Below find samples of my Photographic and Computer Art. You can skip the story section, which follows, but I assure you, they are interesting stories which explain how I came to my expertise in both fields. Sadly, I recently lost thousands of images due to a flood, which prompted emergency digitizing of remaining images as backup against any future harms, and thankfully, enabling me to share with you and family.
Disclaimer and copyright notice: images herein are considered copyrighted intellectual property, but permissions to use royalty free is hereby granted provided credit is given with my name and link to this page is provided beneath the image. The digital conversion process employed for Web depiction was rather poor in quality and has caused some problems in color and contrast which do not represent the original image quality. If your need is professional in nature, inquire about obtaining a higher quality image. Some images additionally suffered damage over time, most recently due to the water.
I picked up photography in the USAF and became a professional when leaving the service. I was one of three founding members of the Professional Industrial Photographers of America, NW. Division, and President of Clackamas County Camera Club, where I won international competitions. I was a graduate of the N.Y. Institute of Photography and the Englewood Institute of Camera Repair, and designed and built an advanced 35mm SLR camera system under the name of Americamera – as other than inexpensive snap shot cameras, there was no true camera industry in America.
While never able to fund the project to fruition, it remains more advance today (some 40 years have elapsed) than most digital cameras. I was also a founding Board Member and Instructor for the Shad’o Fine Photographic Art Gallery, which catered to internationally renowned photographers. I invented darkroom and 3-D equipment modifications for which I wrote articles which appeared in various national trade magazines, and which sparked my interest in writing. Other adventures are cited with associated images.
The store catered to those famous photographers and customers like the Shah of Iran and his family. The owner of the store had used the cash flow to open a second store but was never able to get it to show a profit, and said he was going to close it. I thought it was premature, and asked if I could have 90 days to manage it to black ink, and talked him into that. In one month I had it in the black, but he decided he needed to close it anyway. Still convince it was a bad idea, I offered to buy it. At that time I only had $10K, and the price was going to be $70k for just the inventory. So I put out into the universe (call it a prayer) that if God approved, that I needed rather a lot of money to fall into my lap. I was thinking positively, having just finished Norman Vincent Peal’s The Power of Positive Thinking, and recently having converted to Christianity after fleeing the influence of a cult which would later turn out to have been a CIA mind control project (“The Two,” aka the Hale Bopp Comet suicide cult – though at the time that was not their ‘thing.’).
A regular customer came in and I excitedly explained I had the opportunity. She worked in a store on a different floor of the shopping center the store was in, and she and her boyfriend, also a regular, often dropped in for a chat, if not a purchase. She left and about an hour later, returned and said that her father, Charles Willock, inventor of the home dialysis (kidney machine) system would front the money if I would make her a silent partner 50-50, and hire her boyfriend as asst. manager. Boom! $90K in less than two hours with only casual conversation.
When purchasing that store, I also added computers, renaming it to C2E; the Camera and Computer Emporium. Why? Well, while working for the previous owner, I had become enamored with H-P programmable calculators, and over time bought one of almost every model, and wrote programs for them published in H-P’s software catalogues, some of them very popular with users. Among them was a real-time Star Trek combat simulator which included 3-D space considerations when you plotted ship and torpedo courses, and individual damage data for various ship functions. When I learned that something called do-it-yourself computers were being sold as kits, I mortgaged my house in order to jump in with both feet.
Knowing this, the store owner decided I should be in charge of choosing and setting up a computer system for the store based on current commercial products (not personal computers, which had yet to be invented beyond the kit versions). I selected a $40,000 Wang system and programmed it to run the store, after taking a programming course at Portland State University. With the money from my mortgage I ordered and built an IMSAI 8080 microcomputer and commenced enhancing it to the point that it had a digital camera and could ‘see,’ voice recognition and speech, and a robotic arm ($10K). Just as that was finished, Apple, Radio Shack, and Commodore began introducing off-the-shelf personal computers, and so I bought one of each, intending to write commercial software for all platforms.
I obtained my Apple II direct from Steve Jobs, serial number 48. Once comparing all these computers, it was clear the Apple was vastly superior to the alternatives, and my strategy changed when it was clear I had an opportunity to buy the camera store. I would bring in Apple Computers. That was a couple of years after the Apple II purchase, and by then Apple Computer was a $60M a year company, and I called to see about being a dealer, giving my name. The operator said she would connect me with “someone.” A vaguely familiar voice came on saying, “Hello, Harry… I hear you want to be a dealer?” I confirmed. “OK, your a dealer.” He sent me $24K in starter product and a dealers agreement on terms without even requiring a credit application.
