It began here, from the 5th or 6th roll of film I ever let spool through a camera. I’d maybe shoot a roll of film a week, but I knew early on that I was drawn to photojournalism. So, I bought a scanner from Radio Shack, and would drive around comatose Santa Barbara in my ’65 Mustang waiting for something, anything to break loose. Desperate as a treeless squirrel, my camera, mind and soul were all for rent. Driving back home on an uneventful day, a screaming red blur of fire trucks stampeded by. So I flipped a u-turn and roared after them. It was then that I saw the black smoke; they would be the 1st engines on scene. I parked a quarter of a mile behind them, and tore off into the carbon and orange field that was now ablaze. Dante’s gatekeepers though, damn, these were efficient men, and they had reduced the flames down to a whisper of smoke and filtered light. I dropped to one knee and no I don’t recall why and snapped a handful of images into my little black box and I was done. The smoke, it oozed from every pore, up inside my nose, clinging to the back of my throat and I finally felt vibrantly alive in those brief, searing moments. Adrenalin mixed with serotonin and I was hooked and deep with a triple barb. The subtle beauty of the black and white film completely seduced me. I got back home and pulled out my little metal tins and reels and my D-76 and I went to work heating and agitating, and like the fire, burned my film, allowing sections to melt together. By grace, the 1st of many feathers fell from the sky and I was saved. I had one, my earliest image, and that would help me stay the slender course that was to come.