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I won first place in the youth category photo contest in Vacaville with a point and shoot camera. The prizes include gel pens (remember those?) McDonalds gift certificats, a Vacaville mug, an embroidered Vacaville sweatshirt and a Jelly Belly gum-ball machine along with tons of free jelly beans. On the spot, I decided I would enter the contest every year up until graduation... always with a point and shoot.
I received a Canon Digital Rebel as a graduation present from my parents with the agreement that when I went to Berkeley (or Bezerkely as they'd say), I would only take pictures of the "weirdos" and not join them... obviously I didn't hold up my end of the bargain ;-)

At summer orientation, I saw a student of smaller statue waving the giant Cal flag and decided my college goal (apart from graduating with a degree from the #1 public university) would be to wave the flag at a football game. I joined Rally Committee, learned to wave the flag, and would bring my canon rebel down to the games with me and take pictures whenever I wasn't waving to Big C.

Start of sophomore year, after having fun with my camera at field level, I thought it would be cool to photograph the game! And not just football, but all Cal sports. I found the email address of company which had the contract as official photographer of Cal Athletics and asked them if they had, or wanted to create, an internship position. I designed my own internship which included photographing every game I could possibly attend in between classes, studying, and my part-time job at the Alumni Association.

I started pursuing a professional career more and through ISI photos had some great opportunities to cover MLS and US Soccer.
When I realized I couldn't grow further under the umbrella of ISI, and not wanting to have a 2nd job to supplement a photography hobby but actually be a photographer, I started reaching out to to see what else I could cover.
Matt Cohen helped get me in to cover a rodeo and connected me to South Creek Global (which has since folded, but Matt is still killin' it as "the world's finest rodeo photographer").
Shooting for them made me realize I could connect to other spec agencies and I started working for ICON Sports Images.
Next, Kyle Terada heard that I was available for assignments outside of ISI and asked if I wanted to join US Presswire.
A few short months after joining US Presswire, they were purchased by Gannett which owned USA Today and we were rebranded as USA Today Sports Images.
All the while, I was picking up side gigs (16th birthday parties, 70th birthday parties, portraits of chefs, musicians, friends)
I covered my first wedding when a college friend asked if I would cover his sister's wedding.

I'm not sure what's next, but I'm definitely excited for it!
First Photo AwardGoing to CalWaving the FlagMy First Game Officially Photographing CalPhoto by Michael PimentelDeCal by Nathan Yan