It was there before I knew it

(photo shot somewhere between 1989-93)

People who are friends of mine know I tend to jump from hobby to hobby. I’ve done so many different things in my life so far, had so many different hobbies, that people may start to wonder how long the current one will last and what will be next?

And in turn, it ends up making me wonder. I have an amazing wife who has taught me a lot about self-examination and self-awareness. I am by no means an expert, but something everyone should try to learn is the ability to look at one’s self from the perspective of an outside viewer. I tend to do that a lot and I think it helps me a be a better person.

Because of always examining myself and what I’m doing, this new love of photography has been placed under the microscope for constant study. For awhile there I was pondering daily what exactly it meant for me.

Why? Why now? For how long? What’s the point? Is this just the latest fad for me?

I’ve only been seriously doing this since last summer, when I realized my little point-and-shoot could take 3 shots per second and I started photographing lightning. That’s when I knew I wanted a DLSR so I could use long exposures to really capture the entire essence of a lightning strike. Once I had that camera, the rest has sort of been history.

But where did this come from? Is it going to last?

Since this question started entering my brain the last 3 months, I’d always known the answer stemmed from my love of weather. I knew that I’d always loved storms, lightning, the monsoon, whatever. My recent discovery of the show Storm Chasers only served to show me something even more intense about weather to love.

The proof though came along the other day when I found some old photos lying around and scanned them. I realized they had been taken over 15 years ago when I was still in high school/starting college.

Wow. Even back then, I was fascinated with taking pictures of clouds and storms. And yet I didn’t even realize what that meant. It just had always been inside of me.

(The one above and these below were all shot around that time frame of 1989-93)

(this one above looks almost close to a supercell like structure and we probably had no idea. I do remember specifically this day my mom saying the sky looks green like in Illinois when tornadoes would show up. Weird how you remember stuff like that)

I especially like this one above with my buddy Chris. A big camping trip for us, I absolutely LOVE the cloud structure here and the fence, the lake…man, it’s beautiful.

More recently in 2005, I snapped 6 separate photos below of this amazing monsoon being lit up by the setting sun:

It’s amazing what you may not realize about yourself until one day something manifests itself that you never expected.

Now, I keep using weather as an origin for my photography hobby, but of course now I’m shooting much, much more. When my daughter was born 17 months ago, I couldn’t stop filming her and taking pictures. Once I got the new camera and a nice little prime 50mm lens, I realized even MORE how much I loved taking pictures of people.

But I think it all stems from that one place. And from that place comes validation for me. This isn’t a phase, or a passing moment that will join the pile of other things I’ve done throughout my life and left by the side of the road.

Photography has been inside of me for a long time just waiting to get out and now (and my wife would agree with a smile) it’s a beast that cannot be tamed.

My question to you guys…for all the photogs out there: When did you learn that you loved to take pictures? What’s your origin story?

  • http://www.lightning-chaser.com Shane Kirk

    Mike, This 2005 monsoon shot is SPECTACULAR! Wow what a shot! I’d love to see clouds like that! It’s been awhile!

  • jina

    I love this! The origin of your photo craziness… everyone should be able to tell their story like you. Really cool.