“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ― Ansel Adams
“You don't take a photograph, you make it.”
― Ansel Adams
“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” ― Ansel Adams
I suppose Mr. Adams was being somewhat presumptuous with that last quote, but then again, he was arguably the greatest landscape photographer in history. I, however, can only hope to live in his shadow, so all I can say is that dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes I made in establishing tonal relationships.
I'm a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Teacher, Photographer, all combined into one package.
Although my training is in theatrical lighting design, photography is my passion. There are few things I enjoy as much as spending my life looking through a viewfinder.
I shoot portraits – both corporate and personal – as well as architectural, events, and extreme sports. But I also shoot landscapes and wildlife, both in Oklahoma and across the western US. I prefer to capture nature as it exists, using very little manipulation in producing the final images (the aforementioned dodging & burning notwithstanding).
My first exposure to photography -- as the photographer -- came in the 5th grade when my mom allowed me to take her pride and joy – a Kodak Brownie camera -- on a school field trip. When the rather tiny 3x5 prints came back from the drugstore a week later, it was like magic.
They weren't great photos by any means, but they were photos I had taken, images that I had created, captured forever on those beautiful little prints. That one small adventure had ignited a life-long love of the art and craft of photography.
The first 35mm camera I owned was a Single-Lens Reflex from Sears, Roebuck, & Co. Not only was the lens a fixed focal length, it was a fixed mount – it wasn't interchangeable. But I was a 15 year old high school kid. What did I know? From there, I graduated to a Miranda Sensorex, which did have interchangeable lenses. I wanted a Nikon, but I was still in high school, and there weren't too many high school kids who could afford Nikons. In 1979, I finally got my hands on my first Nikon camera – an FM – and a couple of Nikkor lenses. And I have been a dedicated, if not rabid, Nikon shooter ever since. I simply don’t think they can be beat.
Eventually, I owned 2 FM bodies with matching motor drives, which served me well into 2004, when I went digital with the purchase of a Nikon D2h pro DSLR body. After a short time, I added a second D2h body to my collection, and in 2014, moved to a D800, then added the incredible D810. In December of 2020, I received the first of two Nikon Z7ii bodies. Each has a Nikon MB-N11 battery grip and an FTZ adapter. I love them. While the DSLRs have been (and continue to be) great camera bodies, the Z7ii bodies are, IMVHO, head and shoulders above the DSLRs.
While I do plan to upgrade to the new Z-mount lenses that are made for the Z cameras, I still shoot with my trusty Nikon Nikkor F-mount lenses via the FTZ adapter. My current list included a 14-24mm f/2.8, a 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8, a AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, and a 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6. There is a Nikon 1.4x AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in the kit as well. Interestingly, I am getting much sharper images with the same lenses on the Z7ii as I was getting on the D810s.
While I do shoot with some of the best Nikon has to offer, I shot for a long time with a couple of old Ai-S lenses, specifically a 400mm f/3.5 and 600mm f/4, which I used primarily for wildlife, kiteboarding, and other sports photos (although I've been known to shoot a landscape or two with the 400!). I found the glass incredible, and the lenses a dream to shoot with. Those long lenses are especially sharp. Unfortunately, my aging eyes and reflexes are making it more and more difficult to get and keep accurate focus, especially on moving subjects, so I have sold them and replaced both with the new 500mm f/5.6 PF, an absolute wonder of a lens.
In addition, I have fallen in love with the concept of using SB-800 shoe-mount speedlights on location, as if they were big studio strobes.
Enjoy the photos.