My Time With NYIP

Disclaimer: I am not being paid or endorsed by NYIP to write this, I just really believe in the value and education they provided me. Think of this as more of a review or write-up. Find more information at – Enjoy.

Time Began in a Magazine… The New York Institute of Photography (referred to as NYIP henceforth) is a nationally-accredited online-based school. They host a myriad of photography-related classes ranging from portraiture, weddings, videomaking, business, and Adobe Photoshop. I first heard about NYIP while flipping through an issue of Popular Photography magazine at the local public library.

It was a neatly placed advertisement along a right-hand page margin. I try not to be swayed by simple ads, but this one stuck out to me. The bright and bold red-grey-black colors and letters caught my eye.

The ad touted having exclusively online photo courses for demanding schedules as well as affordably low tuition. At this time I was not enrolled in any sort of college or higher education.

NYIP describes itself as the oldest photography school still around, getting its’ start in 1910 teaching film photography, when obviously digital wasn’t around. Now having progressed to being an online-only school with only an office building located in New York City. Digital photography is their main focus, and they do it well.

All I had was a lot of (read: expensive) camera equipment I had bought and used extensively for many hours.

And free time, lots of it.

This was definitely a “why not?” situation…

…and so I did it.

I made the choice within a couple weeks, and soon I was enrolled and fully paid off; just over $1,200 for both courses. Very affordable compared to a traditional community college or university photography class.

At the time of this writing, there is ten different courses to choose from. While there is some overlap, each one presents a different genre or subject of digital photography. I settled upon the Complete Course in Professional Photography and the Intensive Course in Travel Photography.

In retrospect, the Nature & Landscape Photography course would’ve suited my portfolio and style a bit better. When discussing the school with my mother, she even agreed to that. Fortunately both the courses I took discussed nature photography to some degree.

The nice part is that NYIP alumni are always welcome back to take the other courses (at a discount too). I could always take the nature course in the future, however I feel actual in the field experience is what I need to devote myself to now.

This is How It Went..

I eagerly began the classes, and it was love at first sight. I could work and study on my own terms, going at my own pace through the wealth of material.

The assignments (which I am showing throughout this blog post) really challenged my creativity and typically involved getting out of the house to complete them, although some projects were more studio-based or required artificial lighting.

I bought some new equipment within that time, some of it needed to do the assignments.

The good news is you can invest in as much or in as little as you want or need. Meaning, you can go through the course with a point-and-shoot or “prosumer” camera or a full-framed one, or something in between. The choice is yours.

Despite taking a two month break in between, I somehow managed to push through and complete both courses in about 12 months to my surprise. That’s about half a year before the first deadline.

I completed the Professional Photography course in September 2017 and the Travel Course in October 2017, not too far off from what would be the 1 year mark in November.

The important thing was that it narrowed down my career path for me, which would be wildlife, nature, and landscape in a fine art and conservation perspective. That same SmugMug site I created for my final project portfolio (which I entitled “Living Things”) became the actual website I used thereafter (

I obviously kept the site and tweaked it after finishing both courses, with it being the platform to share and becoming the next stepping stone in my overall career.

How It Feels to Be an Alumni

I am proud of all my progress in that single year, as I have framed and hung my two certificates on the bedroom wall to remind me often. Display your achievements with pride!

I still try to contribute to the student forum whenever I can, a nice community of students trying to hone their craft.

If I ever travel to New York someday, I will surely make a stop to say hello.

To End On a Cliche

The takeaway for you is that some impulsive decisions can turn out good, and you may want to go with your gut feeling.

I was somewhat lost before enrolling, and by the end of my term I had carved my photographic niche.

Who would’ve thought that reading that magazine would turn into enrolling in photography school.

It just sort of happened.

Take the chance, will you?

Is Proper Education Necessary to Succeed?

Personally, I think online classes (or any in-person ones) are worthwhile if you are self-motivated enough to succeed. This is definitely a case of “you get what you put into it.” So make a conscious effort to do your best. Take the classwork seriously, read it, study it, but have fun! The photo assignment are where you creativity and special style can shine!

