Photography and Me

When I was in High school I was not that interested in school. Surprise. But I was lucky because when I went to high school they still offered shop classes, art classes, and courses that allowed you to learn without getting too complicated. When I was 16 I could not fathom algebra. And I failed it twice. But you need a math of that level at least to graduate. So for kids like me, they offered "Business Math" It had to do with interest rates, probabilities, using a 10 key, and such and so forth. I passed it easily. It really might have been the teachers. ;)

When I went on to a junior college, which by the way is a terrific option if you are not sure what you want to do yet, and I took an algebra class that was divided into 2 semesters. So one, single semester class, divided into 2 semesters. I got it, I nailed it. I passed with flying colors and later in life after using a tape measure almost every day, algebra has become second hand to me.

But I digress. They had similar options for sciences too. Not that I needed that one, but "Physical Science" was a more hands-on science class. More physics and chemistry, but with less theory and more application.

Anyway, in the second semester of the physical science course, we got a new teacher. He was returning from somewhere, and he was a bit of a rebel. And, he convinced the dean that since the school already had a darkroom(what? we did?), and it already had the cameras(again what?), that he was going to use it as a section in his class to teach applied chemistry.

The whole class got paired up, each pair got a camera. We got to roam the grounds during class time and take pictures. Then we were instructed in how a darkroom works, how to develop film, how to print contact sheets from negatives and ultimately, how to print a picture. to say I was I was hooked would be an understatement. I was addicted. I dove into the deep end and never came out. I have spent a lot of time in darkrooms, in various educational institutions. After college, the ability to find a free or rentable darkroom was kind of diminished. I literally have about a dozen or more undeveloped rolls of film somewhere in my house, that may have the greatest pictures ever on them, but developing them and everything that goes into to that is fairly complicated nowadays. And I like digital, but not just for the ease of use. It is because of one man, Randy Silver.

I wish I could give you more than his obituary, but he passed some time ago and most of his digital life, such that it was, has faded away. Randy came into my life through a local community center art class.

I wrote about Randy before in the blog about mentors. The field trip that changed my life. The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and Fort Point, a civil war fort under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here is an excerpt to lead into the next section

"He was quite impressed with many of my shots and asked a lot more questions of me than the others. He said later that he saw a lot of himself in my eye. I even managed to take a picture in one shot that he had been trying to get for years and just couldn't find the right look or timing for it."

This is the shot that Randy saw.

He was never able to see the final product. I have not actually printed it yet. I do not know if I will.

When digital photography became a thing, I jumped into it. I have so many pictures that will never see the light of day because of how horrible they are. Bad focus, bad composition, low resolution. My entry into digital photography was a textbook example of a steep learning curve. I was learning all over again. I seem ed to be learning with the camera manufacturers, because over time everything I learned about digital from the light balance to the expectations, was turned on its head when they finally released the DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. It was a normal camera, just with digital sensors. I had to relearn my original training all over.

Now my workflow is much smoother. From camera to desktop to the web, I produce images that I really love. And I have a style, and I have technique, And I have a process. It is just like the darkroom days, except I have a cat on my lap when I am working now.

But That's Just Me...Walking My Mind

You can check out more of my work at


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