Flickr, Podcast, TL;DR, Parents, Digitizing Project, Bio
Welcome, wanderers! This complements my When You Grow Up Podcast and About page on Flickr. My subpages here describe my photo gear, workflow, and themes, my career in IT (IS, MIS), my educational background, and my politics and perspectives on social media,
In 2022, I plan to optimize the photo pages on this site and create new themed albums. I have ~40K photos on my site. Although my Flickr only include ~10% of my public photos, it is more responsive.
The remaining narrative takes ~10 minutes to read, not including the time to read and/or view the content on my subpages or the content via the external links I’ve embedded.
I'm going to start by narrative by recognizing mom and dad [photo]. Both of them moved to the Territory of Alaska [photo] in the 1940s, when they were teenagers. They were salt of the earth people, honest, caring, hardworking, excellent parents, and outstanding community role models. I'll share more about their lives at a later date. I miss both of them very much.
Before my mom became ill in 2010, I promised her I would continue her family genealogy and archival work. My first step was to collect, organize and digitize her [photos], films and videos to share with family members. I completed these activities in October 2021. Later, I plan to digitize my parent’s birth announcements, handwritten (love) letters, articles of appreciation, drawings, and so forth.
After spending hundreds of hours to date, I can say that my (retirement) project has been a labor of love so far! So many discoveries and memories...
After I’m done digitizing my parent’s artifacts, I plan to store the physical items properly. I'm using Margo Note's Creating Family Archives book for overall guidance in my work. It’s a great resource.
Organizing and archiving come natural to me. My mom said I was a tidy boy [photo]. I’ve always liked putting things in order and in their proper place. My office and shop are my happy spaces. I have systems for my systems. Fortunately, organizing and archiving were traits that were also useful to me in my career.
Another step in my family genealogy project is to document some of my life story to share with my children and grandchildren [photo]. This narrative is my start. It will be ongoing, as time permits and I discover more to share. I’m encouraging my wife to do the same. She and her siblings have very interesting backgrounds and many stories to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
I've chunked the first half of my remaining text below into life-stage sections, of varying lengths. My narrative is generally framed by photography, so I reference the camera(s) I was using at the time.
I'm not a professional writer, so please forgive any disjointed narrative or incorrect grammar you see. I might subscribe to a grammar checking service later. If I do, I'll carefully review the company's policy on privacy and security. I explain on my politics and social media page.
Because of a limitation in the product I'm using for this website, I can't add a table of contents with internal links to the section headers (in red font) on the page. Consequently, you'll need to skim/scroll through.
The date when this page was last updated is on the bottom, along with a recent snapshot of me and my wife when we were in Fairbanks, AK.
My photos that I link to typically include descriptive text, for additional context. Some of my photos on Flickr are restricted to friends and/or family-only viewing. All of the photos on my website are public.
1955-1980: Alaska Grown, EAHS, UAF, TAPS, USA Road Trip
Now, on to my life story. I was born in Anchorage [photo] and spent my youth and years as a young adult in Alaska. Alaska was and will always be a special place to me. I enjoy returning to visit family and friends.
My parents lived in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Valdez in their teens, 20s and early 30s. After the Great Alaska (Good Friday) Earthquake [photo] in 1964, our family moved from our house in Valdez to temporary housing in Copper Center.
In December 1965, after the cabin [photo] we were living in near the Copper Center Lodge was flooded and froze during a stretch of -65 below zero [photo], our family moved into a Red Cross trailer in Glennallen. Several months later, we moved into a new double-wide trailer [photo] in Copper Center, where we remained until we moved to Anchorage in 1970.
My mom described our family’s experience during the 1964 earthquake in the book The Days the Trees Bent to the Ground. She mentions the Copper Center flood at the end of the chapter.
Now, I'll begin framing my narrative with photography. My first experience taking photos was with a single-use (disposable) camera on a bicycle trip from Copper Center to Valdez in 1972 with a good friend from high school. Our ride down Thompson Pass in the rain and fog was a memorable experience.