Do you have a formal education in photography? Where did you go to school at? Are you self-taught?

Everyone has a story of how they came to be, professional or amateur.

Tell me your story down in the comments below or drop me a note at my email.

Have a nice day.

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Creative Ruts & Breaking Free

Every person can relate.

Writers get the dreaded “writers block,” painters get the annoying “canvas shock,” and photographers (like me) just get burned out homogeneously shooting the same thing.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting the same results.”

Knowing when to dial back your day-to-day operations is essential to well-being. Don’t feel guilty for resting! Creating takes a lot of energy and you should use that valuable resource conservatively and only when inspiration strikes.

Not surprisingly, I stared at this blank page waiting for the right words to come flowing out.

I tend to get inspired pretty easily, in turn making me become overly-motivated and being overworked. Obviously there is a fine line to dance along here, so here’s one take on the subject matter…

First you must ask yourself “am I being lazy or am I burned out?”

If laziness is occurring, you probably don’t have a strong desire to work on any creative project at all.

If acting lazy is the case, then you should reevaluate why you are creating in the first place.

The answer is for you to decide, and it probably will mean you should move on. Why do something you do not like?

However, burnout would be where you feel exhausted yet you feel compelled to continue working.

Big difference, right?

I have found that this is the case for me. My actions become robotic and frigid, like I have no control yet I cannot stop.

The work should feel (mostly) like play. But when your creative pursuit begins to feel like a creative hump… It becomes time to put a full stop on your time. For me, not knowing when to take a break becomes a trouble.

The life of a nature photographer isn’t exactly glamorous. Yes, we love what we do. But that is at the expense of being weeks or months away from family and friends (at least for some professionals.) We have to endure long hours or waiting and turbulent weather. Many miles of driving to and from locations. The list goes on..

This becomes apparent when having to do a lot of repetitious work.

In the case of art & craft fairs, I spend many days printing, matting, and preparing prints, greeting cards and the like. You essentially have to build up a moderately sized inventory of items to sell.

The payoff of time and dedication is priceless, but the process shouldn’t have to exhaust you either.

Let’s not forget the countless hours editing photo/video, the marketing/promotion on social media and elsewhere, all that time in front of a computer.

You get the point, there’s a lot of hard work.

The trick is to not swept up in being busy for the sake of busyness.

I have forced myself to work before, and the results can come out horrendous.

The three examples here are of what I am not quite sure was the goal. The matting choices and layout were just all “off” or uninteresting. The weird and uncommon sizes didn’t help either. OK ideas; bad execution. Safe to say I was stressed and burned out quite a lot when I made these prints.

You can produce your best work while under some pressure, yet forcing yourself to create often result in a total mistake you wish to forget.

Reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has influenced the way I think about mental blocks. She draws conclusions about how most of our creative struggles come from within. Everyone is an artist in some way, and every one of us has an “inner self-critic.”

By journaling every day and writing down positive affirmations, we can let go of the stress of succeeding and pressures to work harder.

“Work smart, not hard.”

This the key takeaway from the book, by working less, we do more.

I can keep myself busy all day long, whether at the home office editing and printing, or hiking out massive state parks. It can feel like I’m being productive, but will the quality of the work even be halfway decent?

I would recommend a small daily walk, about half an hour, I find helps immensely to detach from all the commotion and ideas streaming through my head. No music, no phone, no distractions. Simply walk and take in the smells, sights and surroundings in the real world.

I am not ashamed to show and talk about my worst work right beside my best work, all of it make’s me who I am.

Have any burnout stories to share or tips that helped you break through? Leave a comment below or send me an email.

Thanks for reading.

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Gallery Exhibitions – First Experience

Decked out in a thrift store suit.

Dressed to the nines.

This was it.

100’s of hours preparing came down to 30 Photo frames, 30 loose prints, 28 days, 2 hours for a reception, and my first success into the public (and local) spotlight.

In this moment, nothing mattered quite as much.

