Bill has lived most his life firmly planted in the “left brain”, as evidenced by undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics, a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and business careers in and around Information Technology with Hewlett-Packard and Anheuser-Busch. As a creative outlet, however, Bill bought his first camera, a Nikkormat, while in college. He dabbled with black and white photography and “messy” chemicals in his dormitory darkroom. Soon, his interest turned to capturing vivid colors using slide film.
A turning point in Bill’s life was in 1980 when he took up scuba diving at the same time (but in a different class) as his future wife, Sandy, a graphic artist and designer. The total experience of breathing underwater and suspended weightlessly in a foreign world is a whole other story. It was not long into the diving experience before Bill began capturing underwater images with a new Nikonos camera, strobe, and a variety of lenses. Part of the experience was learning that waterproof cameras…aren’t.
Bill became a scuba instructor in 1984. He married Sandy in 1985, then helped her earn scuba instructor certification. Together, they taught scuba, and Bill taught Sandy and others underwater photography. For almost twenty years, they led group adventure / diving trips throughout the Caribbean and Pacific. Following each trip Bill and Sandy edited hundreds of slides, then organized the best into a computerized two-projector slide show synchronized to music. These entertaining shows became the basis for lectures about the underwater world Bill presented to a variety of groups in the St. Louis area. His underwater images became popular, and trip participants and other diving enthusiasts purchased his prints.
For health reasons, Bill and Sandy retired from diving after their last trip in 2001. While Sandy turned her creative energy to ceramics, Bill had to relearn how to take pictures with feet firmly planted on the ground and with cameras that were not submerged in salt water. After a couple years of continuing to use slide film, Bill acquired his first digital SLR camera, the Nikon D100, which was upgraded to the D200 and finally to the D600. Bill’s darkroom is now filled with computers, scanners, and printers instead of chemicals. Finally with the merging of digital technology and photography, Bill’s left and right brains are whole.
Bill retired from Anheuser-Busch at the end of 2008 after the company’s unfortunate purchase by InBev. At the same time, Sandy graduated from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, receiving her BFA degree in Ceramics. After two more years in St. Louis engaged in contract work and taking advantage of travel opportunities with Sandy whenever possible, they moved to Cookeville, Tennessee (about halfway between Nashville and Knoxville).
Why Cookeville? “Cookeville has exceeded our expectations in every way: less traffic, great value on a wonderful house, friendly people, great university with fun sporting and cultural events, art scene, and incredible outdoor activities, perhaps our favorite being hiking to numerous waterfalls.” Both Bill and Sandy have been active in the Cookeville Camera Club, where he has served as Vice President and President of the club; wrote their website using WordPress, PHP, and MySQL; and has taught introductory photography and Adobe Lightroom courses. Bill and Sandy also volunteer their time to local charitable organizations.