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How I became a photographer

I got into photography because of my dad. He spent his entire life around photography, starting in high school working on the school yearbook, then working as a photo developer here in Olean and owning his own Wedding Photography business. I would go with him, learning how to reload the camera backs for him, learning about camera settings for indoors and outdoors, when to use a fill flash for indoor shoots, hair lighting, and how to position people for the right pose. We were both in the local volunteer fire department. We started responding to fires in the city as well as the outlying volunteer areas. I was given my first of two cameras in the late 1980’s. The first was a Vivitar 600 Point and Shoot Pocket Camera and the second was a Kodak Disc 6100 camera. I would go around taking pictures of family events and gatherings. Once I was older I was given my first 35mm Canon Sure Shot camera. In the early 2010’s I was given my first digital camera. I strayed away from doing emergency photography and went towards scenery. 

How I got into Emergency Scene photography 

In 2002 I was hired by the City of Olean Fire Department. In 2008 I became a Level 1 Fire Investigator and in 2012 I became a Level 2 Fire Investigator. As I progressed in my career I had the opportunity to go to the New York State Fire Academy for Arson Photography. There I learned how to get off the “green button” and really learn how to use the camera. After I completed that class and became more comfortable with the digital camera, I was tasked with taking pictures at fire scenes. After that I started traveling around the area going to fires, accidents and training sessions or “pumper practices” to photograph firefighters. In August 2018 I joined the Connecticut Fire Photographers Association, where I have gained a whole new respect for emergency services photography. Some of the best fire photographers are in this club.

Published Work

I have been very fortunate to have my work used in numerous publications, from newspaper articles, magazines, websites and even on clothing. My work has been published in the Olean Times Herald, a local newspaper, Firehouse Magazine Hotshots, a National Firefighting magazine. Click here to see my published work.