Camera Dads is a conversation between men about photography and fatherhood. We are two fathers who enjoy photography talk about the excitement, opportunities, and challenges that come from raising children while maintaining an interest in taking photos. Each episode will begin with a discussion of what we have been photographing, new things we have been trying, or techniques we have been experimenting with since the last episode. After that we will explore a photography topic in greater detail by explaining it, offering our opinions, and examining it from various angles. Camera Dads is not a news or technology show, and neither is it a primary source for current events or cutting-edge journalism. It would be better to think of it as a monthly meeting of the minds at a local coffee shop for dads to discuss their photographic hobbies.
Phil is a father of three and works as a software engineer in Nebraska. He has been interested in photography for more than half his life, and was one of the earliest ones to embrace the digital camera revolution back in 1998 when he bought a Game Boy Camera which was, at the time, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest digital camera. That ignited a love of digital photography that continues to this day, and it wasn’t long until he upgraded to a Kodak DC200 which was a 1-megapixel beast with a 64-megabyte memory card. (A card which Simon thought was patently ridiculous because there was no way anyone would ever need to store that many photos.) Over the years he continued exploring his fascination with photography while also dabbling in podcasting. For a while he hosted a video game podcast called Inside the Console and even had a full-fledged studio in his basement complete with microphones, a mixing board, and of course lots of old Nintendo posters on the wall. Three children later and Phil continues to keep exploring new ways to marry his love of technology with a penchant for personal expression, and still enjoys taking macro photos while also documenting his family life through still images.
Simon is a father of two young boys and works as a Teaching Support Specialist at Oklahoma State University. His history with photography is, in many ways, similar to Phil’s in that he was curious about the mechanics and art of picture-taking for decades before he got into it on a more serious level. When he was a kid his parents bought him a 110 camera and he filled several rolls of film with photos of his cats Midnight and Tigger as well as shots of his friends, family, and most of all, cousins when he and Phil and the rest of the gang would take their annual pilgrimage to a resort in northern Minnesota. After his first son was born he quickly grew frustrated with how the photos of his little boy, taken with what he thought was a decent pocket camera, were often blurry, out of focus, or poorly-lit. He also thought good photography involved some weird photon-based alchemy that was unattainable for regular people, but after buying a Nikon D200 and 50mm lens in the spring of 2012 he quickly grew to realize that it was in fact quite the opposite. He has continued to explore the art of photography through writing, blogging, and of course just getting out and taking photos of his family, his town, and anything else.
Ben, a guest on the show from time to time, is a dyed-in-the-wool engineer was born into a family full of artists, and holds a master’s degree in computer science focusing on image processing an visualization techniques. He’s been taking photos occasionally for as long as he can remember, and still owns the 110 pocket camera that he got in grade school. His photography (first film, then digital) has been documenting his online publications since the mid-1990’s. When the first of his three children was born 17 years ago, his focus shifted to documenting family life–both good and bad–and preserving those memories for generations to come, as well as using his little live-in models to create purely artistic images. His favorite photographic pursuits involve capturing engaging images of people at play, whether they be families in the back yard or athletes on the field. That pursuit has taken him to countless youth sporting events, including football, basketball, soccer, skateboarding, BMX, wrestling, and golf (but, mercifully, not baseball)–sometimes as the official team photographer. An insatiable learner, Ben is always looking for different techniques and new equipment to use in these activities. He has as soft spot for old things, and frequently uses camera lenses older than he is paired with his modern DSLRs. You can see more of his work at Prairie Rim Images.