I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors. When I was a kid, family vacations were always to the North Carolina mountains in search of waterfalls. During these trips, my mother and older brothers talked about writing a North Carolina waterfall book. My family never followed through with this plan, but after I made a few mountain trips with my new camera, I decided that I would write the book that we had talked about. First, I had to learn how to take pictures. Early on, I signed up for a photography course at a local community college, but after a few classes I realized that the best way to learn nature photography (or any kind of photography) was to get out and photograph.
I started teaching nature photography seminars in the early 1990s and soon afterward began leading photo tours to the North Carolina mountains to photograph waterfalls. I continue to enjoy guiding and teaching, and in fact, leading photo tours is the principal component of my business.
Among my greatest satisfactions is producing books. In 1994, I wrote the North Carolina Waterfalls book my family had talked about. Since then, I’ve written and photographed nine additional books, including two complete revisions of the waterfall book.
I had my first publication credit sometime in the late 1980s and since then I’ve had well over a thousand images published in books, calendars, magazines, and all sorts of other venues. As the grand prize winner in the 1994 Year of the Coast award, my framed photo was presented to Governor Jim Hunt of North Carolina, although I suspect he stuffed it in the attic with all the other official gifts he received during his tenure. I even have a photo displayed prominently on a bathroom wall at a North Carolina rest stop. The NC Department of Transportation stole it from me and wouldn’t take it down or pay me for it when I requested.
While I still sell an occasional photo, my photography business today consists mainly of teaching and leading photo tours. I also run an online store where I sell my books and a few other products. I’ve been called the MacGyver of photography because I’m always tinkering in my shop making new photo gear or improving the gear I buy. I designed several unique products that I sell in the store. The GelGrip™ holds gel filters in place in front of flashlights and speedlights for light painting. The LensMuff™ holds hand warmer packs and is designed to wrap around camera lenses to prevent dew or frost from forming during night photography. And the RainBreak™ is a unique umbrella holder for the tripod, allowing you to shoot in the rain.
My wife, Patricia, and I live on a small farm in the mountains of western North Carolina. Our land is home to a number of critters that regularly pop in for a visit. We have deer, coyotes, turkeys, skunks, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, snakes, turtles, many species of birds, and few mysterious creatures that we’ve only caught glimpses of. We used to have a colony of groundhogs, but Patricia finally had enough of them eating her flowers, herbs, and vegetables and so we had to relocate them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a farm without farm animals, so we have the requisite chickens. We named some after women on Star Trek and the others after women on Game of Thrones. Cersei likes to pick on the other girls (imagine that). We also have two cats, Lucy and Titan. Titan is the quintessential scaredy-cat. He’s afraid of air. Patricia has plans for adding goats, horses, guineas, honey bees and who knows what else to our farm. I fear that soon, I’ll never be able to leave the house.
I love to hike, paddle my kayak (which I don’t nearly often enough), and gaze at the night sky. I especially love to travel, to see new worlds and experience new cultures. And red wine. I really like red wine.