michael on Flickr.
I took this photo of Michael and his dog in 1979. It was taken not long after I returned to civilian life after serving in the Air Force. I returned home in the fall of 1976 and immediately began looking at catalogs from colleges, universities and art schools all around the country. I already had a degree in Mechanical Engineering but after working as a graphic artist in the Air Force I decided to go back to school and get a degree in art or graphic design or photography. It took me a year to decide on a college. During that time I worked as a graphic designer and production artist. I also got involved in Boy Scouting during that time as an assistant scoutmaster. Combat training in the service, combined with years of experience hiking and exploring in the mountains provided me with capabilities well suited for teaching boys scouting skills required for merit badges like camping and hiking, and some newly created merit badges like emergency preparedness, wilderness survival and orienteering. Although backpacking wasn’t a merit badge in those days, I did a lot of backpacking with the Carolina Mountain Club and as I learned new backpacking skills in that club, I could pass my knowledge on to the boys in our troop. Michael was a member of the scout troop. Even though I moved away from that area in late 1978 to go to college, for a long time I went back once a month, fitting in a camping trip with the old crew as often as possible. One of the first classes I took in my new college career was photography. I had a new Canon AE1 and I totally got into photography, including darkroom processing. So not only did I shoot this image, but I processed and printed it as well.