sunspotimages.com: About Me

Portrait: Don  JohnsonI have been a serious amateur photographer since the mid-1980s. I first learned the basic elements of photographic design, composition, and equipment taking a photography course while in college, back in the “dark ages” when everything was done manually. After graduation, I pursued other important activities such as career building and raising a family, but I always maintained an avid interest in photography.

Later, I returned to the hobby of photography on a more serious basis. My wife reignited my interest in the activity after giving me a new camera one year for the holidays. Much to her chagrin, this stimulated further photography equipment purchases, but also helped me produce better images.

Over the years, I have had a number of my photographs published. In February 1997, "Popular Photography," billed as “the world’s largest imaging magazine,” selected one of my photographs for their “Your Best Shot” column. I have also produced cover photographs for "The AOPA Pilot" magazine and "Ballooning: The Journal of the Ballooning Federation of America."

I also had three of my images published in the fall 2006 issue of "Nature's Best" magazine, one of which appeared on the cover of the issue. Another photograph in the issue was selected as the top "Zoo and Aquarium" photograph of the year. The winning "Zoo and Aquarium" image, along with the cover image, were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The display ran for a solid year, ending in October 2007.

In 2010 I was the Grand Prize Winner of the Civil War Preservation Trust's annual photography contest. This image was displayed on the cover of their calendar for that year in addition to representing the month of July.

A number of my images have been published in books, periodicals, and incorporated on web sites. One of my images is currently displayed in an exhibit at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. I have been published in the Smithsonian's "Zoogoer" magazine, and in the "Photoshop Elements Techniques" magazine.

I have won a number of awards in various local and national photography competitions over the years. I am also very proud of the fact that I have sold a number of my photographs to individuals I don’t even know.

I am a former President of the Frederick Camera Clique, a photography club located in Frederick Maryland. In addition to maintaining my membership in the Frederick club, I also am an active member of the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) Photography Club, located in the Nation's capital. Additionally, I am currently a member of another photography club located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, called, appropriately enough, The Gaithersburg Camera Club. Like the Frederick Club mentioned above, I am a past President of this group.

I use Nikon equipment and I am currently exploring the world of digital photography, having recently purchased a Nikon D300 digital camera to go along with my Nikon D200 and Nikon D100, which were purchased a few years back. I love to travel and always take my camera when I go someplace new for either business or pleasure. I especially enjoy taking photographs of flowers, zoo animals, sunsets/sunrises, famous places, and producing photo abstracts using a computer. For me, photography is a life long hobby — one that I plan on enjoying until I can no longer push the shutter release button.

In the real world, I work for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an organization located in Arlington, Virginia. My family seems to think that most of the salary I earn as the Association’s Director of Market Research goes to fund my photography “addiction,” but that is not really true — or at least I think it’s not really true. Lately, I am afraid to check.

I live in Gaithersburg, Maryland with my wife. I have three grown children.

Don Johnson