When I was 9, I discovered science fiction. And loved it! I enjoyed the excitement of thinking about what was out there, what was possible, and what the future held in store. I knew from that age that I wanted to be a scientist.
And I did become a scientist! I had a 30-year career as an academic statistician. (Please don’t scoff at “statistician.” The science of Statistics is fascinating, even though we disguise that in college classes. ) About a year after I moved to Corvallis, Oregon to begin my job, I had enough money to buy the sailboat that I had dreamed of while going to high school in Puerto Rico. I had the actual boat picked out. But at the last minute it occurred to me that Oregon isn't Puerto Rico (duh), and I might not enjoy cold weather sailing. That same week, I noticed a magazine cover at the grocery store saying “Outdoor Photographer—Inaugural Issue.” I purchased it, read it entirely, and decided to spend my boat money on the same camera kit described by an article author (David Middleton; Nikon FM2 camera).
I was a slow learner. I can't think of any successful images I had in the first 15 years. But I did reallly enjoy the process, especially on my 3 sabbatical years in Australia. Nature photography has a way of immersing me into nature that I find extremely enjoyable. Toward the end of my academic career, my passion for science and teaching remained, but the busy-ness with those parts of the job that I wasn’t passionate about became overwhelming. I realized that I could financially swing an early retirement and a pursuit of photography instead. I doubled down on learning so that I could hit the ground ruInning when retirement started.
My wife, Jeannie, and I moved to Bend, Oregon, which has outstanding natural scenery, some outstanding professional photographers, and a top-notch camera club, where I've learned a lot. Some friends and fellow photgraphers encouraged me to sell my photos, but I didn’t take them seriously until they actually wanted to buy my photos.
Two recent realizations have caused me to take my photography more seriously. First, I realized that it keeps my mind sharp. I'm forced by the needs of my passion to problem solve. Without passion, I tend to be lazy and unfocused. Second, Jeannie and I are about to embark on a one-year camping trip around Australia. As part of my commitment to take my photography more seriously, I intend to…. Well, I don’t know what, exactly. I intend to take photos and do something with them. As my photographer friend, Bruce Jackson, says “Follow the bliss, man.” Ok, will do.
As I write this, we're less than 2 weeks from departure. I've spent 9 months planning this trip, but the massive bush fires have thrown a monkey wrench (spanner) into the plans. It should be fine, but we'll be playing it by ear to start. If you want to see what happens next, click on the BLOG link.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.