name is Neil Donaldson. I have lived in California all of my life.
My interest in photography dates back to my early childhood in San
Francisco. My father owned a twin-lens reflex camera that he used
for family portraits and scenes around the Bay Area. But the camera
that I enjoyed the most was his Viewmaster® stereo camera.
Dad would spend long hours at the San Francisco Arboretum and at Golden
Gate Park shooting 3-D close-ups of flowers. He also shot the rugged
coastline between Big Sur and San
Francisco; the historic sights of the city; and the tranquility of the
Before my kindergarten year, my family moved to a home on a vineyard in
the Central Valley. As time passed, I became mature enough to
appreciate the beauty that my father had captured with his photographs.
The family would
on occasion don our special 3-D glasses and view a slide show of the
stereo images. By this time, however, Dad had put away his cameras.
Rarely did I see him with a camera in his hand after we moved from San
The first time the photography bug bit me was
a few years after I had graduated from high school. On a whim, I
bought a Pentax ME Super with 50mm lens and a flash. Soon I added a
wide angle and a telephoto zoom lens. I
shot mostly black and white film in those days because money was tight and
I could buy film in bulk; rolling and processing it myself. When I
moved to a larger apartment, I enthusiastically converted half of my
walk-in closet into a darkroom. I had a lot of fun in those early
days photographing anything and everything that caught my fancy. But
alas, I fell in love and married…and soon had children…and, of course, my
career to concentrate on. The Darkroom, along with the camera
equipment, was packed up - not to be used for serious photography for a
number of years.
years ago I rediscovered the life-affirming effects that immersing myself
in nature provided. Now, a single dad with a teen-age son and daughter, I
backpack with my kids and we find it exhilarating and a welcome relief
from the hectic pace of southern
California. Nature photography has
become a natural extension of my newfound love of everything wild. I
am passionate about getting into, experiencing, and photographing, nature.
My son caught the bug recently and now we cherish our weekends and
vacations spent photographing nature. While, my daughter likes
photography, she is much happier exploring tide pools, catching frogs,
or climbing rocks and trees.