Its good to have a friend who you can enjoy photography with. I have often said photography is a solitary endeavor. I spend a lot of time in the field by myself, sometimes even travelingon my own. And sometimes even when I am with a friend or a group, I end up on my own track. But it does add something when you can travel into the field with a like-minded companion. Its an added bonus when that companion is also a true friend.
Rich and I have been friends for 25 years. Our careers and families have paralleled. We traveled together extensively on business in the early years. More recently, we have traveled together on photography trips, purely for pleasure. I have photographed for 35 + years. Rich got interested in serious photography sometime after I met him and really “turned the corner” when digital came around. In the fall of 2004, he took his D70 out to Jackson Hole and a seminar in the Grand Tetons. Shortly after he returned, he bought the D2, which he still shoots with today, along with some Nikkor “pro” lenses.
Rich has a natural “eye” for his subjects which I envy. Our easy and trusting friendship makes traveling together a joy. We have never held back our views, whether it was on personal matters, business or photography and it is great trading approaches and thoughts about our photographic endeavors. Rich is naturally gregarious and comfortable around people and new situations; I am more reserved. His attitude has probably gotten us more photographic opportunities than I ever would have taken on my own.
In 2005, we spent a week in Vermont together in October, to photograph Vermont’s famed fall color. We stayed at my Uncle and Cousin’s dairy farm in Northern Vermont and Rich fit in like he was family, canning Maple Syrup when they got a surprise heavy order during the afternoon hours when the light wasn’t good. I’ll never forget that trip. One night we traipsed down a steep mountain path in pitch dark in Stowe, scouting a morning location for a sunrise shot of the Village. I wondered if we would ever get out of there. We found it and when we returned at first light the next morning, only to find thick fog hanging over the valley. While we waited for the sunlight, I turned my camera to the ground to photograph a single leaf which became the genesis for the composite I which has become the trademark image for my LightCentric Photography. We sipped coffee, and chatted, comfortable with each other’s company. We were eventually rewarded with sun burning off the fog, but ultimately disappointed in the amount of growth in front of our subject. I never got the shot to my satisfaction, even traveling back there in 2006. But somehow, Rich found a pretty nice 0pening to the Church on Main Street in Stowe, Vermont.
We have traveled to the Michigan U.P. several times to photograph fall color, waterfalls, and other scenes. One of my most “successful” images came on one of those trips. We awoke at pre-dawn to steady, pouring rain. Always optimistic, we headed for a waterfall we had previously scouted. After a couple of frustrating hours trying to keep our gear dry and our lenses clear, we hiked down the riverbed to the mouth on the Lake Superior shoreline. There were nothing but gray clouds and rain everywhere we looked. I mounted my macro lens and turned my camera to shore below my feet, playing around with rock compositions. The resulting image, here, was one of the very small handful of “keepers” from that trip. It hangs in our favorite sitting room in my house, and I cannot look at it without thinking of Rich and fond memories of quality time spent together during our 25-year friendship.
In October of 2009, the two of us and our wives spent a week in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I posted a number of the images we captured on the magical trip on previous recent Blog entries. The photo of Rich, here, begs a humorous story (we have many of them). Rich is not very tall and I am just over 6′. We staged these photos on the little white bridge at a relatively famous iconic Acadia vicinity shot — Somesville. I shot him and then he left the “prop” tripod/camera setup in place so that I could step into the frame. I left my camera and tripod set up to make the photograph. We switched places and as I turned to look back at the lens, I heard Rich laughing. As I looked at him, he was jumping well off the ground to see through the viewfinder of my camera set up — for me — on my tripod. Needless to say, he did some adjustment. My photo appears on this site as my “greeting.” If you look closely, you’ll see that I am proudly standing with my hand on Rich’s D2! Thanks Rich. I have wanted an “environment” shot of me ever since I started this Blog.
In December of 2009, Rich’s career path took a sharp turn. The company he worked for 20 years decided to “reorganize.” In business, as in life, Rich is a talented and successful person, and in a short few weeks, he was trying to decide between different job offers. He ultimately took a position in Minnesota, and will be moving there shortly. I was happy to be able to introduce him to Minnesota photographer and frient, Allen Utzig, who coincidentally, is in the same business as Rich (insurance and financial planning). Al is also a talented photographer and photography teacher. I am looking forward to a trip to Minnesota in the near future so the three of us can shoot together.
It is with some personal sadness that I bid Rich farewell and good luck on his new career path. He can look at it as an exciting new professional challenge and has the added benefit of moving to one of the most naturally photogenic states in our nation. And while I have no doubt he and I will maintain contact, I will miss knowing we can grab a cup of coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner, play golf, or take off for a long weekend of photography.
Best of luck to you Rich. I’ll miss you, buddy!