My father was a diplomat, so I grew up traveling overseas. Also being an avid fan of visual and performing arts, he introduced me to photography on my twelfth birthday in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, when he gave me a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera. The first photo I took was of my dog. That camera was stolen from my brother in 1977 in Richmond, VA. Then my father gave me a Miranda, my first SLR, when I graduated college. It was a nice camera with a sharp lens, but Miranda was soon defunct and new lenses were unavailable.
So, I bought my own camera for the first time in 1983, a new Nikon FE2.
Yes, another manual-focus 35mm, but I loved it and used the hell out of it, landing my first shooting jobs in sports, fashion, and weddings, and my first magazine cover with a landscape shot in 1987. Then my FE2 was stolen after shooting wildlife on a Kenyan safari in 1993, along with all my lenses and spent film (1,200 photos) that I had shot over four weeks in six different game parks.
My insurance paid, but I was so disheartened that I dropped photography for two years. When I finally got inspired again I bought a Nikon N90 for some promotional gigs, and several more cameras over the next decade, including two point-and-shoot digitals.
Galen Rowell was my first inspiration in photography. In 2003, I befriended the top Bolivian nature photographer, Willy Kenning, another inspiration, and he convinced me to go medium-format. So, I bought a Mamiya 645AFD body, which was ready to go digital by swapping a film back with a digital back. The cheapest digital back now costs $20,000, so the back is still on my wish list, but the Mamiya lenses are top-quality, so I’m still shooting film with them, mostly Fujichrome Provia or Velvia 100. In 2012 I did finally buy a 16MP Nikon D7000, my first digital SLR. With 18-200mm zoom lens, it became my go-anywhere camera since it’s so much lighter than my Mamiya pack, which I now carry only for specific, pre-planned landscape shots. I’ve since upgraded my Nikon to a 24mp full-frame body and more prime lenses.
After living off and on for 18 years in South America, I moved to Boise, Idaho, in May 2014. A year later, in Escalante National Monument, Utah, I met a more accomplished fine art photographer, Greg Jahn, at the same campsite. He’s also a Boise resident shooting medium-format film. (What are the odds?) Greg’s web site is further confirmation that the strategic location of Boise was the right choice for me.
Shooting landscapes and nature is my current passion, and now I can’t help it: Have camera, will travel…