As we get close to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina I think might be interesting to shed a little light on how that event is part of the reason I am here today. I owned one camera before Hurricane Katrina, a Canon EOS Rebel II film camera with an 35-80mm lens. I shot a few rolls of film and don't know where any of the prints are today, but it was Hurricane Katrina that really got me into photography.
My wife and I were evacuated in Houston when we decided to get a digital camera to document the damage to our belongings when we arrived back into town. Luckily, our apartment was in a slightly elevated area and we had no water damage. Since we had nothing to document I decided to photograph the damage to the area I grew up in.
My parents had over 10 feet of water in their home. Oddly enough, I can't find a picture of the outside of the home I grew up in. The first image I uploaded to Flickr is the one below.
This was taken with small 5 MP Kodak point and shoot. I took hundreds, maybe thousands, of images with camera.
In April 2010, a small startup called CreativeLIVE launched. They provided free photography education using an innovative new model. I had never considered becoming a professional photographer before watching CreativeLIVE. I believe the first class I watched was a wedding photography class with Jasmine Star.
In September of that year I made the leap and purchased a DSLR. Initially, I wanted to be a wildlife photographer. The first image I can find with my Canon is of duck in City Park.
Something you learn pretty quickly about wildlife photography is that the camera is only a small part of the equation. You need BIG zoom lenses that have HUGE price tags. I mean 5-figure price tags. Then there is the issue of finding the wildlife. You need to either spend hundreds of hours in the field looking for the best location to put a hide, so you can spend more hours in the hide looking for the perfect shot, or travel to places like Yellowstone where the animals are easily approachable.
At the time, I was in school full time with two young children at home, so I couldn't afford the lenses or the travel, and I didn't have the time to spend my morning and evenings hanging out in the woods looking for wildlife no matter how much I wanted to be the next Marty Stouffer.
I decided to focus on what I had around me and that was my kids. I was the dad version of the MWAC (mom-with-a-camera).
Since 2010, I have taken over 51,000 images with my camera. I've gone from this
I see areas where I need to improve. I see little things wrong, but 50,000 images later I know my purpose. I take pictures of kids and families. I started with my own and branched out to others. This is what I'm good at. This is why I'm excited to get up in the morning.