OK, let me step back to six months before this…

It was July and I happily submitted my first-ever application to an art gallery located about 10 minutes from my home.

Wanting to impress the gallery directors, I opted to submit the application via mail. I wanted to make a distinct impression in a world that was saturated with email and digital photo files. So I filled up a tiny self-addressed envelope with five 4×6’s of pictures I took of frames…printed pictures of pictures. Narrowing my now diverse collection of prints to just five to show was quite the task.

Within several weeks, I got an email from the gallery coordinator saying they’d be happy to exhibit my work. The earliest being February next year.

I was quite excited yet a little bummed I’d have to wait six months, however this would prove to be worth the time waiting.

Things in the art world seem to move rather slow. What I mean is you have to apply and schedule out events many months in advance.

My first ever (and absolutely terrible) booth shot. While this blog post isn’t about art fairs, I took this in May for a festival that was in September.

I spent the next 5-ish months preparing more and more for February.

Printing, matting, hanging, and displaying your work is the final piece of the puzzle. Digital screens will never compare!

Opening day was here at last…and of course that would be too easy. Several inches of snow fell and there was a water main break on the way there forcing a detour.

Opening Day: All loaded up and ready to go.

Not only that but one of the frames fell and broke..

Fortunately, I replaced the parts and worked it out before reception night.

Then comes reception day, nerves were running very high for the 24 hours before the reception. Besides one of the framed pieces falling six days before, there was nonstop rain all day, and did it pour hard with no signs of letting up…

The view looking outside my window. Heavy rain certainly dampens the mood of any event.

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure how many people would show up, and if the rain would change their minds. Basically all my friends and coworkers were aware of the event.

Safe to say, the reception night was a success, five personal friends came and five members from the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association to my surprise.

Overall it was fun and I happened to make a sale from a friend!

All tucked away and ready to give.

So, would I recommend you exhibit your artwork?

Absolutely! No matter what medium you choose, the self-satisfaction of seeing your creation(s) outside your house on a public wall is worth the expense and effort. Not only that but seeing others’ reactions makes me joyous as well.

Galleries really aren’t the best sources of stable income unless it’s an established and high-end gallery or you’re a big name in the industry. However, see this as an opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals and to network!

Find a gallery near you and apply! They are certainly everywhere and would be happy to share your work with the world!

Me trying to hide the smirk of success, this whole endeavor was so much fun that I will certainly be doing it again.

I’d say give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

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Let’s Have a Chat About Setbacks

This will be fun to write.

As a fun little challenge, I wanted to write a list of setbacks big and small that have happened throughout my photographic career thus far..

Disclaimer: I have done a lot of stupid things over time. Some of which I may laugh about now but some I truly regret. Never put the well-being or safety of you, others, or your gear in harms way. Follow any trail and park rules and have fun! But think before you act.

In no particular order and without further ado, let’s get started..

