Hometown Born Rochester, NY
Day job Part-time photographer and volunteer as North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Nature Photography Meetup Groups Coordinator.
Camera Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5D Mark II with an array of lenses
Adventure is exploring, discovering, experiencing, learning, understanding, sharing and doing it over and over and over again, without end. It is life.
Photography is a passion. It is so gratifying, fulfilling.
What's one life accomplishment you are most proud of?
I took an irregular chunk of raw Pyrex glass, sawed it, rounded it (8.5” in diameter), ground and then polished it, hand parabolized it to ¼ wavelength, vacuum coated it with an enhanced, multilayer, aluminum coating (98.8% reflectivity) and finally built it into an 8.25” f/8 Newtonian telescope using common materials purchased from my local hardware store. The first night that I used my handmade telescope, I saw Jupiter and its moons! I was astonished!
Person (living or dead) you’d like to meet?
Jesus Christ. I will meet Him one day. His promise.
Best/worst food experience?
Worst food experience: 1967 my first day at Wheelus Airbase, Tripoli Libya going to eat my first meal at the Base Exchange snack bar. I ordered a Dr. Pepper and a grilled cheese sandwich. The Libyan cook dipped his ladle into a vat of oil then poured a puddle of oil on his flattop grill, tossed a slice of bread into the oil, then placed two slices of cheese onto the bread, and placed a second slice of bread on top of the cheese. He dipped his ladle a second time into the oil, and then poured it over the top slice of bread. My eyes bulged with disbelief! I turned and fled without eating that first meal at Wheelus Airbase.
Best experience: We ate scrumptious Beef Wellington at the Adirondack Lodge on our honeymoon.
Unique or quirky talent or skill you have?
I can build telescopes from scratch.
When did photography spark in you?
First in 1972 but I couldn’t pursue it. It fully took hold in 2001 while exploring wild Florida.
How has photography shaped you?
I paint with light. I make photographs of the world created by God. God is light. He is the Light of the world. By His light I see and I paint. He brought me out of darkness and into His light.
How did you hear about Light Finds?
I met Paul Hassell in the spring of 2012 at the NANPA Great Smoky Mountains Regional Event. Six months later I attended the Paul Hassell Photography 2012 Autumn Smoky Mountain Workshop. A few months later, Paul formed Light Finds.
What initially interested you about the workshop or tour you attended?
At the GSM NANPA Regional Event, I observed how well Paul interacted with the attendees. He was exciting. He was Fun! He enthusiastically, skillfully imparted technical knowledge to folks. He ensured that they grasped their new knowledge and could apply it. I learned, too, that Paul grew up with the Smokies as his personal ‘playground’ and whereby he had acquired great knowledge of the region. I’d fallen in love with the Smokies and I wanted to learn of them from Paul.
Why did you almost not come?
A team of horses couldn’t have kept me from Paul’s 2012 Autumn Smokies Workshop, so there was no issue there.
But I wanted to travel with Paul’s Light Finds 2013 Grand Tetons Photo Tour. I was hesitant to go due to health concerns. By request, Paul very graciously gave of his time so we could discuss the physical challenges. My concerns resolved, I traveled to Jackson, WY. I enjoyed extraordinary experiences, and produced terrific photographs. The tour was the highlight of my year!
The most rewarding thing you learned or returned home with?
I have great memories and some fine photographs. I learned about an elk subspecies, the “tree-dwelling elk” (they’re the ones with the dark backs). I searched diligently, but never spotted any perched in trees. Paul taught us how to use Lightroom’s gradient filter as a possible alternative to HDR processing, and how to stitch multiple images together into a single panoramic image.
I came home with a deeper appreciation of Paul and his loved ones. A remarkable man, he is.
Tell me a little about Paul as an instructor?
Paul is unique in his enormous energy and enthusiasm, coupled with his wonderful ability to teach. Paul opens minds to things new and unimagined. He builds personal relationships with every individual, and is intent on understanding each student’s learning needs. He tailors his instructions to every individual.
What is your next adventure?
I will drive thirty miles Wednesday to watch, observe and photograph a nesting pair of bald eagles. Bald eagles thrill my soul.
If time, money, and travel were not an obstacle, where would you travel to photograph and what would you do?
I’d travel to Tanzania or Botswana to photograph the great African animals. I’d like sufficient time and opportunity to study them, their environment and the indigenous people, in order to gain an understanding that I don’t presently possess.
How do you feel about HDR? (haha!)
It’s a photographer’s “darkroom” tool/technique, analogous to dodging and burning. I’ve seen good and I’ve seen bad – I don’t like the bad.