How I Got the Shot: The Raccoon That Started it All

A lot of people ask how I got started in photography. So much so that I wrote a few blog posts detailing my journey here. In brief I started doing photoshop contests on the now defunct per the recommendations of a friend for church. My photoshop entries on the site did horrible so I figured I’d give their photography contests a try. I did much better in these and decided to take up photography. I saved up money from mowing lawns (and later photoshoots) to buy various photography equipment.

It was after a trip to the Fred Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan that I decided I really wanted to be a photographer for a living. I was walking around with a monster metal tripod, a relic of my dad’s from the 80s which helped me briefly develop some nice biceps in ninth grade that I’ve since lost. Attached was a used and refurbished manual focus only Nikon 70-300mm lens on a Nikon D40. A fellow visitor waved at me to come over near him. A baby raccoon popped his head out of the leaves just long enough for me to focus and dial in a proper exposure. This was the first image I had taken that I was really happy with. After seeing this image I decided this is what I wanted to do for a living.

Shot using a Nikon D40 with a used and refurbished NIkon 70-300mm on a metal Velbon tripod. Metadata has been lost due to a hard drive crash and how I used to manage files in the past.




Photographer/Retoucher at Ryan Watkins Photography
Portrait and Wedding Photographer catering to Clare, Mt Pleasant, and Midland, Michigan. Ready to travel anywhere in the state.

Graduate from the Hallmark Institute of Photography and recipient the Highest Academic Honor.

Published in several magazines including Shutterbug, Digital Photo, Outdoor Photographer, and PDNedu.