Learning on a Leica
It takes a lot of trust, patience, and cringes to hand your 11-year-old grandson your camera but that's exactly what my grandfather did in 1999 on our family's four-week RV trip out West when he taught me the principles of photography on his Leica R8.
He showed me how to create motion in waterfalls using shutter speed and control depth of field with the aperture on big-horned sheep. He explained the Rule of Thirds and what makes good composition. And he taught me a valuable lesson in what I'd be in for if I pursued photography further by making me his pack mule carrying his lenses, flashes, film rolls, and other camera accessories. Thanks, Pop-pa!
After getting the film developed, I realized I might be alright at this photography thing. I had taken some pretty good shots (though it's tough to mess up the beauty of the American West), but alas, photography took a back seat in my life; I was a young teenager focused more on baseball, girls, and trying to keep my face clear.
Then in 2004, my parents gave me a Nikon Coolpix 3200 for my birthday and reignited my interest in taking photographs. This little 3.2 megapixel guy was a brilliant performer and allowed me to easily and quickly get back into taking pictures—plus I loved that it took just two AA batteries instead of having to deal with charging a Lithium or NiCad battery. (Now I'm feeling a little nostalgic for that tiny, silver workhorse)
The next level
Then, while working at an Oakley store outside D.C., an up-and-coming photographer Kurstin Roe offered me an internship with his event photography company. After shooting mostly political events and figures such as galas and the President of the United States, Kurstin left the company and took on his own wedding photography business full-time (now he's one of the nation's premier wedding photographers) and I followed right behind.
Kurstin taught me invaluable lessons in workflow management, digital manipulation, retouching, and color correction, but most importantly, he taught me how to look for moments and then capture them. He showed me how to document the hard work people put into things (like the details on a wedding cake) and how to imperceptibly draw the viewer's attention to exactly where I want them to look. If Pop-pa was Photography 101, Kurstin was a Masters course.
And so here we are: the beginning of my own photographic adventure. I'm not sure what you'll think, but I'll present some shots I think are pretty good and hope you'll think the same.
My promise to you
I’m not going to feed you some cheesy lines about ‘capturing a moment in time’ or preach my ‘passion for saving life’s most fragile seconds.’ No colorful puffery. No tugging of heartstrings. Nope. None of that. Never ever. Just some of my photography that you may or may not think is pretty good.
I hope you enjoy.