’m here; there are so many things to see, so many days and nights, sunsets and sunrises, each one completely unique from all the others, this world has so much to offer and it is my hope and dream to witness and share as much of it as possible.
I welcome any questions or comments, e-mail me at Bigfootphoto@gmail.com.