In those days, the trade journals were saying that it would take a minimum of $250K to start a successful computer store and survive to the point of black ink. I paid $70K for the photography store, and had $20K leftover to bring in the computers, with ZERO reserves. It was a gutsy move but the camera store was already in the black, and I had only one computer store competitor who sold only kits, and the Radio Shack computers were available in their stores, but no one really understood them. Commodore had no dealers, and was only available by mail order. The move payed off. We grew to three and a half stores in as many years on internal cash flow, alone. Never borrowed a dime. Naturally, once the Macintosh came out, and software started providing superior desk top publishing capabilities, I was always right there, using state-of-the-art gear and applications.
In a matter of months, my partner and I would fall in love and marry, her ex boyfriend being the best man. The whole thing was rather a fairy tale story, some of it revealed here.
Photographs from my military period: 1964-1968
I was stationed at Grand Forks AFB as jet engine mechanic in charge of a Queen Bee operation serving the repair needs for three SAC bases, a first-ever installation for the new UH-1F helicopter squadrons being established in support of the Minuteman missile silos scattered across the mid-northern states. This was an important mission which involved flying status and gave me opportunities to fly not just helicopters, but also shag rides on other aircraft, often resulting in stick time. Flying a B-52 is cool, but boring, once you get over the initial thrill: you just sit there and let the thing go.
Our base was home of the 319th B-52 Bomb Wing as well as the 321st Missile Wing. I also worked on the engines for all aircraft at the base: B-52s, F-102 Voodoo interceptors, and the Houn Dog Air-to-Ground Missiles carried under the wings of B-52s, and one T-33 used as a Taxi for the Base and Wing Commanders. The Hound Dog engine was the same as used in the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, but souped up to be much more powerful. Working on that engine while it was running at full power was scary; the ground vibrated so much you felt like a quarter on the roof of a ‘boom car,’ as if your feet were skittering on the ground without firm stance.
I took up photography almost immediately, and ended up running the base photo lab for ‘public’ use by base personnel in my off hours, after the official base use for the day was ended. I started taking pictures by request and otherwise selling my own shots to pay for additional lenses and other equipment, and for the NYI of Photography course. By the time I left the service, I had turned down an offer from General Electric (maker of the T-58 engine used on the helicopter) to put me through college to get an Engineering degree, and a guaranteed post as engine designer, a very lucrative and prestigious post… because I knew I wanted to be a professional photographer.
Working in the photo lab meant that as I arrived, I met persons using the lab for official business preparing to leave. One of these was the Base Security Officer.
Working in the photo lab meant that as I arrived, I met persons using the lab for official business preparing to leave. One of these was the Base Security Officer. day, after I had control of the lab, he showed up after hours and said he had a roll of film that needed immediate processing. Said he knew I had Top Secret Clearance, and warned me not to speak of anything we might find on the film. It is a longer and more interesting story than I can detail here, but in short, the whole roll was almost entirely of this ‘aircraft,’ taken by an Officer doing some hunting on leave. What the UFO did in those pictures is what gave urgency to the roll’s processing. It involved an earthquake. We both concluded the images were real, and not faked.
I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning… and the constant roar which was the sound of freedom ensured!
Da Nang Harbor, Navy Marlin SP-5P Marlin seaplane — this was on the roll of film that was in the used Minolta SR-7 camera I purchased from a Sergeant just returning from there. Kind of a rare airplane, today.
Four Mark 28 70 kiloton nuclear bombs I discovered abandoned on their trailer on a lonely base roadside while walking to work I stayed with he bombs, making me my own nuclear power for a time… until ble to flag down a Colonel who had a radio phone in his car. We waited in his car (from whence the picture) until a tug came to get them, but anyone with a pickup truck and a bumper hitch and a tarp could have driven off the base with them. The original tug taking them to the ammo dump broke down, and they arranged for another tug, but instead of taking the bombs, they took the defective tug to service, intending to come back for the bombs. 1967
This is the first Jet Engine we mounted on our Test Cell and ran. It is so small that it and the bed it is mounted in can fit inside the exhaust duct of the F 102 Fighter Jet Engine in the background. Unfortunately, the engine disintegrated and spit flame and turbine blade parts out some fifty feet because the oil return line malfunctioned and forced oil into the combustion chamber under pressure, causing it to run away in temperatures and RPM, literally burning and chewing itself to death. As it slowly died down after all fuel and oil supply was severed, a few bits managed to end up in the tailpipe (that’s about an 18 inch wide shot).
