My love for wildlife started early in life. I was the only child and we lived out in the country where there wasnít any kids my age so all my time was playing alone out in the fields and woods. There I watched the birds and animals. In the winter when it snowed I would track the animals. Wildlife was my friends and siblings.
I didnít pick up the camera until I was 43 years old in 1983. My wife and I were going to visit a good friend in Alpine, Texas and visit the Big Bend National Park. I didnít have a camera but a friend let me borrow his 35mm camera with a 50mm lens. I took several 36 exposure rolls of film on the trip. I soon found out I needed a much larger lens to photograph the deer and birds that I had seen. That trip hooked me on photography, I had to have one when I returned home. I purchased a 35mm camera with 50mm lens and a 200mm lens. It didnít take long for me to decide I needed a 400mm lens.
In the late 1980ís I was slide presentations to various groups including the promotion of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge.
In 1988 I put on a pair of chest waders, put my camera bag around my neck and camera with 400mm lens on my tripod and waded into one of the large marsh areas which is now part of the wildlife refuge to photograph the 70+ nest Great Blue Heron rookery. When I wadded in the very calm and I could see the bottom so I could step over fallen trees and roots. When I started out the wind picked up and with the waves I couldnít see the bottom. I caught one foot on a root and fell forward, the camera and tripod went into the water. My quick thinking I grabbed the camera bag and held it up over my head to keep it out of the water which was about two feet deep. Lying there face down in the water with both hands holding my camera bag up out of the water. Lying flat of my stomach with one foot caught under a root and my head under water and both hands up over my head holding that heavy camera bag, I could not get up. Something had to give, I had to have air so I slammed the camera bag down into the water and jerked back onto my knees and place the camera bag back around my neck. Feeling around for the tripod I found it and was able to use it to get back on my feet and get my foot loose from under the root. One camera body in the camera bag got wet and the camera and 400mm lens was submerged. Everything else in the camera bag was safe. All my next visits to the rookery were made in a canoe.
Shortly after this I began selling photos to, national magazines, book publishers, and newspapers. I was featured on TVís Channel 25, Hal Wolfordís ĎBACKROADSí and Channel 7, Homestead ĎLIFE IN PIKE COUNTYí.
Just when photography career had a good start it came to STOP. On February 3, 1996 I was involved in an electrical explosion. The force of the explosion threw me twelve feet into a wood privacy fence with enough force that I went through the fence. I woke up three days later in the hospital flat of my back with my left arm tied up to a rack overhead, a bad concussion with brain damage, a neck vertebra out of place, seeing double, and black bruise from my shoulder down to my knee. When they removed the bandage from my left arm it was covered with golf ball sized blisters.
They placed metal plates, wire and screws in the arm and grafted artificial bone in the lower part of the forearm. After a week they sent me home but within another couple weeks I was back in the hospital with infection. Another couple weeks it still was not healing and I was transferred to another Doctor, an upper extremities specialist in another city. He thought that since I was treated for an infection that I was rejecting the metal so he scheduled another operation to remove the metal. He told me that he would probably have to take off the hand. When he opened the arm he found staff infection from the knuckles of my hand up to the elbow. The staff infection was in the ball that attaches to the wrist and the other end of the bone. He removed the ball and some more of the bone. Scraped the bones scrubbed everything to remove any infection. He left the other arm metal in so I could keep the hand. Then the fun began. Three months of twice a day IV of medication to keep the infection down. it was strong stuff. They placed a catheter in my heart for the IV. I would get up in the morning feeling good and here the nurse came and hooked me up to the IV for one hour. Then I was sick for another two hours. Then in the evening here she came again. This went on for three month. Then the infection disease Dr. told me that they canít kill the staff infection but only keep it dormant. So I would have to get blood test every three months and whenever I had any kind of infection.
I had operations on my shoulder, hip, and four on the arm. I lot of rehab. The first day of rehab for the left arm, I broke it, more surgery.
The double vision was corrected by both vertical and horizontal prism glasses.
When I started to get around some I would drop things with my right hand and fall while on my right leg. The neurologist said that the brain damage was the cause. He said that when I was holding something in my right hand or standing or walking on the right leg a signal was sent to a dead brain cell and it was blank I would drop things or fall. I had to learn to always stand on my left leg and hope I didnít hit any dead cells while walking. The arm is a bigger problem. I canít use the left arm and afraid to use the right arm.
Iím working out ways to carry some things. The camera I use the strap around the neck, sometimes I lay the camera on my left arm up by the elbow holding up with the lower arm. When shooting I can use a cable release with the left hand. All other things are done with the right hand. For holding the camera I use a tripod landscapes, a window mount for wildlife. I am a window shooter. I take photos from the window of my house, a shed in the back yard, a tent on the back porch, my car and truck. In the tent I use the tripod all others the window mount. I would say that over 95% of my photos are taken from the window.
I didnít want to put this on here. My friends talked me into it. They say that I am disabled. I donít like that term. I donít want people feeling sorry for me. I just have a few inconveniences.
Thank you all for viewing my photos.