about [etp]eterson

For a long time I have been interested in photography, basically since digital cameras were a thing, but I have always just treated taking photos as a hobby or a thing I did at an event or life moment. If I go back into my photo archive it starts in 2003 just after the birth of my daughter.

I am a technologist by upbringing and trade, and so I have always gravitated towards gear. Cameras were easy gear to acquire, and so I would often have a “better than average” DSLR in the house to capture these significant moments in life. My daughter was a great natural subject, and literally my entire collection of photos from 2003 and 2004 is of her.

Eventually her brother was born and so I had twice as many opportunities to take photos of the kids.

I kept the same bug for over a decade and then, when my kids were a little more independent, I got into cars. Initially it was with a single Porsche 944 cabriolet, but with the success of my consulting business I found that I had the means to add to my collection, and taking pictures of cars became my new, part-time hobby.

In 2014 I had this epiphany about my car collection and, sparing you the details, my wife and I ended up founding a nonprofit organization called Dream Drives for Kids. Dream Drives allowed us to use our cars to help children who were going through difficult times medically, which as a dad resonated loudly with me. The nonprofit took off and provided a great way for me to share my car collection and meet similarly minded philanthropists across the globe. One of them, Brad Forsma at I Like Giving, made a short video about our work

If you watched that video and are crying it’s cool, I cry too every time I watch it. I guess that is the power of images used to tell a story.

Encouraged by interest in Dream Drives for Kids from both the car and medical community I spent a fair amount of time working on marketing the effort and planning for it’s eventual expansion outside of Oregon and Southwest Washington. You can learn more about that work on the Dream Drives for Kids Facebook page where I chronicle our drives and broader efforts if you’re interested, but long story short I fell into this nice groove of working part-time and “doing good” with a nice little collection of cars part-time.

When the pandemic happened, I developed tinnitus, and that sort of sucked.

Lots of people say “oh, I have some ringing in my ears too” but for me it’s not like that. I have a constant 24x7x365 ringing in my ears that serves as a reminder of just how fragile our bodies and minds really are. There is no cure for tinnitus, only management, and part of my management regimen is focusing on anything but my tinnitus.

At first that was writing — I had been working on a book about collecting cars that I started publishing on Medium, and I wrote a bunch of code that I turned into a way to track the investment value and expenses for any collection of cars — but both of those projects had me sitting at a desk, inside, away from my friends and family.

In 2022 I took delivery of a pretty special Porsche, a 718 Cayman GT4 RS in a unique paint-to-sample color, and a friend who is a pretty good photographer asked if he could take some photos of it. During the shoot I took a few of my own photos and, after getting the “pro” shots, I wondered if maybe a camera would be a better distraction than writing.

So I ordered a Leica Q2, subscribed to Lightroom CC, and here we are.

The image on the left is the professionally shot and edited version, and on the right is my photo, shot on an iPhone 13 Pro. My edits aren’t perfect by any means, but what I found was that the combination of taking the actual photos plus the editing process in Lightroom is a pretty good distraction from my tinnitus, and this blog will let me document the process and keep writing.

Anyway, that’s my story.

(The last photo was taken by the very talented Sherwin Eng for Spiel magazine.)