***Algernon Parker Photography, formerly Known as AEparker Photography***
Who is AEparker?
Every photographer has a story or reason for the love of creating images. Who is AEparker? Well, I am Algernon Emmanuel Parker. The initials are where the name AEparker originated. My love for photography started almost five years ago. I don't have a long history with photography as many photographers do. I was not traditionally taught the art of photography. Hard work, studying, practice, and persistence has brought me a long way.
Most people that know me, know that I am finishing a career in the US Navy. It feels so good to be at the end and on the verge of a new chapter (that’s another blog post). My love for photography began when I was deployed in 2009. At the beginning of this deployment, I felt more grown up than I had ever felt. I was practically a newly wed and missing my beautiful wife dearly. I knew I needed something to distract the thoughts of missing my family so much. I had deployed before and had not felt this strong attachment. While on deployment, I continued to search for a hobby that would work for me. One night my coworker, Evan Echlin was messing around with what I thought was a huge camera. I did not understand it but was intrigued. After watching him, I thought this could be my distraction.
Port visits would be easier to document memories if I had a huge camera like that one. Of course, I thought that this camera would "take great pictures." My wife found out about my new interest and sent a camera to me. When I finally got my new Nikon D60, I immediately began shooting any and everything I could find. The first port we visited when I got my camera was Lisbon, Portugal. It was great! Evan and I began a huge photowalk all over the city of Lisbon. I was excited to see what I had documented. After a little practice and frustration, I was determined to use this camera in manual mode during the whole visit. Lisbon is a beautiful and bright place. I had no idea of how to handle the bright daylight, but I continued to shoot and have fun with my new camera. When I returned to the ship for the night, I was in a hurry to view what I had captured on my HP laptop (yes, there was a time before Apple entered my life...lol). I was shocked at the results I got. My images were either blown-out (too much light) or underexposed. What was I doing wrong?
Research and Determination
This is the point in my photographic journey where I started my R&D. No... not research and development, but research and determination. I was determined to figure out how to use this camera. I had the luxury of being on night shift, so I had more free time than I normally would. I began with the internet. Yes, sailors have the internet to keep them occupied at sea. The internet was extremely slow; it is unbelievably slow at sea. That did not stop me. As I would wait for one page to open (sometimes 10-15 minutes), I had another tab open on the browser reading a forum. My favorite forum at this time was Digital Photography School. Due to the lack of help I got from other photographers that were at sea with me, I turned to photographers online for a lot of the knowledge I needed. Most of the photographers online were glad to help. There are some that still despise the new wave of photographers these days. The fear of other photographers taking their market was something that I did not understand at the time. Another site that I used to do my researching was Digital Photography Review. I was also able to order books from Amazon. This made my area in the shop into a mini photography school. Reading books and practicing with my camera was all I could think of doing. This worked well as a distraction from the devastating aches of missing loved ones. I had become really familiar with my camera and I knew a little about what I was doing. I just could not wrap my head around metering for light. Then, a book was recommend to me by the forum that I was constantly on. Understanding Exposure by Bryan F. Peterson was the key to me learning what I needed to know about this creative art. Peterson, along with other photographers like Joe McNally, had become my goto for information. I read blogs and books about photography. I soon learned how to pick out good blogs to read. With all of my reading and practice, I was ready to test my knowledge when I returned home from deployment. This was truly the beginning of my love for photography.
When I got home from this deployment, I wanted to show off what I had learned. The perfect models for my new found love was my brand new daughter, my son, and wife. Of course, I was extremely happy to be home. The experience of a deployment is like no other. The first chance I got, I pulled out my camera and started to shoot. After these short few years, I continued to shoot and get better. I have developed somewhat of a style, and continuing effort to improve my craft. I briefly thought that I would lose interest in photography, because I have been known to start something and forget about finishing it. Finishing photography is impossible. Photography is a long journey that will never end until I end.
Describe a never ending journey that you are very passionate about. How does your journey make you the person you are?