I have always wanted to be a photographer. At the early age of 9, I broke open my piggy bank and bought my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic camera. At that time, we were living in the beautiful English countryside. It was a perfect place to start my photography career. My photographs would turn out to be one of the few left of our stay there.
We lived outside of Lane End, England. This photo was taken in 1965.
My father was in the Air Force, which required us to move every three years or so. During one of those moves, I lost my camera. It wasn't until we were living in Puerto Rico that I started up taking up photography again. Another beautiful country to take record by camera.
These were called the Tabletop Rocks. This view from the cliffs was only a mile from our home at
Ramey AFB. Year was 1972.
A few years later, I was living in Cupertino, California. There I took a photography class at De Anza Junior college. We were given a reflex camera to use throughout the course. I still remember the smell of the chemicals that were used to develop the film. It was during this class that I learned how to use the manual settings on a camera. During the following years I kept up my photography as I traveled, but that eventually dwindled as working for a living took precedence.
Yosemite National Park, California, 1980.
Many of my older photos are started to lose their colors due to age.
In July 1996, I started using a wheelchair and breathing on a ventilator due to having a form of muscular dystrophy called Rigid Spine Syndrome. It took some time to figure out how to move forward in my life. Also, I was now living with my parents because I required 24/7 medical care.
One of my first outings to the beach. Half Moon Bay, 2000.
It wasn't till the early 2000's that I started to get an interest in photography again. But there was a problem. Because my muscles have become weaker from my disease's progression, I couldn't lift more than two pounds. Hoping to start using a DSLR camera was now out of the question. Fortunately, this was the era of lightweight and compact digital cameras. I admit, though, I wasn't too pleased with the quality of the photos from these early cameras, like the Fuji FinePix 3800. However, this was also the boom of high tech, and each year more advanced compact cameras came onto the market.
Santa Cruz, 2010
During that time, there wasn't much information about accessible trails. Thus, in 2010 I created the Adventures from a Wheelchair blog. Not only did I write reviews about trails and parks I had visited but also shared videos. To help with that, I bought a Kodak Playsport video camera. Eventually, I would upgrade to a GoPro Hero action camera.
Practicing using and setting up the Kodak Playsport onto a tripod. Vasona Park, Los Gatos, 2011
During my travels around the San Francisco Bay Area, I started to frequent Baylands Nature Preserve. It is an undisturbed marshland and an essential habitat for migratory shorebirds. Not only did bird watching become a new and enjoyable hobby, but also photographing them. In 2013, the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS with 50x zoom officially became my "bird" camera.
Cooper's Hawk, Shoreline in Mountain View, 2014
Yet, I still wanted to improve the quality of my photographs. After much research and saving, the Sony RX100 III compact camera became my go-to camera. It wasn't a DSLR, but the image quality was almost as good. As I explored more accessible trails, my images' quality improved, and I started to work on landscape photography.
Vasona Park, Los Gatos. One of my favorite parks. Year was 2018.
Most of 2020 was spent shelter in place. As such, my photography was put on hold, except for handful of photographs.
Coyote Creek Parkway, April 2019
I still spend time looking at the latest DSLR cameras. As a decades-long photographer it is hard not to. There have been many updates with compact cameras, like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Vll and the Canon Powershot G5 X Mark ll. With these camera upgrades, I hope to also improve the quality of my photographs. And, as it turns out, I turn 65 this year. What a better way to celebrate than to buy a new camera.
Last thoughts. I will always dream about having a camera made for professional photographers. Yet, I am very grateful that I am still physically able to express myself through a camera lens.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” — Ansel Adams