I have been a photographer on and off pretty much as far back as I can remember. My grandfather loved photography and he gave me my first camera, a Brownie, when I was a kid. I loved it right from the start, my desire to use a camera creatively came a little later in life. When I was 12 I started reading Modern Photography and Popular Photography and anything else I could get my hands on. While I had always loved art this was when I realized that making images like the ones I was seeing was something I was passionate about. I was ready, but life had other plans.
I consider 1988 as the year I really began to apply myself, at this time I had my work reviewed by a local pro who specialized in birds. John Shaw and Galen Rowell became my inspiration, through their books and articles. I was shooting nature for the most part and spent a great many mornings heading out before sunrise to a local park or to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with my Nikon and Fuji Velvia slide film.
I got a job at the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State in 1996. I had a good job with great benefits and enough free time to continue shooting and every fall I would head out to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for a week of fall colors. In 1997 I attended a workshop with Galen in Montana at Glacier National Park. Two things happened there, I received the highest praise from him during a morning critique and we became friends. The friendship lasted until he and his wife Barbara were killed in a plane crash in the fall of 2002.
When I was in graduate school I lost all free time and photography became just a memory. After a few years of this I walked away from a PhD, got deathly ill, and decided that I would spend the rest of my life doing what I love. I had to catch up to the DSLR age, my F5 was now obsolete. The digital world of photography was my next challenge. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and the new concepts of DSLR photography all had to be mastered.
Having mostly been a natural light shooter I attended a workshop on studio lighting. In the first couple years I crammed as much learning and shooting in as I could. I spent over a year being mentored by Dale and Jenn Simmons of Blackwatch Art in their Cleveland studio. Eventually I put my own studio together in my basement.
Over the next few years I began to get healthy again and started getting some exciting clients. I met Michael Myers of J Michael Designs, who designed logo, ads, and has been both a colleague and a friend as well as a source of work. In 2018 Jenny Simmons started working with me as my assistant, hair and makeup artist, and Photoshop artist.
Last summer I entered a few images in a juried art show. It was my first time doing this and two images were selected and one became the cover of the brochure. I loved the experience and am devoting more time to fine art and my own first love, nature photography. I also started shooting for the Aurora Advocate last fall and I have a gallery of work done for them on the site. I did a little blogging but got away from it when I realized I needed to overhaul my site, and I am beginning those again.
Lastly, I shoot all kinds of jobs. Commercial, editorial, retail and fine art. It took a while in my life to jump to doing what I love instead of sticking to a safer and more secure career. So far, in the years since I followed my heart, life just keeps getting better and that is worth everything.
Cleveland Museum of Art Grainger McKoy J Michael Design Peg's Foundation Aurora Advocate Keller Williams MJH Contracting Animal Medical Center
Individuals and other entities not listed such as clients who hired for a third party, family and other portraits on a retail basis can be obtained by request.
Gear Here: I shoot Nikon Cameras, have since my first one in the early 90's. Currently I use a D3s and a D810 as my primary bodies. I use Nikkor lenses, zooms and primes. For flash work I have Nikon SB 900s, 800's and 600's, and an SU-8 controller. These sit atop Pocket Wizard Flex TT5's and a TT1. Gitzo carbon fiber tripod, Kirk Enterprises ball head and Really Right Stuff brackets. Manfrotto flash light stands and an assortment of soft boxes, light shaping tools and gels. The big lights are Alien Bees, with grids, barn doors, soft boxes, gels, snoots,beauty dish, and probably some extras I'm forgetting. Sekonic light meters, stands, boom stands, sand bags and a few brain cells to rub together and make all this gear add up to a photo. For a more detailed list ask and I will send you the spreadsheet I made for the insurance agent. If you just want to know if I have a specific lens ask, and no I don't have a 500mm f/4. Yet.