De Me (About Me):
I am an Aussie and was raised in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, as well on my family's farm on the Sunshine Coast (which is about an hour north of the city). It was a wonderful place to grow up, and it's a wonder we all survived, despite all the poisonous beasties around, the rough play, and lots of homemade vehicles to crash into things with.
I have family there still, all of whom I miss and love very much... well maybe there are a couple of cousins who I'm fine being separated from by the world's biggest ocean. ;-)
When I was 18 I went to New Zealand with my sister Teena to visit our dad and basically stayed there for six years. New Zealand is an amazing country and should be on everyone's bucket list. Then at the ripe old age of 24 I moved to the U.S., which is very much home.
Funny story, I actually came to the states the same day Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Talk about great timing, being of Italian descent with olive skin and having long bushy hair sure made it fun coming through immigration and customs. :-/
A short quarter of a century later I now live in beautiful Marin County, a short drive over the Golden Gate bridge north of San Francisco, with my wife Shiloh; our two daughters, Savannah and Charlotte; and our five cats: Simon, Layla, Frankie, Firefly and Jiji.
I have a blessed life and I truly feel that! I find myself at the age of 49 with a family I love very much, a career that is perfect for me, and a passion for life. A nice thing about being 49 is that I am very comfortable with all my skills, eccentricities, and most importantly, know and like who I am.
I have had the privilege to have traveled all over the earth, met so many wonderful people, and have seen things that have changed my life and how I see myself in the world.
Life was not always good, it has had its very dark years, and I have lost many friends along the way. That is why each day that I wake up next to my beautiful wife, pat our many cats, water our garden, yell at the kids to do their homework, I see it all as this most wonderful gift of life
I have a pretty optimistic outlook on life, and as I choose to have a good day, I find that leads to a much happier life! On those occasion when life brings up challenges (especially in my career which is very customer focused), I always remember the sun will rise again tomorrow and there will be a new day.
I wasn't always into photography, although I have always been very creative and had a passion for science and tech. I pulled apart many calculators as a kid (although I didn't always get them back together). I was a Physics and Astronomy major (Astronomy is simply awe inspiring and a great way, strangely enough, to learn about oneself) and I had plans to become a teacher before a twist of fate sent me off into the world of video production. My former wife Ann (who had made a very touching documentary called "Hua Bin, Vietnamese for Peace" which chronicled a group of Vietnamese War vets going back to Vietnam and building a hospital for amputees), was preparing to start a new project that would have her traveling the world. I signed on and basically taught myself html (to create the productions website), shot a lot of the video, did sound, taught myself video editing and edited the trailer for the movie, as well being a technical consultant with the finishing editor. I ended up being the tech guy and Ann was an amazing producer who kept the money flowing.
After returning from the world journeys, I was part of several production companies as well as my own, which I continued doing for 14 years. As an independent, you have to do everything: shooting, lighting, sound, editing graphics, web design, marketing, etc., so my skill set was perfect for tackling productions that couldn't have a big team to tell the story (either through budget or location restraints). I loved it! Video is such a wonderful way to tell a story and reach someone's heart, but it takes a long time to finish a production. How many times I have asked a fellow documentarian how long it took to finish their movie, and they have said at least 10 years. I also did a lot of photography, which has a much shorter turnaround time, but video and graphic design became my bread and butter. After 14 years of working for myself, having many successes and working with many wonderful people, I had one too many struggles to get paid and that was it for me, the joy had gone and I decided I needed a change, but not sure to what. Funny enough as soon as I made that mental switch I was contacted by my current employer to attend a hiring event, and that was nearly four years ago.
I love my work, it is extremely fulfilling, but more importantly it helps take care of the everyday needs of life and gives me the freedom to enjoy photography in a way that I call "Professional Hobbyist," in that I don't seek out gigs to make money, and only work on the things I want to. I am happy to sell photographs so please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I do photography because I love it! Macro, landscapes, and, most importantly, it is how I document the lives of my family, which is a priceless legacy to pass on to our children. A great example of this is my wife Shiloh's dad, who sadly had passed before Shiloh and I had met (I really wish I could have met Shiloh's parents), had been an avid photographer and had boxes and boxes of slides. Those slides showed Shiloh and her whole family growing up in Alaska and they beautifully show her and her brother Shawn's childhood. I was able to clean the slides up, scan them into my iMac, and Photoshop them so we now have them saved. A massive project that took quite a few months, but we ended up with 700 slides saved. The photos he took have now been passed along to the rest of the family, it is such a great legacy to have.
The technical side of photography is very cool and the more a person knows about their camera and photography, the better they can take photos. But for me, it's never really about the tech or the latest gear, it's what we can do with it, and that is all about emotion. The poetic sadness tinged love we feel when seeing the photo of a passed loved one, the soul filling awe of a magnificent landscape, or the excitement of seeing a photo of a far off land and feeling that urge to go out and explore: photos are all about that which speaks to our humanity and touches us deep within.
I think you can see how much I love my photographs, and photography, and I hope you enjoy viewing my galleries.
If you would like to see some of my professional (as well as some purely fun) video work, check out my YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/battmail
I really enjoy doing panoramas: they were some of my first real attempts at what I classify as photography, and why I put this story here as an historical footnote to my About Me page. Thankfully, the tools have become so much easier to use. Below are three of my first attempts at doing panoramas. I made these way back in the year 2000, in the dark days of the internet when AOL ruled supreme and every house in the land had at least 10 AOL install CD's laying around (they made great coasters). The individual shots were taken with a Sony VX1000 video camera (the first truly portable and affordable broadcast quality camera) and pieced together using a free version of Adobe Photodeluxe that was bundled with my Mac . If I remember correctly I think each individual photo was around 600KB in file size and some pans were made up of a series of frames just grabbed from the video. For the time these panoramas were amazing and these are the actual images used on the website I was making (while on the road), for the world wide production I did with my ex-wife Ann. I milked every KB, yes that is KB, out of every image as I tried to keep all webpages to a maximum of 100KB each. As for the experience of uploading web pages using the phone systems in Nepal, Russia, parts of Africa and South and Central America, you can guess how much fun that was. Actually trying to load anything onto the internet from anywhere that was not a major American east or west coast city was a study in patience and accompanied by lots of swearing. ;-)