I cover outdoor sports and news events
In high school I would spend hours at a time flipping through National Geographic, imagining what was going on behind the photographer’s lens. I wanted to know what was beyond the frame, what distractions they had removed from the composition, what they’d accomplished to get that shot…
I developed a severe addiction to Velvia after being given a Nikon FG with two lenses before a trip to Europe. I would read all these books about photography with information about how to use shutter speed and aperture and about variations in slide film speeds. Then I’d go and hunker down in alleyways in Barcelona and wait for the right person to walk through the scene. It was all trial and error and each roll of slide film I got from the lab I’d look over and learn something from it.
I distinctly remember my first assignment. I was commissioned by the college I was attending to photograph a talk in the school auditorium. The results were really moody and there was tons of contrast. The school didn’t like the images and didn’t pay me in the end. I just thought they didn’t “get it”.
Any assignment where there is a diversity of visual opportunities excites me. I like trying to gather as many dynamic and varied images onto my CF card as possible from a single shoot. I try to impress myself as well as my editor. I’ve always thought I’d love conflict photography (minus the conflict) for the high pressure, fast-paced environment.
I often have other photographers in mind as my audience. This is because I love the healthy competition among photographers to make the sharpest, tightest sports image and to rise above cliches. I trust other photographers to best judge my work from a visual standpoint.
A good, positive attitude has opened more doors for me in photography than anything else. I try not to let ego get in the way while on a shoot, and this seems to invite unforeseen opportunity.
I deeply respect an author and public radio series host named Richard Nelson from southeast Alaska. He does a show called Encounters, in which he records observations and ambient noises in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way. This audio documentation and commentary on the natural world that he creates is so colourful and informative that during every show I’m completely enthralled with his depth of knowledge and his love of the experience.