My next experience with a single-use camera was in 1973, when my friend from high school and I completed a 1K+ miles bicycle trip from Calgary to Seattle. I recall riding over the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park was challenging, especially without granny gears. Young men, we were. Our bicycle trips were the start of many outdoor adventures in Alaska over a fifteen-year period.
My next camera was a 110 film cartridge camera. I used this camera in 1975 when I took a semester break from my studies at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks [photo] and worked as a Teamster 959 driver/fueler on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) project [photo, video]. As I moved with the construction crews and equipment from Franklin Bluffs (south of Prudhoe Bay) in August to Atigun Pass in December, I took a few snapshots from the haul road.
When I digitize my family’s prints this winter, I plan to include the ones I took with my single-use and 110 cameras. I've only been able to find 15 prints so far, but I'm hopeful I'll find more in my storage boxes.
My first “real” camera was a 35mm Konica Autoreflex TC SLR. My mom gifted the camera to me when I graduated from UAF in 1978. I bought a Vivitar 70-210mm telephoto lens shortly after.
I used my camera and telephoto to capture what I saw on a solo four-month 21K mile road trip (literally) around the USA and Canada that same year. During my trip, I took 966 photos (35mm slides).
In July 2021, I digitized my slides and posted some on Flickr [photos]. I enjoyed seeing Canada and the USA again through my 23-year-old eyes. I had not looked at my slides for 40+ years. During my trip, I camped in the back of my new Toyota SR5 pickup [photo].
In a nod to my children and especially my grandchildren who might read this later. I never did the math to calculate what my carbon debt was from my pipeline work + road trip in the 1970s. As I grew older and scientists came to better understand climate change, however, I strived to be more responsible.
1980-1985: OSU, UO, AWS
In 1980, after a short-lived stint in the hospitality industry in Alaska, I decided to explore other career options. After faithfully completing all the exercises in the book What Color is Your Parachute, I learned I was better suited for a left-brain career. That led me to move from Alaska to Oregon and then take steps to return to school.
After working in Portland at the Benson Hotel for six months, I moved to Corvallis and completed two terms in the Industrial Engineering program at Oregon State University (OSU). In 1981, I decided to switch to Computer Science and transfer to the University of Oregon (UO). Eugene was a good place for me to be 20-something.
I graduated from UO in 1983, moved back to Anchorage, and took a job as a programmer at Alascom, a long-distance telephone company. Several months later, my EAHS friend prompted me to enroll in the Alaska Wilderness Studies (AWS) program at the University of Alaska in Anchorage (UAA). AWS was similar to the Mazamas organization; safety, education, and respect were promoted. Peak-bagging was not.
Circling back to photography. Since my 1978 Konica and telephoto were heavy and not well suited for my backcountry AWS trips, I purchased a compact Olympus XA 35mm Rangefinder. I found the Rangefinder was bombproof, to use a mountaineering term, during our harsh Alaska weather conditions.
I also have many fond memories with the Rangefinder: my girlfriend, now wife [photo], our friends, our backcountry trips and climbs, and our bring-your-own-slides shows. Social media had a different meaning then. We met in real life, insta and selfie were not words, and influencer was not a job title.
In 2021, after I digitize my Alaska 35mm outdoor trips slides [photo], I plan to post some on Flickr. I’m eager to see my trips again through my much younger man’s eyes [photo]. My trips included treks in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Gates of the Arctic, and Denali National Park, climbs in the Alaska Range, Chugach Mountains, Talkeetna Mountains, Kenai Mountains and Seward Peninsula Mountains, and an ocean kayaking trip in the Prince William Sound.
1985-2000: Marriage, Children, Relocations
Shortly after my wife and I got married in 1985, my employer relocated us from Anchorage to Portland. Once we got settled in our new (1931) house where we still live, we spent the next fifteen years raising our family, helping out at our children's schools, being good neighbors, fixing and improving our old house, and advancing in our careers.
