The accompanying photo of me was taken in 2009 during a photo workshop in Egypt conducted by Popular Photography magazine.

My interests in travel and photography go back to my high school days… perhaps even further. As a child my family moved a lot, though pretty much all within the state of New Jersey. I always enjoyed moving to new places and meeting new people. My high school days were spent in one town, Flemington, NJ. The photography interest started when my step-father came back from Thule, Greenland with an Exa 35 mm camera. I was allowed to use it and soon started developing my own Ektachrome slides at home. It was pretty simple and you really didn’t need an actual darkroom, just a dark closet to transfer the film from its cassette into the light tight developing canaster. The hard part was getting the chemical temperatures exactly correct. This could have a great effect on the color of the slides.

After college I went into the US Air Force and completed pilot training. After a few years I was stationed in South East Asia and the photography interest really bloomed. I had access to a fully equipped darkroom at the base hobby shop and began acquiring some serious camera gear. The dollar yen exchange rate was quite favorable and frequent trips to Okinawa provided access to all the fancy Nikon gear I could afford. I even became something of a “camera runner”, as people who found out I had frequent trips to Okinawa from Taiwan, where we were stationed, would give me money to buy camera equipment for them. It was always fun spending other peoples money and bargaining with the Okinawan store owners to try to get the best price.

I shot mainly black and white negative film and color slides. It was too difficult to develop color negatives and try to make prints from them. So I developed and printed my own black and white pictures and had the color slides processed by a lab. I did however print and develop some color prints directly from the lab processed Kodachromes using a process called cibachrome. I had some decent results with this process as it was very similar to developing film. The color print paper was exposed with an enlarger in the darkroom and then loaded into a closed cylinder with light tight opening for the introduction and removal of  the developing chemicals. As with the Ektachromes the chemical temperatures were critical. The loaded cylinder could be handled in full daylight and once the solutions were introduced the cylinder was rolled back and forth on a level surface to evenly distribute the chemical across the print surface.

My interest in photography was further stimulated by association with several “camera nut” friends. We often went out “shooting” together and a few of the guys got good enough to be published. Smokey J had his “Wake Island Landfall” picture selected to be featured by Nikon in their calendar one year and Ken had several pictures appear in an Alaska state magazine. The Wake Island picture was an aerial shot made from the back end of a C-130 with the cargo ramp and door open (oops, sorry Smokey to spill the beans!) That was the aircraft we were all flying back then and flying for “Uncle Sam’s No-Frills Airlines” gave us so many great opportunities to photograph in fantastic locations. Unfortunately I no longer have the negatives or even any prints  from those days.

Today, even though I still have my old Nikon F2 and even a Bronica GS-1, I have gone totally digital. Still Nikon, though! I love photoshop and don’t miss my old darkroom with its smelly chemicals and onerous (and odorous!)  manipulation processes (burning and dodging, etc). And my Epson injet produces beautiful color prints without having to worry about chemical temperatures or even stumbling in the dark.

As for the travel bit, well, thanks to a career in the Air Force I have been stationed in the states of: Alabama, California, Texas, Hawaii, Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and New York and also spent time in: Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Pohnpei , Palau, Yap, Tinian, Singapore, and Bali. Naturally, within a few years of retiring from the USAF I found myself back in the travel business. I now have my own group tour business, concentrating on educational field trips for student groups. Most of this is domestic (primarily the northeastern part of the US and Canada) motor coach travel, but we also conduct a few overseas trips for students each year, mostly to Europe and South America. I love travelling and I love sharing travel experiences with young folks. Their enthusiasm is contagious and keeps me “pumped”!

As for personal travel, we have a daughter living in Italy so my wife and I make a trip there at least once a year. And for the past few years I have signed up for a photography workshop to a foreign country at least once a year. While I have already blogged about those trips on other sites I will probably repeat and update those blogs here to make them more accessible to a wider audience that may be interested. All future trips will be described in this blog, starting with my trip to Cuba in February.  I will try to blog as regularly as possible, but even for this next trip that may be problematic due to limited internet availability while on site.

Thank you for visiting this site and I sincerely hope you find it enjoyable and informative.