Shots

About These Photos

What've you got on this site here?

This collection of images is almost entirely personal, a reflection of places I've been and things I've done with my family and friends. If you click on the "Albums" menu, you can trace back through events in my life chronologically, benchmarking them with that cute little redheaded boy to the left. That's my son and probably my most frequently shot subject. He lives his life with my camera in his face.


How would you characterize your style?

I'm a candids guy. I float around and try get action shots of people enjoying themselves, somewhat like a photojournalist -- only the photos I take are of you and the journalism I cover is your life. The pictures are newsworthy, in a way, but mostly just to you and your friends. I like to catch people in conversation or at an unwitting moment. I do generally compose my shots semi-carefully, and I think a lot about light, so there's an art to what I shoot, but at the end of the day I want my photos to evoke events and to read as narratives.

You’ll also see that my shots are a bit more vibrant and colorful than the work of many other event photographers. I’m not really a fan of the soft, sentimental filtering that pervades so much wedding photography. I also try, where possible, to use natural light, and wherever possible to avoid flash.


How'd you get into this?

Long story, honestly. I grew up in a family of advanced amateur photographers. My great grandfather Maynard had boatloads of camera gear and a darkroom in his house. When he passed away, my father inherited his photo gear and enlargers, so we built a darkroom in my father’s basement. That was fun, but something of a pain. Developing film is a slow, difficult, often frustrating, process. I lost interest in photography for probably 15 years as I went off to college and graduate school.

My son was born in 2006, about the same time that digital cameras really started to improve. Raising a child provided an excellent reason to return to photography. My wife and I got a Nikon D70, mostly for documentary purposes, and I started taking pictures of everything.

Kids, man. They’re amazing.

Those first few years involved a lot of trial and error. I took a few excellent shots and plenty of terrible ones. Over time, I bought new lenses, improved my flash capacity, and studied more about how to work with light.

By 2010 I was starting to get the hang of things. You can see most of my images from that year on this site. I include them here because, more than anything, this is a site for my friends and family, not because those shots are my pride and joy. I can't, unfortunately, go back and reshoot them, but I might some day go back in and re-edit them to clean them up.

In late 2011, I took a deep breath and bought the next generation Nikon camera – the D7000. That helped image quality considerably. I could more carefully compose shots in lower light situations, which is really important to a candid photographer. I invested in post-processing software to work on light, color, and contrast, and finally we were off to the races. You can probably see an uptick in quality from 2011 forward.

By 2013 I managed to upgrade the camera again, this time to a D800. I got some faster lenses and made yet another quantum leap in quality. In 2019 I upgraded in gear and software again, and honestly, my most recent shots are much more reflective of where I am now as a photographer.

The short lesson from this long story is twofold.

First, gear matters, and having the right gear makes a huge difference in the quality of the pictures you can get. Sometimes you’ll get a great shot from your phone, but most of the time, there’s just no comparison.

Second, photography ain’t easy. Knowing how to shoot a scene, knowing what you’re doing with the gear you have, takes years of practice. To take really great photos is a skill-and-a-half. It’s important, if you’re hiring someone to take photos of your event, to find someone who is well-equipped, knowledgeable, and fits with your style.


What is your basic approach to photography?

It's pretty relaxed, to be honest. I capture a lot of material and release it for others to see. If I'm shooting a party, I try to make sure to get at least one good shot of every person in the room. I also try to be expansive about what I release into the wild, not limiting myself to the most excellent shots, as many photographers do, but also releasing many of the “pretty good” shots. Where possible I prefer to leave the culling up to those who know the subjects of the photographs best. This means that I often edit and post many photos from a sequence, which can give the album a kind of flim-strippy feel. There are also often a few shots that I leave in even though the focus may be slightly soft. On larger, high-resolution monitors, softness or imperfections will be more noticeable, where on smaller 1080p screens, phones, or social media websites, it will be far less (if at all) noticeable. More professional photographers will pick a select few images and then charge you through the nose for them. That’s not my style. You can choose which ones you like. Once we're done, you get everything.


What kind of camera do you use?

I shoot with a Nikon D850, D800, and D7000, but it would be a mistake to think that it's the camera that makes the pictures so pretty. Every photographer will say roughly the same thing: that there's a lot more that goes into getting good shots than having the right camera. Send me an e-mail if you want some suggestions on what camera to buy. It really depends how familiar you are with photography, what your needs are, and what you're willing to spend.