In 1998, my wife and I took temporary job rotations and moved our family from Portland to Monroe, LA. For the next year, we enjoyed our time and the experiences we had living in the South.
As our three children grew up, like many parents, we took many family photos and videos. My daughter previously digitized ~4K of our prints. I plan to digitize the remaining (found Louisiana) prints this year.
I contracted the digitizing of our family's analog videos, as I did with my mom's films and videos.
2000-2010: Digital Age, Bicycling
In 2001, we purchased our first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot S100. I appreciated the savings in film costs, but I missed waiting to see the results. I used the PowerShot to take many family photos, including photos on a trip with my mom to England in 2002. It was my first trip abroad and a wonderful experience. We enjoyed exploring London and the Cumbria region, where my mom’s family is originally from.
I also used the PowerShot to take photos of bicycle trips with my children [photo] and extended bicycle rides with friends. Bicycling was a big part of my life for many years. When I lived in Oregon in the early 80s, I explored Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene by bicycle. The Peugeot I rode was the same bicycle I used on my trip from Calgary to Seattle in 1972.
From 2000 to 2010, I commuted year-round by bicycle [photo] to my workplace in downtown Portland. My round-trip ride was 10 miles. I used my wife's bike [photo] because I found it was better suited for city riding than my road bike. Over time, like my Peugeot before, I swapped out many of the components. Other than the frame, forks, headset and handlebars, it's now a Bianchi in name only. My wife plans to purchase a new bike. When she does, I'm looking forward to joining her on rides. Look out for us in the seniors/slow lane :)
Back to photography. In 2008, my wife purchased our next digital camera, a Panasonic DMC-TZ5. I used this camera when I started photoblogging my walks.
2010-2021: Photoblogging, Retirement, Move, Expats?
In 2010, when my mom started to become ill, I decided to leave my job in downtown Portland and switch to a contract position at a workplace closer to our house. My move prompted me to begin commuting year-round on foot, which I did for three years. I recognized this was (is) a privilege. My round-trip walk was 5-7 miles. It would vary depending on the routes I took.
As I began to see unique scenes and changes along my routes, I decided to start photoblogging my work walks. This helped me practice and improve my photography skills.
When my weekday work walks led to longer weekend walks, I started photoblogging those walks as well. I've continued this practice to this day. In the Portland metro region, I've explored Portland proper, Gresham, Sellwood, Milwaukie, Tigard, Beaverton, St Johns, Hillsboro, and Vancouver.
My walks are often rambles without a purpose or a destination. I stopped counting my steps years ago. I've never had an ambition to walk every street or stick pins in a map. I'm always vigilant at intersection crossings.
Each of my 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019 walks on Flickr are in individual albums [photos]. On my site, I also have individual albums for my 2018 and 2017 walks. The albums on Flickr and my site are in reverse-chronological order. The photos in each album are in chronological order.
The structure of the albums enable you to take virtual walks. Years ago, I fondly remember having long-distance phone conversations with my mom as we “walked” together. Mapping services today also let you take virtual walks, but I don't track your steps or sell your data...
I also don't geotag my photowalks, for privacy purposes, so look for the photos of signs and signposts I took along the way.
I have a ‘2022 Walks & Hikes in OR (Ongoing)’ album on Flickr if you want to browse from January to the present. I have similar ‘20XX Walks & Hikes in...’ albums for earlier years. I'm still updating these albums.
I frequently add reference links to my photo descriptions on Flickr. I like to learn more of what I captured and also share for context. In Flickr, right-click to open the link on a new web page. The links are not active on my site.
In September 2020, I retired after working in IT for 40 years. It was a good ride, as the saying goes. My wife and I expect we will downsize and move out of Portland proper to be closer to other family members. We're also considering becoming expats for a while. That's a discussion for another time and forum.
If you've made it this far in my very long narrative, thanks for reading and I hope our paths will cross in the future! If you have any comments, questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact me.
- Mark McClure
Last updated: 1/9/2021