Here is Mount Cannon and Heaven’s Peak on a night that I thought I might be struck by lightning for my very deep catalogue of sins and wrong doings in my life. Well, I wasn’t struck by lightning so I guess it turns out I’m a good boy despite all of those jewelry heists, speeding tickets, and classes I skipped in high school.
In fact, here’s a funny little piece of info about skipping class. I’m asked every now and then about how I got into photography and I always respond with this true story: I took a 35mm B&W film photography class in high school with (to this day) two of my best friends, Mike and Ernie, in hopes it would be an easy A. I‘d never even thought twice about photography in my entire life at that point. My experience with a camera was limited to those old disposable plastic and cardboard cameras you’d use occasionally to take snapshots at a birthday party.
The semester started and we began learning about cameras, film, apertures, shutter speeds, developing film, etc. On day one my brain just said “holy shit, this is the lamest thing I’ve ever seen.” I hated it and thought it was the nerdiest thing I had ever seen (which I still kind of think if I'm honest). Knowing that our weird hippy teacher wouldn’t know the difference, I started skipping class every day under the guise of “I’m going out to take photos for our projects.” Not true. I was just going out, getting in my car (a dark blue 1987 Acura Legend), and leaving for the day to hang out with friends, smoke some jazz cigarettes, and be lazy.
Fast forward to the end of the semester and I am, of course, failing the class. I needed to get an A on the final project to even get a D and pass. So I asked my two best friends, who both had an A in the class, if I could have some of the photos they shot but were not using. They reluctantly agreed and allowed me to cheat by using their photo prints to build my final presentation. As it turned out our teacher absolutely loved “my work” and I got the A on my project that I needed. I had managed to cheat my way into passing the class.
Now as for my two friends who generously allowed me to use the photos they didn’t deem good enough to use in their own presentations… I got a better grade on that final project than they did. I was a master bullshitter and so happy to have pulled this all off. Mike and Ernie didn’t share that same joy. They’re even more upset now at the irony that I do photography as my career here some 20 years later… and they continue to let me know to this day in our group texts.