BetterPhoto Member: David A. Dawson

member since 1/7/2010
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I began taking pictures with a 110 camera in the early 1970s when I was about 12. I started to get serious about photography around the age of 15. I experimented shooting into mirrors and through glass jars, and shooting black and white. My dad let me borrow one of his Canon 35mm cameras, a very basic FT-QL. He never got it back. In fact I still have that camera, though I haven't used it since 2005.

When I started college, in 1979, I became interested in video production. I earned a B.S. degree in Mass Communications and started a video production company. I was still taking some 35mm pictures, but most of my photography was shot at 30 frames per second (video). In 1997 I shot some pretty good pictures of the comet Hale-Bopp. One picture was retained by Astronomy magazine, but never printed.

In 2000 I sold the video business and bought a small campground in the Missouri Ozarks. This is where I have discovered the natural world. I started working for the National Park Service in 2004. A picture I took in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways was selected to represent the Midwest region in the 2008 Passport to Your National Parks stamp series. I completed a M.S. degree in Natural Resource Management in 2009, and I'm planning to pursue employment opportunities in some of the national parks in the West.

I enjoy a great landscape shot, where timing and composition are critical, but I am probably a bigger fan of hard-to-get wildlife shots. I appreciate nature photographers who are willing to work for their art, whether it be in composing a landscape shot or stalking wildlife in the field (not in the zoo). I think subject matter is very important. I don't really appreciate still life photos unless they show some interesting details that are ordinarily unobserved.