I am a native of Michigan and settled in Houston, Texas with my wife and small son many years ago. I have always had a special love for Photography since spending time in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. At that time, my equipment was rather primitive and meager by today’s standards as I had only an old Kodak Instamatic 104 camera. I well remember how frustrated I was with the less than perfect results of using an inexpensive camera system that offered no user settings such as time, aperture, and f-stop. Perhaps this is what ultimately formed my taste for print quality and high bresolution that lead eventually to medium format photography with the use of a 6x7 Mamiya RZ system. However and despite severe technical limitations of the Kodak Instamatic camera, I was truly inspired by the rural German landscape and became a relentless photographic convert. In 1977, I went on to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Michigan School of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. It was there that I learned both the technical and expressive aspects of photography. I studied under Prof. Emeritus Phil Davis, a noted educator and author of “Beyond The Zone System”, taking a variety of technical course work such as Sensitometry, The Zone System and, Photographic Old Processes as well as creative studies. During this period, I worked primarily in black & white media using both 35mm and 4x5-view camera formats and did my own darkroom processing. I remember how frustrating it was to often spend a day in the darkroom, laboring over achieving ‘the perfect print’, only to find the 12-hour effort a temporary failure. It was under Davis, an exacting technical expert, that my appreciation for print quality was greatly enhanced. Photography, for me over the last 45 years, has simply been an effort to personally and creatively express the wonder of my natural surroundings. In essence: not something that I have relied upon as a profession but rather an endeavor to keep my art free from the fetters and dictates of monetary demands of a career.
I entered the digital world of photography in 2006 with the purchase of my first DSLR camera – a Nikon D200 – and have since started using a D300 system. My Nikon lenses consist of a 17-55mm f/2.8G ED DX, 70-200 f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S, 105mm Macro f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S, and a Nikon TC-14E Teleconverter. I use a Gitzu GT CF6X carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead. Finally: my flash unit consists of a Nikon SB-800. For post processing, I use Photoshop CS4 with Topaz filters and Photomatics HDR software.
My favorite subjects are rustic landscapes, nature, and architectural ruins and, of course, a beautiful young granddaughter who loves to pose for "pa-pa". I have made photographic trips to England, Scotland, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, and Texas. Some of my favorite photographers are Art Wolfe, Berthold Steinhilber, Jim Zuckerman, Marc Adamus, John Shaw, and William Neill.
Finally: Photography, for me, is a continual learning process on an endless road that always strives toward the ultimate goal of personal perfection. I’ve not yet reached that elusive goal but I continue to press on toward it – 45 years later.
Dale H. Leach