So who am I?
I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California with my lovely wife Carol (who also happens to be my second photographer) and our two golden retrievers Holly and Jasper. Oh, and a cat who eats too much.
- Even though I won’t sleep well, I won’t move the dogs off the bed.
- My idea of relaxing is a walk in the woods. (Although if you’ve ever gone on a walk with my wife and dogs, you’ll know it’s really not all that relaxing.)
- Some of my favorite trips have been to cold and rainy places (New Zealand); hot and rainy places with lots of bugs (Central America); hot and dry places with lots of thorns (American Southwest); and places with crisp, cool mornings, enjoying a steaming cup of coffee and watching the alpenglow creep down the side of alpine peaks (Sierra Nevada and Colorado Rockies). I’ve never spent the day on the beach with an umbrella-laden drink.
- I earned a PhD in biology from Duke University studying the behavior of songbirds in northwest Pennsylvania.
- I have been known, on occasion, to give long-winded answers to seemingly simple questions. My little sister no longer asks me questions; my (young) niece and nephews think I’m brilliant. I plan on riding that train as long as I can.
- I believe everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt – at least once.
- I count myself as unbelievably lucky every time I wake up and find my wife Carol still next to me; that she’s put up with me for over 20 years and still sticks around.
- I prefer coffee from from the Torajaland region of Sulawesi island in Indonesia. Although these days I’m really enjoying Arabian Mocha Sanani from the Arabian Penninsula.
- I love technology, but still prefer a paper book to a Kindle.
- I believe college hoops is a lot more fun to watch than the pros. (Go Duke!)
I didn’t pick up a camera when I was two-years-old, I didn’t create a pinhole camera out of a coffee can in Cub Scouts, and I didn’t learn photography from a crusty newspaper photographer during a high school internship. It was never my life-long dream to become a photographer and try to change the world by documenting the human condition or bearing witness to suffering.
I started taking pictures almost 20 years ago as a way to document my outdoor adventures and love of the natural world. The photos were for me and my friends and family – a way to tell a story and attempt to visually convey my feelings of a place or moment or discovery.
Eventually I started taking more travel pictures and photos of dogs, but like most non-wedding photographers, my attitude was always “Weddings? No way! I’d never do that!” I was under the impression that wedding photography was the last stand of the professional photographer – the penultimate stop in a failed career. Why else would anyone choose to take those boring, stilted, overly-posed photos?
But then one day a good friend informed me I would be photographing her wedding. I reminded her that I didn’t do weddings. No luck. I resisted, protested, squawked, made excuses — everything I could think of. But undaunted, she brow-beat me until I finally gave in.
And you know what? I really enjoyed it! Not only that, but I discovered what other wedding photographers were doing these days, learned about new photojournalism styles, and realized the entire landscape had changed. This was not your mother’s wedding photography.
A whole new world of photography had opened up to me: new kinds of feelings to convey, moments to capture, and stories to tell. And I’m thrilled to be telling them.