As I was in charge of the operation and ran the engine, I thought I’d be due for some kind of ass chewing, destroying a $64,000 engine… but the Shop Chief just asked if I learned anything, and after saying yes, he simply said – good, go rebuild it and do better. In fairness, this was the very FIRST TIME anyone in the Air Force had fired one up on a test cell, and we had NO MANUAL. I had to write my own, which the Air Force subsequently adopted, after I was the only non officer participant of the Weapon System Acceptance and Evaluation team reporting to Congress to officially take delivery and responsibility for the Bell Helicopter and General Electric contracts as being fulfilled in terms of specification.
Though only having one stripe, I was suddenly a key man in the Air Force. As result, I would end up telling full-bird Colonels what to do, and would be recommended by our base General for direct promotion to Warrant Officer status, which would require an Act of Congress. In support of that, I was introduced to the Secretary of the Air Force, the General of the Air Force, and of the Strategic Air Command, and a Congressman who would write the Bill required, as the man responsible for the mission success.
We would get visiting aircraft of all manner, even to include Navy aircraft (in North Dakota?). Among them, Air Force One (empty), an SR-71, some Royal Air Force cargo planes. I shot this F-106 Delta Dart while visiting Maelstrom AFB, but we had them visit GF, as well.
My room mates and I built a stock car for racing at the local dirt track, where they also raced midgets like those shown. This gave me access to anywhere in the track, and so I took pictures from the infield at great risk to life and limb.
For our 1958 Ford, we ‘appropriated’ Aerospace Yellow paint and then I used tape and spray paint to create the Dragon. The Yellow was enamel, but the spray paints (purple, green, blue) were all acrylic. Acrylics and lacquer do not like each other, and that caused a chemical reaction which created an actual wrinkled skin look and physical texture. The Six is done in luminous paint, such that at the darkest part of the tracks it was ‘glowing.’
This car, likely because of the paint, and the fact that we only ever lost one race (where the car left the track and rolled), was a crowd favorite in our class. This picture was just after the roll , but notice no sign of any damage to the paint, which would have been personally devastating, given the hours it took me. But you can see a dark spot near the mouth where a sharp bit of car scrap metal left from some earlier crash punched a perfectly neat hole into the roof.
I will also say that shooting those races was more dangerous than racing, even when rolling the car. One like this red one lost control after impacting another car and wound up spinning inward to the infield and flipping directly at me. Had I not dove to the ground as it flew over me, I’d be ghost writing this.
With only one stripe when first assigned the position (I was the only volunteer), Sergeant May (left) was the ‘official’ person in charge of our section, but he and the rest of my 12 man team (many shown right) all reported to me and I was the one who made decisions. Even the brass followed my direction, all the way up to Colonels. Sgt. May was openly gay and especially funny about it, extremely brave given this was decades before ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ His favorite joke when anyone commented about weather being nice (rare in Grand Forks most of the year), was “It’s so nice out, I think I’ll leave it out.” The airman in the center of the football melee facing camera with sunglasses was one of the coolest persons I have ever known, loved by all. Sadly, after we both left the service and had reunited briefly, he committed suicide because his fiancé left him for someone else. You never know.
Just another day… except this is an ORT — Operational Readiness Test, a surprise drill where we launch all aircraft and make bomb runs on ‘enemy’ targets under wartime conditions. Drills start when a cargo plane carrying high ranking Officers and special teams of inspectors lands and announces upon entering the command post and observation positions, “You are at DEFCON 1.”
The picture shows the first five of over a dozen aircraft which would launch within minutes of the ‘screen.’ It is really something to see so many heavy aircraft launch at about 40 second intervals, each carrying up to 10 nuclear weapons, and roaring into the sky trailing black smoke from 8 engines. Today, their capacity is increased via cruise missiles. This was a particularly nice day for ‘war.’ Most took place in dreadful weather conditions. The day I arrived the there was 40 inches of snow and with the wind chill factor, it was claimed by my driver to be “40 degrees below freezing.” So I did the only logical thing…
My first year at Grand Forks, I bought a 1940 Ford hot rod which had an Oldsmobile V-8 engine. This I upgraded to an Olds 442 power train with 4-11 positraction rear end, Muncie 4-speed. It was a 140 mile an hour death trap. If I reved the engine and popped the clutch, I could pull the front fenders up nearly two feet. The wheels would pretty much stay on the ground, though, because of the airplane-style scissors suspension – but it scared most people away from racing challenges, and if that didn’t, the speeding ticket for 140 in a 30 mph zone, did. I drove it from North Dakota to Texas on leave from the USAF in 1966. Met this fellow in his all original version and we compared notes. This was near to where I got the ticket.
