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 worth1000.com 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.

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