My name is Pat Hemlepp and I’m a photo hobbyist who lives in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, and in Fort Myers, Fla. I typically spend several mornings each week in the woods of local parks, photographing birds and other wildlife. I also enjoy shooting sporting events and photographing different cities when I travel.
I began doing photography in the pre-digital, pre-autofocus, pre-Internet 1970s. I had a color darkroom in the basement of our house in our hometown, Ashland, Ky., and on occasion would shoot for the newspaper where I worked first as a sports writer, then as city editor. But I put the camera away in the 1980s after burning out from too many of those "hey can you" photo jobs — “hey can you shoot my son's Little League team," or "hey can you shoot my daughter's wedding." I reached the point where I dreaded picking up the camera.
After taking a vacation from photography for more than 20 years, I was using my daughter’s point-and-shoot digital camera to get some photos of her first college tennis match in fall 2004 (she played four years at the University of Akron) and realized how much I missed photography. After doing the “Nikon or Canon” research, I bought a Canon digital SLR, started adding lenses — the photo shows me with my Canon EF 600mm f/4L, the lens I use for wildlife and some sports photography — and have been shooting ever since.