  • I dropped a camera and lens a couple feet above concrete in a parking lot. (it fell straight down lens-first too.) An attached CPL Filter took all the fall and damage away from the lens and camera.
Amazing how an $8 filter can save hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of gear. I glued and mounted this to a small square of matboard as a reminder of what could happen with negligence.
  • My Canon 75-300mm telephoto fell out of a lens pouch strapped to my pants while doing some impromptu rock climbing after dusk to get to the car. I was hoisting my backpack and tripod up as I went. Yet it rolled and tumbled all the way down to the bottom of the slope however luckily avoided any big stones on the way down. Leaves seemed to blanket the rolling as well and no damage was done. I just had to move all the way back down to retrieve the lens..and this was the end of a very long day outdoors so exhaustion was at its peak.
  • I tried to photograph lightning from a distance only to not realize how fast approaching storms move. I biked (this was before owning a car) very energetically and fearfully home as lightning was striking in the clouds above me.
  • I slipped on the slanted exit ramp of a fiberglass boardwalk that had a layer of snow on top. The battery grip took all of the impact in the fall and so it was totaled.
Video excerpt from the photo op right after it happened.
  • While hanging up my first gallery exhibition, a 5×30 panorama fell and shattered the glass which also scratched the print. Due to my own self-imposed deadline I had in replaced within the week. This time with plexiglass…
See the scratches? The glass really messed up this print.
That’s a canvas texture finish I added when ordering.
Now this print resides on my bedroom wall.
  • Wandered into a public hunting area (more than once) during hunting season without wearing brightly colored clothes. Nothing scares me more than hearing gunshots or walking around a corner to see a fully camouflaged man sitting there looking at me.
  • I have lost numerous smaller items out in the field, such as lens caps and the rubber viewfinder cover. Lens caps have fallen out of big pockets when hiking around. In another instance I had a DSLR mounted on a tripod externally on my backpack. A bare twig must’ve snagged the viewfinder cover right off the camera and with several miles hiked in between the last time I saw it, I was hard pressed to go backwards and try to find it. Fortunately these are small and affordable replacements. I have even resorted to making DIY lens caps out of foam board and electrical tape. Anytime I lose something, I get frustrated trying to retrace my steps to where it went off to. It is best to hook and clip everything onto your person, have smaller keepsakes in zippered pockets, and make sure everything is secure.
When hiking out in the field alone, you’ve got to keep your wits about you and make sure all items stay with you at all times.
  • I use a very affordable wired cable release I have had for over three years now. Miraculously, it has survived well over a dozen dips into water when it slipped out of my hands photographing long exposures. While I don’t recommend field-testing your cable release like this (these have all been accidents) I am surprised how resilient and durable this little plastic stick with a button has held up.
This lovely $10 or so cable release is a piece of kit that stays with me at all times. Due to my shaky hands, I use this for water long exposures, landscapes 
and everything in between.
  • A million and a half times I missed amazing shots due to simple operator error. E.g. wrong exposure settings, lens cap was still on, camera wasn’t even turned on or out of my bag, too distracted from reading a magazine/book (NEVER do this!), or plainly just zoning out.
I had this shot lined up perfectly with a vulture soaring right by the moon yet after shooting off a round of images. My settings were all overexposed, leaving results that simply couldn’t be recovered. 
While I still like the image alone, the bird in flight would’ve been icing on the cake!
  • Countless times I accidentally spooked and scared wildlife away. Get as close as you can without disturbing them!
You should never stress wildlife or put them in dangerous situations just for an action-packed photograph. Do your best to learn the signs that they may be distressed and avoid it.
  • In 2016 which was early on in my photography journey, I somehow ended up deleting my entire photo library when resetting my laptop. I never backed it up anywhere, had no recovery software to retrieve it, and was absolutely devastated. It had some of my first images on there from when I started. I frantically visited a few locations where I knew I could recreate them and got it redone, but some were long gone. One was of a very patient toad on my front porch that I wish I still had. This is an important lesson I would argue everyone needs to go through. You’ll understand why it is important to have both local storage backups and cloud storage off-site. Find ways to keep your files in different areas. I have two local hard drives that sync with each other, my website backs all of them up in the cloud, and other social media sites have a few copies of images I’ve uploaded in case all else fails. You can never have too many backups.
  • The infinite amount of times I have gotten lost before, alone, sometimes without a map/compass or any form of emergency communications and after sunset as well. From now, I carry a compass with me at all times. I usually have a physical map (in case phone battery dies) or a PDF of the map on my phone. I would even recommend that you tell someone of your plans, your start/end times, the location, etc if you’re going alone. Almost all of my trips have been by myself, I simply prefer to work alone. Sometimes you have to get creative and keep your wits about you. I ate snow (the white kind) just to keep myself hydrated once. Have a basic understanding of bushcraft and backpacking/camping skills if you ever find yourself in a true survival situation. Although I’ve never gone in the backcountry (yet) I have ended up in some could-be dangerous scenarios. Be safe when you get out there.

Now, having said all of that, take the list and reread it. Have some humility and chuckle a little. Life doesn’t have to always be so serious.


