I enjoy photography at most every level, but nature and wildlife photography are my true passions. They are consistently the most interesting and rewarding for me personally. I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a shoot where I didn’t learn something new about the wildlife or the area that was about to become my subject. A wildlife photographer / ex-National Park Ranger acquaintance once said to me - when shooting in the wild “take only photographs, leave only footprints." I took that message to heart and that simple phrase has been my mantra ever since.
I hale from middle class America, a true, blue collar family, the son of a carpenter and stay-at-home mom. My parents, both gone now, came from rather poor families, and grew-up during the Great Depression both reaching adulthood just in time for World War II. They were good people, hardworking, salt of the earth, Christian people. Dad was a strong, handsome, quiet man. His word was good as gold and there is nothing he loved more than his family and home. Mother, a petite woman, was fiercely protective of her children. Her face bore witness to her Native American (Cherokee) heritage; dark hair, dark eyes, and high cheek bones. She was quite beautiful.
We didn’t have much when I was growing up, but hey, not many people did. As small boys tend to do, I loved playing in the woods and bringing home every manner of “creepy crawler” (as my mom called ‘em) I could lay my hands on. If it wiggled, crawled, flew, or swam across the face of the earth, I likely had one as a child. Surely, it was my mother’s reluctant acceptance of her son’s curiosity that cultivated my interest and love of nature. Through the years, I have carried this fascination and love of nature with me into manhood and outside of my family, it is still my biggest source of strength and enjoyment in life.
I watched Howdy Doody, the Beav, and Captain Kangaroo on our black and white TV. And I was ten years old, setting behind my desk the day a tearful announcement came over the elementary school PA. That message still rings in my ears today; someone had shot our beloved President JFK. I remember Ed Sullivan, the BEATLES, Bob Hope, Vietnam, and Woodstock. The first man walked on the moon the year I turned sixteen. I met my wife Barb shortly after graduating high school, we married and spent the next several years growing-up together. Now, two children, several houses, many dogs, an African Grey parrot and 40 some years later we are living in the town of Mason, Ohio.
All of these things helped shape my personality and make me the person I am today. But my parents get most of the credit, it was their sacrifice, dedication, and hard work that put me through school and taught me to love and respect God, country, nature, and other people. Thanks Mom and Dad - love you! Miss you guys.
Nature and wildlife photography