More life events, more learning, soon I was photographing my kids, my friend’s and relative’s kids and families, weddings, you name it. My first commercial photo shoot was that fish tank. It was pretty awesome and forced me to learn about lighting in a new way. I spent a great deal of research too since I was getting paid well for this gig.Good thing, after that it was soap products, then three ring binders, then clothing, all while still doing the other things like aircraft, people and nature. I was not satisfied sticking to a certain nitch of photography which is very unusual in this business. This was becoming a passion with me and so I saw every different opportunity as a chance to learn something new. I had built up an interesting portfolio of solid styles of photography including airplane to airplane, airplane-to-ground, nature, portraiture, babies, pets, events like weddings, parties, products and “widgets” and since I was printing many of my own for show or for sale, the quality of the printing was far better then what individuals were used to seeing. When I left the military I went into corporate operations management and while I was climbing that preverbal ladder of success I was also moonlighting at a local camera store. What a great place to get chemistry at wholesale prices for feeding my printing habit. I had gone in there to buy color paper chemistry and the sales guy kept correcting me and showing me black & white chemistry. 3 times I told him I have a color darkroom at home and he couldn’t believe it. Then I tried to by 5 gallons of it and he said I’ll never go through it fast enough before it goes bad so he only sold me 1 gallon. I came back in 2 hours for more. Two more exchanges like this and he offered me a job printing. He was the owner. I had a good career going in logistics and warehousing but I was burned out working my tail off making other people rich. I was very successful but not satisfied. I left that moonlight job at the camera store when the corporate work load began including travel, and multi city management. I just couldn’t keep a regular schedule any longer. I never lost track of them and I was still a customer for equipment and photo printing. I left corporate america in 2002, I was looking to either start a business or buy a business in my own town because I wanted to keep my money, my talent, and my gifts local. When I visited the camera store to begin preparing for an upcoming snow ski photo shoot, I ran into the owner whom I hadn’t seen for some time. We chatted for about 2 hours catching up on the last 7 years of the store’s history and when I told him my plans, he quietly suggested I consider the camera store. The rest is history, I bought the store, I learned retail management, and I continued my photographic learning by adding a professional commercial photography studio to my portfolio. While the concept of shooting product photography and commercial photography wasn’t new to me, I’ve been doing it for 15 years already, suddenly I had a new and larger list of clients. Thankfully I had a 30 year experienced studio professional on staff which was fabulous. I was learning at a pace I hadn’t tried since flight school. Now I was doing everything I had learned to do. Managing people and assets, shooting, creating and printing.