Throw it away.

Yes, trash it, toss it, remove it, burn it, whatever you gotta do.

Just let it go.

Forget it all.

Now, the next step.

Starting anew, write a list about all the accomplishments and achievements you have made in your photographic career or whatever your profession is.

Allow me to start…

  • Built a massive portfolio over several years (and counting!) of hundreds of unique images, documenting and experiencing beautiful moments.
  • Tirelessly worked on putting together my first gallery exhibition and had a successful reception night.
  • Hiked countless miles across Southwest Ohio. Exploring tooth and comb what outdoors has to offer in the Buckeye State. To say the least, this state is amazing.
  • Met many amazing people, both on the trails and elsewhere, who have helped out or gave advice. Thank you so much!
  • Found my passion (or maybe it found me) from which I wanna spend the rest of my days living for.
  • Created a website from the ground up and designed to my liking.
  • Putting all my savings on the line to pull off this living, and I can already see the payoffs beginning.
  • Overcame personal hurdles (ex: fear of talking in front of camera) in order to produce video content.
  • Used social media to communicate with other photographers to share advice and questions.
  • My love and appreciation for nature has only grown with time. Caring about something bigger than yourself helps you grow as a person.
  • I’ve learned how self-sufficient and mentally/physically resilient I need to be to work alone.
  • Like mentioned above, lessons learned in how to shove aside setbacks and press on anyways.
  • Enjoying every single second of the process, all of it. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

I’ll stop the self-indulgence right there but you get the idea. The best thing about all of this is the list will evolve and expand with time.

So I’ll leave you with just this phrase..repeat it as a mantra if that helps. Perhaps every morning.

“What you choose to focus on grows.”

Make sure what you do today is something that the ‘future you’ will thank you for. No matter what you choose to do in life, always remember that.

Keep that focus, don’t settle.

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Why Is Photography Important to Me?

November 2017, Indoors Self-Portrait

This question was begging to be answered. I suddenly had a burning desire to know “the why’s” for which I do what I do. Even though I had an idea of why, did I truly know the reason?..

Why does photography matter so much to me?

Why do I even bother waking up before sunrise? Is it worth it to brace whatever weather may come? The dry humid summers, the bitter cold winters and everything in between? Putting it all off and sleeping in is much more attractive.

To be completely honest, my inner-critic talks me out of getting outdoors with the camera: every. single. time. You wage war with yourself just to stay at home once again but until you overcome that hunch, you’re creatively deadlocked and will never further progress as an artist.

I don’t believe I have ever truly regretted going out to photograph. A lot of days start out with me being tired and cranky, but by the end I am still tired, yet fulfilled and satisfied. Big difference for sure.

When life tries to derail you, remember why you started in the first place.

In order to nurture this symbiotic relationship with the art-form and life itself. I sat down for about half an hour and jotted away in my journal. Paper and pen seemed to be the best medium in which to start this journal prompt before being translated to the keyboard and screen. I had to strike a delicate balance between my thoughts racing to “throw up” on the page before my hand could even keep up. Once I started, there was really no stopping..

Four pages later, I had a sufficient enough response. Here it goes.

“Photography is important to me in that it gives me an excuse to get off my behind and explore the outdoors. This hobby seemingly overnight carved a divine and special niche in my psyche to where it is now a lifestyle. No other artistic mediums have quite dug deep enough into my soul as this one has. Through photographs, I am given a second chance to cherish and relive those would-be forgotten memories I have experienced. A new appreciation is gained for how small and insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of things. Putting ourselves into perspective of which we must be eternally grateful every passing moment from which we breathe.

Photography gives me a voice and a platform of sorts from which to speak and share. Photography gifts me with better vision, both in the spacial/seeing sense as well as the acute mental awareness. The world we inhabit is perfect in its’ imperfections, beautiful as it is ugly. Therein lies the solution: the actual act of pressing the shutter is a combination of numbers and technical know-how. The other side of the coin is the creative inspiration and driving motivation to express your ideas.

