50 Years of Photographic Passion

I’m sometimes asked how I got started in photography.

It all started with an Easter coloring project in first grade (1961) and a less than kind teacher.  We were all asked to color an Easter scene, typical blue sky with clouds, green grass, Easter Eggs and of course, the Easter Bunny.  I was always into deep, rich colors that showed power, vibrance and yes, a less than deft touch with Crayons!  So, when I finished my masterpiece – way too color saturated for the evil art critic – she walked by my desk, picked up my paper and walked to the front of the class.  Oh, she must really like what I did and she’s going to share it with everyone.  My art career was about to soar until she said…

“Class here is John’s Easter picture and this is how not to do it!!!”

I was crushed.  Did she not realize that she was dealing with raw talent…yes, she probably did.

Fast forward to our next family vacation and my father brought along his box Brownie camera.  He’d look at a scene, push a button and wow, nothing happened.  That was until he took something called film to the local drug store and like magic, we had pictures of our trip!  And much to my amazement, there were no garish colors, just shades of gray, but they were beautiful, and nobody criticized them.

This was for me!  Simply push a button and art was created – well, maybe not right away as there was something called composition.  A concept I slowly learned and started to master once I reached high school and when I purchased my first serious camera – a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera which I bought from a friend’s grandmother for $75.00.  This was all the money I had from working on a paper route all summer, but she thought it was a fair price and I was thrilled with my new-to-me camera.  By the way, that camera was purchased by her husband 10 years earlier, but he passed away soon after, so it just sat in a dresser drawer all that time.  

When I took the Rollei to the local camera store, they said it was worth $900.00 – almost $7,000.00 in today’s (2020) dollars – did I feel guilty – not in the slightest.

I used that camera all through high school and start shooting scenery, building and football games as I was one of the photographers for the school paper and yearbook.

Eventually, I moved to Santa Rosa to attend college and decided it was time to get a more modern camera – a Canon FTb.  While I was still shooting film, it was lighter faster to use, and I could take 36 pictures on a roll of film!  Always looking for subjects, I started shooting mainly landscapes.  But then my horizons expanded to some wildlife, too many weddings, and some sporting events.  Many cameras later and with the advent of digital photography, I was now shooting commercially, still too many weddings…

So enough talk…time for some pictures.  

I hope you enjoy this web site and to my first grade teacher – thank you for the back handed inspiration to pursue my lifelong passion – photography.