In fourth grade, armed with a point and shoot 110 camera, I was off to Disney World. This is my first memory of taking pictures. I think I wore that camera out.
Next was some cheap plastic 35mm that didn't last long. Then, just before a two-week backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico my Dad took me to the pawn shop to get a real camera. I don't remember the name, but I loved it! It was a 35mm with a built in light meter, 35mm lens, removable flash, and it all came in a red bag for the negotiated price of $60.00. I wore the leather off and the black body became a polished brass color. I don't know how it survived the beating it took. I carried that camera everywhere; it lived in the back of my car, was clipped to a climbing sling, got stuffed in to dry bags on river trips, was banged around in the top pocket of a backpack, served as the high school year book camera (I was the "official photographer"), suffered through all weather (hot/dry/cold/wet/snow/wind), and endured countless numbers of zip lock bags to stay dry.
I was always looking to get pictures developed and get a free roll of film.
When the digital point and shoots came out, I mixed in a few but still carried the ole trusty 35mm. The Nikon D80 entered my life and renewed my love for photography. Up until then I was taking a lot of pictures with some knowledge of content and photography. This camera helped me take my pictures into the world of photography. I started taking classes, reading a lot, and understanding what it takes to create a photograph. Earning the title of "full-time photographer" has always been a dream of mine, and it takes a lot of work to make a dream come true.
Now that I am traveling the country full time (which was also a long-time dream), I have upgraded my primary camera to a Nikon D810 full frame camera with lens, filters, tripods, bags much bigger the red one, and a supportive wife. My dream is to tell the story of our public spaces, show the good, the bad, and the ugly, and create thought-provoking photos. I want to start a conversation with a thousand unwritten words.
I am not an award-winning photographer yet, I am just a guy traveling the country telling my story.
So, why do I care?