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I am a landscape photographer based in Philadelphia, Pa., although many of my favorite photographs are from Canada and California, where I prefer to be.
I started my career as a reporter, not a photographer. But back in the 1980s, when I was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald, I grew intrigued with the medium when I was accompanied on assignment by Jay Dickman, a gifted photographer who later went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. I would pick up the next day's paper and be astonished by his images, even those of ordinary subjects. It clearly was art, although how he accomplished it was as mysterious to me as though he had turned lead into gold.
Jay later moved on, the paper itself folded, and I largely forgot about photography until one morning in Switzerland in 1999, when I was awakened before dawn by bright light in St. Moritz, a far shabbier town than I would have imagined from all I had read. I looked out the window and was startled by glowing, snow-topped mountains - my first encounter with alpine light. Strolling around outside, I saw a scruffy town transformed by early morning rays. The mountains were on fire, and a tall mist rose from the lake, with a fisherman rowing a boat just beyond the golden reeds. I grabbed my little film point-and-shoot and started taking photos, with no inkling that a new phase of my life had begun.
The pictures turned out better than expected, and I bought a real camera, along with books on photographic composition. Then I proceeded to make a lot of mistakes, and I do mean a lot. I probably had the world's most expensive trash can. But there were enough keepers to maintain my interest, and a trip to the Canadian Rockies in 2003 clinched the deal. I realized then that photography held the same interest for me that reporting had. It's the thrill of the hunt, only with a camera, not a pen.
There have been a number of cameras since then, and many trips, and I still like the hunt, and the hike, whether the setting is in the Rockies or a pumpkin patch near my home in Philadelphia, USA. I probably enjoy photography all the more because it is not my primary occupation, although, looking back, maybe it should have been.