From a young age, I have been fascinated by photography and capturing that one moment on celluloid that will never come again. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to capture photos that were thought and memory provoking on many levels. I wanted to FEEL the photo. So I continued trying to capture photos from a unique perspective and try to make my photos feel "Non-standard" to what you typically see out there.
I began with my first box camera(what a clunky thing that was but it was still fun), and then moved on to what we all remember as the "Kodak Instamatic" camera with those funny cartridges you would have to send in to get developed. Those were good times eh? I loved the simplicity of it and how easy it was to just snap that shot. I later moved on to an Olympus 35mm all-manual camera. I wanted to force myself to learn all the nuances and ways to shoot with different lighting techniques in different backgrounds. I ended up following a path of mostly B&W photography. I loved this because it was "Simply complex" in it's own way. I loved how the shadows, shapes, contrasts, and lighting all came together to make something artistic and beautiful. I learned that sometimes, you don't need color to see the beauty within a photo. The B&W photography also allowed me to do my own developing and enlarging at the Smithsonian photo lab. There's something to say about working with the film, chemicals, enlargers, photo papers, all under a sky of dim red lighting. It was fascinating to me how the process went from the 'snap' of the camera to the 'click' of the enlarger.
When digital technology came along, I picked up my first digital "Point-and-shoot" camera. It was great for small trips and simple photos but I was still trying to do everything I could to alter the settings to make a better photo. Of course the people I was trying to shoot(mostly friends and family) were getting frustrated because of all the setting changes I was trying to make in-between shots and then my trying to get everyone in different poses.
They were used to the usual "Say Cheese!" photo.
One day, (and a very good day might I add), I FINALLY got a Nikon DSLR camera. I was so excited! Then I took a look at all the settings and almost scared myself back to the point and shoot camera. But then I remembered my time with the old 35mm Olympus and how I pushed myself to learn how to do it all manually, and without the instant gratification of seeing the photo right after I took it. I had to wait until it was developed to see if I got it right or not. So I soldiered on with the new camera and I learned so much out of it because I was able to see the result immediately. This took me to the next level of using Photoshop and Lightroom. I've used Photoshop in the past but it has come a long way since I first started using it with my first digital camera. These days, you almost can just carelessly take a photo somewhere and fix it into an amazing shot. But who wants to do all that extra work right? So it's better to try to take the best photo you can, then touch it up, instead of having to "Fix" it.
The Nikon DSLR lasted many years and was a fantastic camera but I needed to keep up with the technology too. So it was time to upgrade to a much higher quality(and expensive) camera. I do believe however, that it doesn't take an expensive camera to make someone a good photographer. You can easily go back as far as the point and shoot and still take amazing photos. It's the person behind the lens that makes the difference. And that's how I go about it. I may not have the most amazing equipment available, but that doesn't matter. As long as you know your equipment, you can take amazing, clear, high-quality photos. I have placed many of my early photos along with some from recent shoots in the photos above. I hope you enjoy the journey.
I've always felt that the day you think you know everything about photography(or in any profession for that matter), you might as well throw in the towel. What's the point of being in a profession if you stop learning? It could be a new technique, something you learn out of experimentation and experience, a different angle, a new perspective, different technology, and so on. The possibilities are endless!
In 1998 I got my pilot's license in Seattle, WA. Once experience allowed me to fly solo, I then flew all over Washington State, but mostly stuck to the West Coastline, taking photos as I flew. I loved taking aerial photos! My flight training continued to Arizona and Florida with the hopes of getting hired commercially, which I was for about 2 months until my class and the next two were furloughed. Right after that, sadly, the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, NY occurred causing the FAA to change the regulations on minimum hours required and since I didn't have the hours needed after that, my flying was minimized to only a few flight to stay current. Plus it got too expensive to rent a twin aircraft at around $200 p/flight hour. But this didn't completely discourage me.
I was fascinated with the concept of drones and how they can be applied for various photographic and video needs. I got a good professional 4K quality drone and gained experience with aerial photography. I obtained my Part 107 FAA certification and then started "RSP Drone Photography." I have worked on projects from special events, real estate, videography, and general still photos. The latest project being the "A View from Above" exhibit at the Museum of North Texas History featuring aerial photos taken from aircraft from the 1920's to the 1970's. I then took the drone around and recreated the same photos as close as possible in modern 4K format. It ended up being quite fascinating how much has changed from the early days to today.
The drone takes great photos and video, and I keep it available as part of my "Photographic Arsenal" but I ended up missing the connection you can have with clients on the ground and helping them capture their special moment(s). So I started "RSP Portrait Photography."
I love interacting with, learning about, and understanding different people and the circumstances that bring them to wanting to professionally capture their life on film. When that one special shot is taken in a unique way to make someone smile and remember. Sometimes that's all it takes to give us that moment to remember something happy, something beautiful, something special.