I come from a family of photographers, and began developing and printing my own pictures in my folks’ darkroom at age eight. I also have memories of attending camera club meetings, field trips and shooting sessions with them.
I progressed through being the high school yearbook photographer and got experience as a contract photographer (as a business) in college with my own 4x5 and medium-format equipment. I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant from ROTC in 1962, sold my heavy camera equipment and darkroom stuff, and reverted to being an amateur for my 20 year career in the Army. [Editor's Note: Don is a "steely eyed" Nike missile man!]
After retiring from the Army in ’82, I bought more professional gear (again), attended several short courses, and hung out my shingle as a commercial photographer. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and was in debt. Welcome to the world of a beginning entrepreneur!
I was an active participant in the Professional Photographers of America, achieved moderate success as a commercial photographer in the Atlanta market, and earned the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Master of Photography degree in 1996. Also in 1996, I made the big (financial and technological) jump into professional digital photography. I was an early adopter of this technology in Atlanta, which meant paying too much for the equipment, having to learn new skills, and struggling to find new clients who appreciated what I could do for them in a post-film world. This time I was in debt big time!
As side lines to my commercial photography, I developed specialties in high- magnification photomacrography, and photography through the microscope (photo- micrography, and, yes, those are the correct terms). I also developed a successful sideline in selling my art prints of steam locomotives. For that one, Vivian and I traveled coast-to-coast for about 15 years chasing and photographing the historic steam trains and renting booths at model train shows to sell the prints. I retired from commercial work about 2001 and from the train show circuit about 2008. Now, I’m really retired and enjoying my love of photography as an amateur.
About three years ago, I sent an older Nikon away for conversion to an infrared camera, and added that to my repertoire. There are truly few new things in this world, but it can seem that way if you keep experimenting and learning.