My life as a photographer started with a photography class at Oklahoma State University. I was an engineering student, but I had always had a fascination for cameras. Before taking the photography class, I had used one of those little black boxes: a Kodak Baby Brownie. It was one that my older brother had. I'd look through it and take pictures without film ... only to capture the image in my mind. Now and then I put a roll of film in it and made actual pictures. The photos were black and white, with a subject of my brother or sister and a few scenes around our house. Over time I lost those pictures, with only my memories remaining.
Kodak Baby Brownie*
The first camera I used as a youth.
I went off to college and was genuinely determined to get my degree in four years. At the same time, my dad took up photography, with the purchase of some 35mm SLR cameras. One of them was a Topcon 35mm, which my dad offered to lend me if I took a photography class. I enrolled and started taking photos and developing them, and a seed was planted that slowly grew.
A few years later I was able to buy a used Pentax kit from a neighbor ... it had belonged to her late husband. I was so thrilled to have my very own camera, and we were living in Colorado: the ideal location for taking landscape photos. Over the years I collected boxes of pictures, and my wife Jan filled many albums with these memories of our travels around Colorado and other vacation locations.
Jan and I moved to California and started traveling to different areas journaling about our travels. Jan (who is an excellent writer) would write the stories, and I would take the photographs to go along with the journal. We obtained a website and domain name "Jans-Journeys.com" and began posting on the World Wide Web. At first, I was taking film images and scanning. Then I converted to digital, eliminating the time-consuming scanning. We continued our journeying/journaling for several years, ultimately deciding to travel for relaxation only. So, we archived Jans-Journeys.com. I was still the photo buff, taking my camera every place we went.
Images from Jan's Journeys (click image to advance carousel)
During our "Jan's Journeys" timeframe I was working full time at Intel Corporation, making good money and accumulating stock options. Around the year 2000, I wanted to change my career to photography, so I did some research and decided to attend Brooks Institute to become a professional photographer. I put together a portfolio of images sent them with my application to Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California and received an acceptance letter a short time later. While preparing for a move to start my education in photography, the stock market tanked and along with it my hope of going to Brooks. However, this didn't kill my interest in learning more about photography. I read books, studied internet articles and took a course by mail from New York Institute of Photography.
In 2011 I retired from Intel, and though we could do more traveling and image making, we put that on hold while Jan recovered from surgery. I volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul for three years as president. Jan recovered; I completed my tenure as president; we were ready to travel. Our first big road trip started in 2015 with a workshop "Spring in the Southwest," offered by Robert Rodriguez Jr. in Moab, Utah.
Since then I've been learning more about photography and building my portfolio of work. I want to continue my photographic excursions, posting my images on Facebook, Instagram, Flikr, and 500px. One of the joys of posting on social media is when someone comments about how an image recalled a fond memory or uplifted their spirit.
Above is a carousel of my latest photographs (click image to advance carousel). A full collection of my best photos is at JohnHightPhotography.com. Could you please consider the following:
Stop by my gallery, browse, and help me in this endeavor with a purchase of one of my prints.
Join my mailing list to get a free HD Desktop Wallpaper of "Mesa Arch Sunrise" and get a notice when I post new material.
Share JohnHightPhotography.com with a friend or on social media.
Leave a comment on what you liked or how I can improve my offering.
Visit Robert Rodriguez Jr. page for his workshops (https://robertrodriguezjr.com)
I want to thank you for reading the story of "My Photography Journey"!