Some might ask: Why is a photographer writing about Father’s Day on a photography blog? That’s a great question that has a fairly simple answer: I wouldn’t be the photographer I am today if it wasn’t for my father.
Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2002. From summer until early fall, I spent time piecemealing odd jobs together after my college graduation. All that hard work and all I had to show for it…a $16,000 piece of paper and a slew of new ‘knowledge’, but no real passion or career to speak of. But one of the better questions is, did I know what I wanted to do with my life? Honestly, not yet.
Late September rolled around and my father asked me if I was interested in going on a road trip out west. My first and only response was “of course!” Not only was I up for a road trip but what else was I busy doing?…. so together we plotted a course. “Go West young man” my dad would always joke when I was younger – and west we went. Setting sights on our road atlas, we plotted a course along the interstates and back highways that would lead us to some of the most beautiful scenery and locations in the country. Those roads took us through some of the most majestic National Parks that exist. We were in awe.
As a photographer, I believe that photos relay an incredible amount of information to the viewer. Light, texture, atmosphere, color, a sense of wilderness, beauty, ruggedness, but nothing prepares you for the real thing. Really.. nothing. Arriving at our first destination, Grand Canyon National Park, I stood in awe at the edge of the deep red rock canyon awe-struck. I truly can’t put into words the beauty that spread out in front of my eyes. All I could think about was how much I wanted be in that moment forever. I wanted to share the lines, textures, light, beauty, and more with others. From my camelbak I pulled out a very simple point-n-shoot camera and started clicking away at the shutter. I couldn’t help but want to keep walking around each and every corner to see what viewpoint or unique angle would open itself up to me. So that’s what we did. For 7 days we drove, hiked, explored, AND photographed the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks. Never before had I used so much film and spent so much time behind a lens, but I was hooked.
Would I have become a photographer if my father and I hadn’t taken this road trip? I don’t know, maybe. However, because of the joy of spending a week getting to know my father better than ever before (after a really tough 2001) as well as seeing his enthusiasm for the beauty of the natural world something changed. I had found my place; a passion I truly enjoyed. My hunger for exploration had begun and the fire for photography had been stoked. His encouraging words and support for pursuing my photography have meant the world to me – not to mention having him along for many of those adventures. That trip in 2002 was the first in a long line of road trips across the country spent with my dad. And while we’re separated by half a country now, we’ve made time to keep the tradition alive – last year going to Zion and Death Valley.
I want to thank all the Dads out there for all they do for their sons and daughters, especially my Dad. Thanks for getting me started on this crazy adventure of life. Thanks for being my ‘partner in adventure’ for all those years – and I’m excited your still going strong even now! Thanks for being just as excited to see this beautiful country of ours as I am. Thanks for supporting me when life was a struggle. Thanks for sacrificing and working your tail off to give our family a good life. Thanks for creating memories I will never forget. Thanks for setting an example of what hard work looks like and that easy roads get you nowhere. Thanks for being one of the strongest men I know. And lastly thanks for being not only my dad, but my friend.