Below, me being cool in my Air Force sun glasses while someone else drives my car into town. People were always asking to drive it, and allowing them to do so made me one of the more popular persons around, in my circles. The VW bug belonged to an Airman from California (natch), and he was quite a drug peddler and user, it seems. He tried to get everyone to try this, that, and the other thing. He was finally busted at the gate trying to bring things onto the base. He was an idiot, but worth a picture.
Images from my Photographic Career: 1969 ~ 1979
After leaving the Air Force, I briefly worked in a microfiche production house doing darkroom work, and then for an arial photography service doing the same thing, but with negatives almost as large as a newspaper page — quite the contrast. Then I got the break I was looking for and became Photographic Administrator for Hyster Company, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. There, I would have a secretary and two photographers under my direction working for the Advertising and Public Relations arm of Hyster, which also had us closely working with a robust Graphics Art department, the precursor to what we know today as desktop publishing.
It was a wonderful post with lots of perks, including an expense account, access to nearly $100K worth of equipment and a studio even when off duty, and we also had a mammoth hangar sized facility with ‘white out wall’ such that the floor and walls were seamlessly white, so we could shoot large forklifts and other heavy equipment the firm manufactured and easily superimpose their image over any photographic background without a lot of photo retouching. We made our own color 16mm safety and marketing films, and used high-speed cameras for ultra slow motion films when the company did destructive testing for safety evaluations, such as roll-over tests. This was my first contact with showbiz types — producers, cinematographers, sound studios (including one that recorded Jan and Dean, the Everly Brothers, and others), and other such services, to include obtaining of music licenses and arranging for copyrights.
Most images taken while working there, stayed at Hyster, but I do have copies of a few worth sharing. Below is something whipped up with the Graphic Arts Dept. which I made into a slide for use at the end of slide shows or in-house motion pictures or videos (we had one of the first portable video systems on the market). We set up and photographed the flags to represent all the countries where Hyster was sold, and each of those flags represented a potential for international travel. As it happened, the whole brief time I was with Hyster (a bit more than a year), no such trips transpired, but I did get to travel regionally.
A new building was constructed near to the Lloyd Center, not far from the factory grounds, and the top floors would be the new Corporate Headquarters (side images). The center image was a nighttime use of Hyster compactors in paving the I-84 freeway in Portland. I had been laid off (last hired, first fired) when Hyster downsized as result of the first oil crisis (gas lines) brought on by formation of the Oil Cartels. So I took lots of photographs of the freeway upgrade and submitted them to my old boss, who, not wanting to have fired me, paid me more for the one-night’s work than a whole month of Salary. That was my first income as Free Lance Photographer, but I include it here due the Hyster aspect.
1969 Rose Festival (Portland) Queen Rhonda Anderson (Marshall High). I took this from a special platform attached to one of Hyster’s larger forklifts… which was used to actually place her INSIDE a giant rose without damaging the float (she was literally bolted to it in a standing position.) Then we used the fork lift to document, and then made it available to Local media (second image). If anyone needs photographs of the dignitaries or floats for that year, I’ve got them from on high or down low. Roughly 100 images.
Remains of this page under construction. Proceed at your own risk, hard hat suggested…
Second story was some ten years later I would partner with a fellow to create Moto Photo. We put a darkroom in the back of a box van truck and went to local motorcycle races. They would have three ‘heats’ and so, we would photograph the first race in Extachrome color slides. Extachrome was unique in that it had a two step chemical process, allowing you to stop midway and have black and white negatives, and finish processing later to produce color slides. So we processed during the second race and printed black and white ‘sample’ 8×10 enlargements, and then photographed the the last race. Between races and after, we sold the samples and took orders for slides or color prints from the slides, which we sold before any races the next weekend. We made good money and it was fun. We did that two years and then I went on to own my own camera and computer store (chain).
The partner continued and broadened his scope to cover regional and then national races of all manner, hiring more and more photographers, and eventually making millions, with customers like Paul Newman and other race teams often spending several thousands of dollars in a season… with many dozens of such teams in dozens of such kinds of races… and then selling even more images to fans. So that was the third time I came close to being a millionaire in my own right. The other two were deals that fell through at the computer store, each of which would have netted a million in profit.