Photography seems like it should be work. Don’t get me wrong, this is perhaps the most challenging task I have endured in my entire life. The stress and decisions made everyday want me to throw in the towel. For some reason, photography still feels like play. More than it should, drop me in a natural setting and my eyes widen up like a child in a candy store. How is it that something so mentally-taxing and draining be so creatively and existentially rewarding?

Photography harnesses a possessive undertone between the capture; this is my photograph, my unique vision and ideas poured in and bleeding into fruition. Literally no one else can produce the same image. A dozen other photographers could attempt to capture the same scene and their sets of eyes would automatically see something different. The collective results would be so far removed from one another! If I’m quite honest, there is a sense of ownership and entitlement in that sentiment. This isn’t to say my work is any good or particularly better than anyone else’s. It means that “I created this” from which there is an obligatory responsibility to own up to the artwork produced.

Photography for me is to acquire an intensive thirst to explore and an innate curiosity to learn. To go on an adventure, one does not have to travel far away to realize these desires exist. If you are strong-willed enough, you will make this become your reality. A backyard can quench this thirst with a myriad of photographic subjects. I could spend all my time here and still would have more than a lifetime’s worth of inspiring photos! Think about this: we all have 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. The only exception being is the different stages of age and life we may be involved with. For me, photography fulfills this existential craving to preserve my memories, to preserve some sort of legacy. Once again, not because I am an idol but rather a legacy to prove my own inner worth. I may very well die with a camera in my hand and would full and well accept that possibility. Regardless of subject, barring any self-imposed genres or labels. At the end of the day, I feel internally invigorated everytime I get to hold a camera, no matter where it may be pointed at.

Photography is an art using mechanical tools. This little box with folding mirrors and prisms somehow becomes an extension of my life. Sometimes you don’t need a reason. No one is forcing me to travel down this path…this path chose me. The ball is in my court, and I took it and ran with it.

Photography showed me the lights and shadows of my existence without me asking for that guidance. In return I will show the camera the best use of what light and shadow is given.”

I could’ve wrote ad infinitum about this topic but there needed to be a finite ending of sorts.

Collage of various images taken over the years. Each one is a different and unique experience I’ve had that amounts to a life well spent..and we’re just getting started.

I would insist that you go on a reality check every once in a while with this question. This has helped “ground” me more and more in what I do. Ask the difficult questions: Are you still having fun? What could I do to improve? What do I not like shooting? Etc.

Listen with both your heart and mind as you click that shutter, and you will certainly never be wrong.

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The Journey Begins

My First “Published” Photo of a Canada Goose, February 2016

Welcome to the beginning post. Enjoy the read.

This will be a sort of long-winded story of my start in photography from the time I was a child to the present. (Early 2019)

From an early age, photography was something that would come and go in my life. It only made sense when connecting all the dots afterwards. I originally aspired to be a fiction writer. I also grew up loving to draw and paint. Simply put, I yearned to create stories and art to express myself and that others can enjoy.

Early Experiment With Water Long Exposure, November 2016

Photography came into my view when I vividly remember being told by my elementary art teacher Mrs. Cooper that everyone in the class should take photography class in high school. She mentioned that it was fun and worthwhile. I didn’t give it much thought until years later.

In junior high I was given a disposable camera from my parents to take pictures of a zoo I visited on a field trip. I can’t tell you what the pictures ended up as because the roll of film sat in that plastic camera body for over eight years and was ruined when I foolishly opened it, overexposing the entire roll. I doubt they were any good but this was an important step in my journey. Photographing animals seemed to be a lot of fun!

White Tailed Deer, November 2016

My photographic interest heightened ever more due to a video game system. 2009 rolls around and I am gifted a Nintendo DSi for Christmas that year. For anyone who doesn’t know video game handhelds, this was the first Nintendo DS with a built-in camera. Equipped with a whopping several megapixels, let me just say I probably spent more time taking pictures and using the goofy special effects than actually playing any games! Over the top editing expanded my creativity and augmented reality photos in real time took up my time. The next couple years I used this little device to nurture my early composition techniques. Finally the photographer in me was being birthed. 

