What turns you on creatively?
Good taste and new, interesting subjects to photograph that are waiting to be discovered around the next bend.
What turns you off creatively?
Poor taste and derivative photography concepts and images.
What’s your dream photo assignment?
Those I do every day. I throw all my energy into every project—one day a still life in the studio, the next, air-to-air with a squadron of WWII-era P51 Mustangs 10,000 feet over Kansas. Wonderful subjects are the many reasons I love my job and photography.
If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Leonardo da Vinci. He was the model renaissance hero—painter, sculptor, inventor-scientist and original thinker of un-thought thoughts rolled in one. I’m sure I’d stop talking for a change and listen up at that dinner!
What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
I like to look at photography that hasn’t been influenced by other photography. “Hydrangea,” a still life by Baron DeMeyer in 1907, has always been one of my many favorites.
What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
Professional pilot. I’m currently learning to fly.
What’s your favorite camera feature?
Ultra-accurate auto exposure. With film, there was no latitude for missing the exposure, and contrary to what some people say, digital exposures have to be spot-on, too. My whole career I’ve relied on Nikon internal metering to make sure I get the shot. I make my living with these cameras and they don’t let me down.
What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
I love ’em all, but the D2x with a 18-200mm VR, 200mm ƒ/2 or 300mm ƒ/2.8 are my current favorite setups. I’ve been using Nikon gear for my entire career and still have my first Nikon F with an F36 drive circa 1970. The D2x got me out of the still-life studio and outdoors to make images beyond still life. Action, lifestyle, landscape—it’s the perfect camera. The 18-200mm is my new outdoor-everything lens, and I always have one nearby. The fast 200mm ƒ/2 and 300mm ƒ/2.8 are my other favorites. The fast ƒ-stop combined with the longer focal length helps create really beautiful and unexpected effects. They have also trained me to see close-up detail in a new way.