January 2013

I have a lifelong passion for photography. My formal education in the art began in 1970 with an Introduction to Black & White Photography course at the local public middle school. This was back when public schools had money to burn and the course included darkroom work in a fully-equipped lab! I was hooked. My first home darkroom was created with heavy blankets over garage windows, a 20 year old Beseler enlarger, second hand trays and developing equipment, and total commitment of my meager allowance. At this time, my camera was a 1950's vintage Argus viewfinder 35mm camera fished out of my dad's closet. All settings and focus were manual - and results were variable at best! I got better results from my mom's Instamatic - but flash cubes were nowhere near as cool as flash bulbs and knobs to adjust.

My first "new" camera was a Konica Auto S2 - purchased used from Cal's Cameras in Costa Mesa, California. The on camera meter, split focus, and 25-400 ISO range was like moving from a Model T to a Ferrari for this budding photographer. All through high school, and into my first college photography course, this camera served to hone my manual photography skills.

In college, I began using Minolta SLR cameras, steadily upgrading both bodies and lenses from the X series, through the Maxxum series, and ending my 35mm career with the Maxxum 7000 and several high quality Minolta lenses. I experimented with digital along the way but did not make the break from film until Konica bought Minolta and introduced the Maxxum 7D. I was in heaven - my photographic equipment had returned full circle with both brands that I had grown up with now on one camera. Then Sony bought them. Then they ignored the top end of the line for two years.

As a sports and event photographer, resolution and speed are critical to me. With the digital market evolving at light speed, Sony was standing still. I had to make a choice and so I went with the clear leader in professional digital cameras. I sold everything I had in Minolta and replaced it lense for lense, flash for flash with Canon. While Sony is a fine company, their focus is consumer. Nikon is also an acknowledged professional camera manufacturer - so why did I choose Canon? Simple - I wasn't going to be stranded behind the technology curve again so I went with #1. People often ask me - which do I recommend, Canon or Nikon? "Whichever you prefer - it's Mercedes vs. BMW." The top of the line Canon cameras compete head to head with the Nikon. In the extreme high end, my Canon 1D Mark IV is the fastest (10 frames per second) digital SLR in the world as of 2011. For what I do, Canon does what I need. At the low end, a camera is a camera is a camera. At the high end - most professionals shoot Canon.

So what is in my camera bag?

My mainstays are a Canon 1D Mark IV for sports, a Canon 5D Mark II for portrait work, two Canon 7D's for general work, and two Canon 50D's as extra bodies when shooting large events with multiple photographers. For artistic work and experimentation, I have a Fuji IS-1 for doing infrared and to throw in my travel bag when one of the big Canon bodies is too much.

For lenses, I have professional Canon "L" glass. My all around lense is the 24-105 f4 L IS USM. For sports, I use the 70-200 f2.8L IS USM and the 28-70 f2.8L USM. And for group, scenic, and other wide angle work I use the 16-35 f2.8 L USM. I also have the Canon 1.4x II and 2x II teleconverters. For general event and travel work I have a Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 VC lens. My travelling studio is rounded out with four Canon 580 EX II professional flashes with PocketWizard Flex TT5 radio trigger units. I use a Sekonic L-758DR DigitalMaster light meter when manually setting my cameras for consistency in large venues. With the introduction of the new Canon 60D, they have introduced SDHC memory cards and I will eventually be retiring my 50D's - probably when the 7D Mark II appears. This will allow me to have standard batteries and memory cards across my equipment. I use Gary Fong Whale Tale and Lightsphere diffusers for my on camera and remote flashes, and Gary Fong puffers for the onboard popup flashes.

And my digital darkroom?

For 25 years after college, I gave up darkroom work and sent all of my work to professional labs. With the advent of digital and Photoshop I was able to return to the darkroom - without the smelly chemicals, blankets over the windows. or bulky equipment. I do all of my photographic and video work (video is a reluctant hobby only - I dislike video editing) as well as my Web and graphic production utilizing Adobe Master Collection CS5. For organizing and maintaining the 10's of thousands of pictures I take every year Lightroom 4 is my choice.

I continue my education with at least 20 hours a year of formal training, constant independent study, and practice, practice, practice.

I support my industry through membership in the following:

Professional Photographers of America (#5145312)
National Association of Photoshop Professionals (#785504)
Canon Professional Services (#801102440)
Photographic Marketing Association - Sports Photographers Association of America (#495886)