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It all began when...

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Sometimes God throws a handful of glittering opportunity into the air. If it falls upon you, dance! Then get to work. ~Terri Guillemets

I had never imagined myself as a photographer. In college, I was required to have a fine arts class, and since unlike my brother I have no artistic talent, I left this requirement to be fulfilled last. I was lucky enough to bypass the creative drawing and oils/watercolors classes and enrolled in a photography class. Mind you this is pre digital photography. So I borrowed my moms Minolta 35mm camera, spent a small fortune on film, photo paper and chemicals, and set out to pass the class needed to graduate. In the dark room I enjoyed playing around with exposures and manipulating the film to make "ghost" photos. As with most beginning classes, the assignments were simplified to things like, texture, shadows, lines, etc., etc. I struggled with the assignments always finding more in the picture that caught my eye. Needless to say most of my completed work did not "fit" the assignment and I passed with a "C". I returned the camera to my mom, donated what I had left of the chemicals and paper and my portfolio binder was lost in the bottom of a box to years of moving and dust.

Fast forward a few years. Everyone says when you become a mom your life changes. They were right! I was a new mom to a beautiful baby boy, I lived on a ranch in a beautiful valley with a meandering river, wildlife, towering mountains and local Montana history out my back door. My mom had purchased for me, a used 35mm camera after I had graduated, so I could continue to take pictures and grow as a photographer (she always saw the potential in her children, that no one else saw). It was a beautiful camera, but with no dark room, no available space and no time with a new babe, I would have to wait until I went to town to be able to get my pictures developed at Walmart or K-mart. The roll of film was usually misplaced, and the camera was eventually lost on the top shelf of the closet.

Then one day, while flipping through channels, undoubtedly looking for cartoons, I came across the QVC channel. Their value of the day was a digital camera. I was mesmerized. This was something I had to have. What better way to capture my boys and all of there milestones than with a camera that would give me results right away. The price at the time was way out of my price range. I mean really it was as much as 3 cans of baby formula and 4 boxes of diapers. So I searched far and wide and eventually found EBAY. My first digital camera was a well used Kodak easy share 5 megapixel camera and it came with a docking station. To this day I am still not sure what the use of the docking station was but at that time that was a bargaining tool.

For months my two boys, were my muse. I could take hundreds of pictures of them a day and only be out my time to delete all but 5. Eventually my well used Kodak wore out, the little automatic lens protector no longer opened and the zoom didn't zoom. It was time for me to upgrade. I told my hubby I wanted a new camera for Christmas, he saved and got me a wonderful little point and shoot Olympus. It was with this camera that I took the above photo. I was enjoying family time at Elkhorn Ghost Town and meandered to this wagon, sized it up and shot the picture. It was about this time that I had also discovered social media and posted the picture. It was very popular. People were contacting me about buying prints, asking me to take pictures for them, I took on my first wedding. It was almost overwhelming. That was the moment that started it all. Since then my camera collection has grown. I have have the privilege of capturing memorable moments for so many, from engagements to births, high school proms and senior pictures, high school sports and professional rodeos. Every time and every moment just as important as the next. Looking back, 20+ years since I first picked up that 35mm, and here I am with a web page, a fairly successful photography business and thousands of memories shared or stored in boxes that are irreplaceable.

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