Sept 15, 2013…it started out weeks before, with me pretty much inviting myself to help out a photographer friend. I needed to give myself something to do after my ex and I had separated, and I found myself trying to figure out what to do with my time when the kids were with her during her time in our 50/50 custody arrangement. My friend is a photographer and had been hired as the Event Photographer for this Obstacle Course style race at Greek Peak. He had brought in a bunch of college photography students to take photos at the event as well. I brought my camera and my lack of knowledge of how to use it fully at the time, but I brought a lot of enthusiasm. I pushed myself to try and get some creative shots, getting low, getting way out in the mud. I had to gather up some courage to ask a group of ladies to hold their pose so I could grab another picture of them as I had a picture of them from before the race, they were hesitant thinking I was some sort of creeper until I showed them my volunteer shirt and explained I was helping take photos for the event. That set of photos was one of my favorites showing the before and after, there were smiles at both, but a lot more mud at the end. I also got the picture above, by standing directly next to the hand rope, which some of the competitors were shaking trying to knock each other into the very cold pond. It knocked into my head several times with a lot of weight behind it, but I got the shot I was hoping for. I got plenty of others, and in the end was given my hardest task. Go through the pictures you took, get rid of bad ones. No problem, I’ve done that before. OK, now, send your best\favorite 20. I had 759 that I liked and kept, how do I pick 20 out of that. It took a while, but I finally did it, narrowing it down over several times. I sent them off and thought nothing more of it. Fast forward about 4 years. Times had been tough, going through the divorce, getting my own place, etc., and I sold my camera. It had been a hobby I dabbled in since I was in High School, and while I loved it, there were more important things. I found myself at a business networking event one night. I met a lot of people that night, but I already knew a lot of them too. Most of them knew me from my IT business. One of my friends had introduced me to someone and they had gone off and were talking elsewhere, and then they came back with an odd question. The new acquaintance said, aren’t you a photographer, to which I replied “No, I am in IT.” My friend said they had been disagreeing since they had come over, with her saying I was in IT, and my new acquaintance claiming I was a photographer. She then asked if I had been at the Tuff eNuff event and had been taking pictures, and I said that I had. She said, “You are a photographer.” I was wondering why my name had stuck with her as I wasn’t the actual photographer and she then explained that they had used some of my pictures for promotional materials for the next year’s event and my name was on the photos to give me credit, thanks to my photographer friend. That was the first time my photos were published, and I hadn’t even known about it until years later. I still at that point didn’t consider myself a photographer. I had taken the pictures, and they looked pretty awesome, but the camera did a lot of the work by using Auto settings, I just got the angles and actions shots I wanted. Below is one of my photos that was used to promote the event. Check back soon to see the next chapter of the story of how I got to the point where I do call myself a photographer.