Me & Photography
Glancing through a Naval careers magazine given to me by a Navy recruiter the job of photographer looked like a good bet – and that’s how I came to be introduced into the world of photography. I joined the Navy on a delayed entry program during my senior year of high school and left for boot camp after graduation and from there I was sent to the United States Naval Schools of Photography then located on the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
I graduated from photography school and was stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia where I served for just over two years. It was while stationed at NAS Oceana I was awarded the Atlantic Fleet Audiovisual Command’s “Sailor of the Quarter” award for the first quarter of 1980. In June, 1980 I was transfered to HM-14 (Helicopter Mine Counter Measures Squardron 14) at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. While stationed with HM-14 I served as part of Tactical Airwing Six and spent time at sea on the USS LaSalle (LPD-3), USS Coronado (AGF-11) and USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) during deployments to the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans.
I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1982.
Since my discharge from the Navy I’ve had a spattering of full and part-time jobs in photography ranging from wedding, sports and nightclub photography to photographic lab technician and photo lab manager. I was taught photography the “old fashioned” way so much so that I learned how to properly use a Speed Graphic large format press camera and a Mamiya C-330 medium format camera before I ever put a 35mm SLR camera in my hands.
I bought my first and to date only digital SLR (DSLR) camera in November, 2007 and after letting my photography lay mostly dormant for nearly a decade I’ve since rediscovered photography not as a job but as a hobby to be enjoyed. So much have I enjoyed rediscovering photography that my Nikon D80 bought brand spanking new has over 8,400 shutter releases!
The more I grasp the concept that my camera no longer needs rolls of film and my darkroom no longer requires paper and chemistry the more I enjoy learning the nuances of digitally capturing images and digitally “processing” them.
Years ago I would have manipulated an image by what film to shoot; what chemistry and at what temperature to process the film; what chemisty and what paper to use for printing and finally what post-printing chemistry (i.e. sepia tone) to apply, if any. Those decisions would determine a picture’s final look. Those possibilities pale in comparison to the myriad of options available for image manipulation today.
Standing in a 3-foot by 3-foot totally dark film loading room at the US Naval Schools of Photography many years ago and with my fingers acting as my eyes and fumbling to find the notches in the upper right hand corner of a sheet of black & white 4×5 film and loading it one sheet at a time into a film holder – as crude as it gets in photography – I never in my wildest imagination would have dared dream then that one day I would have this kind of photographic firepower at those same fingertips… I can’t wait to see what’s next!