I've been snapping pictures since 1980 when I joined my high school yearbook staff. The Faculty Adviser gave me a quick five minute lesson on how to use the viewfinder and focus the lens and then said, “Now go take some pictures of the football team”. I looked at him like he had a third purple eye!! I went to the game and snapped a bunch of pictures. Later, when they were developed, I was surprised…the pictures came out perfect, well, pretty good anyway. I was hooked. I became my high school’s sports photographer.
After high school and college, I joined the US Navy and caught the photography bug again, purchasing my first camera, the Minolta X570. Back then, I wanted to use it to document the sights I encountered in the exotic locations the Navy was sure to take me. After four years of active duty and a couple of thousand pictures, the Navy discharged me and that hobby took a back burner to real life, you know, wife, job, kids...
Fast forward to 2007, when I deployed to the Middle East as a Naval Reservist. I purchased one of those new fangled digital cameras, a Nikon D40, a very capable, compact, lightweight and easy to use camera which makes a perfect first step for anyone wanting to get into digital SLR photography. During the deployment, I got really intimate with the D40, shooting over 9500 photos on the deployment. Together with photos from other members of my reserve unit, I put together a visual slide show documenting our experience. Back at our home port, I became the "default" unit photographer. During special training events, I'd shoot our training evolutions and post them online. I even managed to get some of my photos published in The Naval Reservist magazine for an article that was featured on our unit. In 2010, my youngest daughter joined a local youth track club and I started shooting her events. The club’s head coach asked if I would be willing to shoot the whole club during their track meets. Of course I said yes as this gave me an opportunity to perfect my photography skills. And the rest, they say, is history.