I knew that I had an interest in photography from about the age of five. I got my first camera as a gift from my parents for my eighth birthday and I used that little Kodak camera for many of my first family vacations. I took a lot of early pictures that were blurry from camera shake or from subject movement or they were overexposed, underexposed and sometimes I'd even have my finger in front of the lens. Succinctly, if there was a way to ruin your photograph...I did it. I had a lot of ambition in my early years but no decent camera or instruction in the art of photography and the majority of my first efforts were decidedly terrible.
By the time I had entered my teens I was working in a local restaurant and decided that the only way I was ever going to take better photographs was by getting an actual tool so I bought my first "real" camera at age 15. I had worked for six months as a dishwasher making minimum wage (which at that time was $2.10/hour) and I had saved enough money to buy the "camera of my dreams", a Canon F-tb with a 50mm f/1.8 lens which cost me $259. Once I learned how to use it I joined my high school yearbook committee and cut my teeth in photography working for the yearbook. In my last year of high school I made the decision that I would pursue photography for a living.
To improve my chances of succeeding I applied to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now a University) for their film and fine art program as they offered the most prestigious photography course in the country. I was elated that I got accepted and I began my studies in September of 1980. In addition to my formal studies I also photographed for the Ryerson newspaper the "Eyeopener" to further hone my skills. During that time I had also started working as a sub-contracted photographer at the Ontario Jockey Club photographing harness horse racing. The photographer I was working for let his contract expire and it then became open to tender so my co-worker at the time and I decided that we would form a legal business partnership and tender the contract ourselves. Since we were already doing the very job being contracted out for the Jockey Club saw the wisdom in awarding us the contract. That was an enormous moment in my beginnings as a full time professional photographer and we began our business operation in the fall of 1982. It was redundant for me to continue studying photography in University when I had just been awarded a lucrative contract that I could support myself on so I left Ryerson in the middle of my second year.
While we were financially very successful in our operation I eventually grew weary of working only nights. This was not something I could have foreseen when I began the partnership so I decided to sell my share of the business in 1985 to pursue other opportunities and I went to work as a photographer for the Mississauga News, a small community newspaper where I lived. I enjoyed the assignments I was given but it didn't pay very much and I didn't see the possibility of that improving so I decided that I would switch career gears entirely and I applied to and was hired by the Markham Fire and Emergency services and began my career as a firefighter on August 5th, 1986.
I continued to work professionally in photography throughout my thirty year career in firefighting. In May of 1979 I had made my very first skydive and it was a sport that I would participate in for 33 years. I pioneered the first ever in Canada wing strut mounted camera system that photographed first jump static line skydivers exiting the aircraft. I sold tens of thousands of images to first jump student skydivers as souvenirs of their experience and the business did extremely well for 24 years. I was also continuing to skydive and build my own experience and in 2004 I branched out into tandem videography/photography and made thousands of skydives photographing and videoing tandem students. In total I made a little over 6,500 jumps before hanging up my rig in 2012.
In the fall of 2006 I began a minor hockey league tournament photography business and ran it during the winter weekends while continuing to run my skydiving photography business during the summer months. I shot approximately 130 hockey tournaments through six years before shutting down the business in the fall of 2012. Both of these businesses ran in conjunction with my full time service on the fire department and both did extremely well. I retired from the Markham Fire and Emergency Services on January 31st, 2017 after thirty years and six months. It is a career which I am proud of and will always look back on fondly.
I now begin the next chapter of my life as, "The Wandering Fireman." I refuse to constrain myself to one "brand" of photography. This website will contain images of adventure travel, people and the cultures I encounter, wildlife, landscapes, architecture, news and photojournalism, sports, graphics, abstracts, festivals, events, concerts, musicians and anything else that is of interest to me. I invite you all to experience it all with me through the words and images I post.
Please feel free to write me and tell me how you think I'm doing so far and what I can do to improve what I do...........and thanks for joining me.