The first few months of my photography course were almost mind-numbing with all the information I was trying to absorb. Since I knew virtually nothing when I began, almost everything was new and exciting.
Cameras, lenses, shutter speeds, apertures, film, lighting, filters, darkroom techniques, it was all new to me. The first couple of months I could only take notes and hope that I would later learn what it all meant. Then, finally, it started to "click". ( sorry )
Even though I was being trained for commercial work, I was using all of the basic information I was learning in my photography course to apply to my outdoor photography.
It soon became apparent that even back then, I would rather be out in the bush, than stuck in some studio all day. Every weekend I would go home so I could go out shooting.
Every Monday, while most of the other photo students were developing their "city" shots from the weekend; I would come out of the darkroom with pictures of owls, deer, cows, almost anything as long as it was outdoors.
Later, when I got out of Humber, I started my own photography business, back in my hometown, doing mostly portraits etc. with my "pro" 2 1/4 gear.
About a year out of Humber, some friends and I decided to move to a larger city in search of jobs. The job market in a small town is rather limited, but we also knew Toronto, though huge, didn't hold much better prospects for jobs at that time.
I moved to Winnipeg in 1977, 19 years old, with very little money, no job, and very little work experience. I tried various dead-end jobs. You know, the usual: selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, insurance, graves.
Like many young people, it took me a while to find something that I liked to do, or was any good at. Then, finally, one day, I saw an ad in the newspaper that would change my life forever.
Within 6 months of moving to Winnipeg, I began my sixteen - year career in photo-retail. I sold photographic equipment for most of Winnipeg's leading camera stores. This is where I learned a lot, about the gear as well as getting me great discounts on all of my camera system.
In those days, a lot of my friends were from the camera stores, and many were real photo freaks. Feeding off of their enthusiasm for photography, and their knowledge of Manitoba, I began to hone my skills.
As in college, I did some weddings, portraits, and some commercial work, but still, my favorite was nature. Little by little, I began to specialize in my nature photography. It soon became apparent that I had an eye for it. More and more I would drag my friends off into the bush. More and more it became apparent that not everyone shared my enthusiasm or skill for photographing the outdoors.
I soon found that I was starting to explore more on my own. Soon, I was finding places that many homegrown Winnipeggers had never been to.
This is the nice thing about Manitoba. Within only an hour or two drive of the city, in almost any direction, you can still find some remote areas. There are many beautiful locations, with very diverse landscapes, from prairie, to boreal forest to near desert. Best of all, the wildlife is abundant here.
This variety, combined with my growing love for photographing nature, especially wildlife, was greatly responsible for my rapid improvement. The more I shot, the better I got. The better I got, the more my slide library grew.
Now, over twenty years later, I have over 15,000 slides in my library, and it is expanding rapidly. More importantly, not only is the quantity growing, but, the quality is improving all the time. My eye is getting better. My technique is getting better.
I've had people tell me they know all they need to about photography, I hope I never do.