I’ve been a photographer for more than 40 years. It all started in 1971 when my best friend received an old Argus C3 rangefinder and an old enlarger from a friend. We bought a roll of Tri-x and took some photos. We then proceeded to develop the film and make prints. As most photographers from the analog days, I was totally captivated by watching the image slowly appear in the developing tray. Since then, photography has been a large part of my life.

I was an avid bicyclist and became interested in the Race Across America, (RAAM), a transcontinental bicycle race. My wife and I attended a show from the 1983 race in January 1984. At the event, it was announced that their photographer was resigning. I contacted the race organization and presented myself as the photographer they needed. After getting the position, I contacted the major cycling magazines letting them know that I could help them with coverage of the race.

All the magazines informed me that they would be having their own people out covering the race. While disappointed, I figured that I was getting paid to take a two-week trip photographing a bicycle race across America. When I returned from the race, my phone began to ring. It was the cycling magazines asking if I had any good shots.

Once I had been published, it was easy to get assignments from magazines. I was now able to cover any cycling event I wanted. I was still working in the telecommunication industry and doing photography on weekends. In 1987 I started branching out into other sports field. I started working for a magazine covering Pro Football. I could do that on weekends while still keeping my “day” job.

By the start of the 90’s my business was growing. I was getting requests from magazines to cover events during the week. I was just about to switch to doing photography full time, when the next thing that would define the rest of my life appeared. For the last year or so I had, at times, difficulty running. Sometimes even tripping and stumbling. Then I began having problems walking. After a trip to the doctors and some tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurologic disease for which there is no cure and one that would on become progressively worse.

I now had a decision to make, leave my fulltime job and do photography or stay with my “day” job. Since I had a family and a good job with benefits, health insurance and a pension, I decided to stay with the “day” job and continue to do photography on the weekends. While I wouldn’t get to do all the photography I would like to do, I could still be an active photographer and earn enough to have some nice equipment.

By the start the new century, my MS had progressed. The number of assignments and events that I photographed had decreased. I photographed my last football game at the start of 2000. I still continue to photograph a few bicycle races and foot races each year since I can do that from the side of the road.

I retired from my telecommunications position at the start of 2009. I had always planned on being able to spend my retirement doing all the photography projects I didn’t have time to do when I was working. Near the end of 2012, I discovered a Fine Art Photography course offered by Calumet Photographic, taught by Bob Killen. The class completely changed the way I looked at photography. Instead of looking at images as an illustration to a story, I could now find a theme and create work that reflects the theme. The photographs can tell the story.

Investigating and moving to Fine Art Photography has opened a whole new world. My world for the previous 30 years revolved around sports photojournalism. I am now starting a new photo journey and have many paths ahead of me and I’m excited about the possibilities.

David Nelson

5112 Ocaso Ave

Buena Park CA 90621

Cell: 714-423-9726

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