Now a sophomore in high school, I recall the early exposure of being told of photography classes. Enrolling in two semesters, the first being with film and the second with digital. I was completely enamored to say the least. It was fun and engaging, all the more with a supportive teacher. I still have computer scans of my first assignments using film. These proof sheets show some rather blurry captures, some over or underexposed, and a select few sharp and in focus. The second had us working with landscapes, so my mother drove me to what I later know was Siebenthaler Fen not too far from my house. This early exposure to nature once again tapped me interest and abilities. During that first semester with film, working a traditional darkroom however was not coming easy to me. Plus the smell of fixer I can never forget!

Rock / Water Reflections, September 2016

Anyways, I later quickly picked up digital photography with ease. Using a loaner Nikon DSLR for much of the digital assignments, my first time using a real expensive camera. The colors, the instant feedback of checking my progress. My ideas were set free and flourished. Most of my work at the time was still objects and pictures of my mother and I, not so much of nature although I did experiment with that. This is the time period where I learned how to take self-timer portraits, created a photo series, and wandered my backyard and town in search of imagery. Using a copy of Adobe Photoshop Premiere Elements at school, I sought for a lot of wacky and over the top effects that would not go over too well in contests. But I didn’t care, this for me was as good as art can get. Capturing an image and using post processing, the process was neat. The cutting mats, the paper trimmer, choosing mats as well. Where drawing and painting was too slow for me, photography became my field of choice. It felt as though I had a sore throat my entire life and now I began to have a voice. Digital photography was the medicine I needed!

Now, I first began diving deep into the art of photography at the end of 2013. I was gifted a Canon Rebel T3 bundled with a Canon 18-55mm kit lens from my parents. Moving hastily around the house taking pictures of every still object, the dog, with my first photo taken with it being me in the mirror. After exhausting all indoor opportunities. I became very eager to get outside in the freezing cold and explore the local park a few minutes from my house. This was before I had a drivers license, so I made my way via bicycle. Both fun and carefree, it didn’t matter how cold I was. This single trip was a photographic bonanza for me.

Graduating high school in 2015 left me directionless and confused as to what I should do with my life. The multitude of options froze my decision-making that I ended up taking a year off to hopefully “find myself.” This was obviously not an overnight endeavor. 2016 seemed to be the catalyst for everything I had known to that point. All the pieces fell into place when I made a little spot in the local newspaper with a simple Canada Goose portrait. This was also the year where one of my best friends and I went to John Bryan State Park for a day where I was floored by the enormity of the park and what was possible. That Autumn I made a conscious decision to enroll in online photography classes with the New York Institute of Photography.

Excited About First Visit to John Bryan State Park, September 2016

The year 2017 was when things started to look up for me. That same best friend and I drove up to a place called the Narrows Reserve for a day where my skills were further enlivened. I finally got my drivers license that year and out of excitement explored tooth-and-comb every nature location around my county and eventually beyond. I managed to graduate from NYIP in a year The two classes I enrolled in really took me to where I am today. I will soon have a separate blog post detailing my experiences with the school.

February 2017, Photo Taken by Aaron Jinks

I set a goal for 2018 to be the year I took this passion seriously and fortunately it paid off. This was certainly been the hardest working year so far, with each one subsequently becoming more and more.

April 2018

You can clearly see that in three years, my gear and clothing reflected my passion and drive to pursue photography head-on. 2016-2018 were what I now consider my “baby years” where I developed the skills and experience necessary to achieve great imagery. So far 2019 is looking to be my first big break in the local public and beyond.

To this day I am ever more grateful of all the people I have met along the way during my career. The most exciting thing for me is watching my skills increase and style mature with time. In a couple years it already has! Personally for me, the journeys and experiences when taking the images are equally as imperative as the final photo itself.

Birding, November 2018

Looking onward, I wonder what is next?

“To create photography is to draw with the light, so I guess that makes me a light drawer?”

– Me

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