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My name is David Wike and I've been shooting
photographs since my dad helped me buy my
first Canon SLR when I was 14 years old.
35+ years later I'm still at it and having a blast.
As you may have noticed from the images to the
right, my day job is a little different type of
photography than what you'll find here on the
website. I've been a news video photojournalist since
1982, shooting news, sports, documentaries, you name it, I've probably shot it. From Rose Bowls to Russian windtunnels, natural disasters to WTO
riots. I also have over 2000 flight hours shooting
from helicopters and operating our HDTV
gyrocam.
In March of 2003 our country's leaders decided to go
to war in Iraq and I volunteered to be embedded
with the 555th Combat Engineering Group based
out of Ft Lewis, Wa. Our soldiers entered through
Kuwait and after traveling north through Baghdad we ended up working mostly around Tikrit. This was
before Sadam Hussein was captured. To the
right are images showing our travels past earlier
battles, me in a crater in the middle of an air field
and in front of the Tikrit hotel where Charlie
company was tasked with taking the structure
down, as it had become a nasty perch for snipers.
For those with video interest, I was shooting with a Sony
PD-150 mini DV cam and editing on a pc laptop. We
fed each story back compressed using special Sat
phones (it took about 1 hour to feed a 1 min 30 sec
story). After a month of MRE's and no running water
it was time to come home, with a hearty respect for
our troops put in harms way, and pride that we had covered the war and told our soldiers stories for their families and loved ones back home.
The reason I mention all this war stuff is that it led me down a new creative path upon my return home. I traded in the old Canon F-1 (but kept the FTb) and purchased my first digital SLR. I'd been shooting digital point and shoots for a number of years, but spending time in a war zone puts things in a different perspective and I decided that still photography
was still my favorite creative outlet. It was time to jump back in full steam and the digital darkroom with all this crazy new technology surrounding it
facinated me. Plus the creative control from the click of the shutter
to the final beautiful archival inkjet print was exhilarating. Today I'm shooting primarily with Canon bodies and lenses and print on a Canon IPF5000 printer.
So, I made a conscious decision that this was
supposed to be fun, and told myself that I would
shoot things I enjoyed. In the beginning this included
all things automotive, railroad, flying and floating, especially tugboats. I have a bit of a thing for machines. Along the way I started collecting lighthouses. My access to an aerial platform allows me to capture our world from above and this wonderful perspective led to the forest lookouts and Mt St Helens images (when it doesn't interfere with my day job). I'm also in love with the Oregon Dunes and return there over and over for recreation and to observe the constantly changing landscape. I live near Seattle and am constantly amazed at the variety of scenes and beautiful landscapes as I travel around the incredible states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
My background in journalism is a constant influence on my final images. In fact it is a battle I wage constantly with myself. Photoshop is a powerful tool and has opened the door to so many creative avenues that one could take, but in my mind being in the right place at the precise moment is still the name of the game. At some point I will probably visit this path that Adobe has provided because the creative potential is so huge, but for now all you're going to find here is a bit of a saturation knudge and a bit of sharpening for print. As an example, one of the few composites is the night shot of the Umqua lighthouse. It is actually 3 different exposures taken within a minute of each other to capture the different levels of light, locked down on a tripod then composited in photoshop. On the other hand the night shot of the space needle during the new years fireworks party is a single exposure of 13 seconds that just happened to turn out fantastic from over a dozen shots taken that night.
I like juxtupositions and I enjoy looking a little closer at the common things around us. Bits of color and shape, tones and contrast, it doesn't take much to get me exhited. But telling a story with a single image is still a focus, a great goal I try to keep in mind, contrasting against the video I shoot each day (that rolls by at 30 frames per second). You'll find some of these stories spinkled throughout the galleries. Some of the photographs you'll find in the Rusty Trails gallery are all about now and then, contrasts and textures and a facination with railroad history.
I love to make people look twice, to find beauty in the basic and art in the commonplace. Often I'll arrive at a scene and sense something special in the light or the texture or the color. I don't always capture it but adhere to the belief that the journey and self exploration is often half the fun.
I also try to enter the local arts festivals and exhibits and
have been fortunate to have been jury selected numerous
times including the Environmental Photo Invitational
competition in 2007.
When I'm not shooting and printing photographs you'll
find me tinkering with model trains, kicking sand around at the dunes, motorcycling, kayaking, hiking, and rooting on the Cougs of WSU.
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