|All I can think of while I'm trying to write this is
Steve Martin's opening lines in "The Jerk." Hmmmm.
Well, anyway, I hope you haven't jumped right onto this page without seeing the images on the rest of the site first. If you did, go right now and see them. If you've already seen them, I hope you liked them.
I grew up in the town of Bluefield, West Virginia, of all places. About the only impact growing up in such rural surroundings had on my adult life is an affinity for the mountains and the memory of all those stars you could see at night. (The Little Dipper was DEFINITELY a naked eye asterism.)
Unfortunately, I didn't really get heavily involved in either photography or astronomy until after college. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in English Education, I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to establish in-state residency before applying to UNC to pursue a doctorate in Medieval Literature. While there, I got a job at a camera store (Foister's Camera on Franklin Street; it's not there anymore) since I'd dabbled in photography a little bit and thought it was a great hobby. As part of my job, I threw myself into studying photography so I could better answer the questions my customers were asking. Pretty soon I started learning so much, that local professionals would come in to ask me technical questions. At this point I decided that taking beautiful pictures had to be a better life than reading Latin so I decided to go back to school to study photography. It was also around this time that I decided to take up astronomy as a hobby. I guess both photography and astronomy appealed to me for their technical aspects.
I chose to attend the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California over the Rochester Institute of Technology because, let's face it, the weather's nicer in Southern California! A few months after starting there, I lucked into the best job a guy like me could ever have; Photographic Technician for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. It was a part-time job and meant driving 90 miles each way two or three days a week, but I loved every minute of it. If there had been any way they could have convinced the city to make the job full-time, I'd still be there. Unfortunately, I finished at Brooks and had to move on.
In the years since, I've photographed everyone from family members to the Dalai Lama, did a part-time stint in the photolab-slash-studio of E-Systems (a major contractor for the CIA), worked as a freelance photographic assistant for several years, had my own photography business, and taught myself computers. I currently work as a programmer for Capital One and I have a side business as a sports and event photographer.
My astronomy images have appeared in advertisements and text books
around the world. I've even had the cover of a Star Trek book! (It's
the 1996 reprint of "Star Trek Logs Five and Six" by Alan
Dean Foster. The reproduction is awful, but the image is mine!)