My favorite tagline to use to describe myself is "Adventuring conservationist that photographs everything." The first two parts basically describe what I like to do in my free time and what I do for my career. The last part is the icing on top. Being a photographer was never a goal of mine. It just kind of happened that it became something I do semi-professionally in many different forms amidst all of the other aspects of my life. When you live your life like everything is an adventure, there's always a need to photograph it for posterity.
You can say I'm a semi-professional photographer. What makes a professional photographer anyway? I don't have a studio with fancy printers, film canisters littering my fridge, or guidebooks on the shelves, but I've been paid for my photography on several occasions and have held steady jobs with 'photographer' in the title. Nor have I had any formal training, beyond throwing down tens of thousands of shots per year in practice. Is there a certain quota of lenses I must possess before a photographer qualifies as a professional? I never describe myself as a photographer first, but it's definitely something I do. I don't worry about titles much as long as people appreciate my photos and I can keep taking them.
I currently use a Sony a6000 with various lenses for my primary shooter. It may not be the fanciest camera in the world, but it takes high-quality shots, is lightweight, and most importantly, has not died on me yet. I go on some rough adventures in all sorts of weather and it keeps on ticking. While I haven't dropped it straight into a river yet, it's gotten plenty of snow, mud, grime, and rain on it that would have killed a lesser camera years ago. And don't think I'm babying this thing: it's mounted on my shoulder with a Peak Design Capture clip for almost all of my adventures, unprotected and exposed to whatever I'm facing. Heck, I've crashed face-first onto it mountain biking and it was in better shape than I was afterwards. This camera fits my style of photography perfectly: if my camera isn't at the ready in a moment's notice, I feel like I'll miss a shot. Skip the protective case and go light, you'll take more photos that way.
Over the years, I've taken up quite a few different angles to the photography world, from kite photography to historical documentation. Read up on my projects below.
Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs
Kite Aerial Photography
Adventure Landscape Photography
Keweenaw National Historical Park Heritage Sites
Ontonagon County Redocumentation Project
If you'd like to chat about a special photography project or would like to use my images in a publication, send me a message.