Kevin Merchant Biography

Kevin Merchant with old growth cedar.

After graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, I moved to the Seattle, Washington area for employment. It was then that a seed sprouted, planted years earlier in a cross country family vacation from Alabama to Oregon. Along with visiting family in Oregon and friends (several of my father's military buddies), we drove through some of the great natural landscapes of the West - the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone of Wyoming, eastern Oregon and Crater Lake, the Pacific coast, the Redwoods of California, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Nevada, the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I had come back to a place that I had dreamed of for many years.

Shortly after moving to Washington, I took up the sport of mountain climbing. Mt. Rainier, dominant in the landscape of Seattle, called to me. I soon climbed it with friends, one of whom became my wife. At first, I thought I would climb Mt. Rainier and that would be the end of it. In the following years, climbing became more of a passion, to the point where I took a couple of climbing courses offered by the Seattle Mountaineers. My wife and the camera became constant companions in the mountains. Eventually my part time interest in photography became a full time passion.

Many years passed before this became a full time pursuit. I have been shooting since 1984, with an eye towards making it a full time occupation. In September of 2005, that time arrived.

Although I consider my photography skills to be self-taught, I would not be giving due credit to a number of people whom I have learned from along the way. In 1984 I attended a 35mm Color Photography class, at a local community college, taught by Robert Stahl. In 1994, I attended a workshop in Arches National Park led by John Shaw. I have also attended several weekend seminars taught by George Lepp, John Shaw, Galen Rowell, Pat O'Hara and Frans Lanting. Living in Seattle has afforded me several opportunities to attend Art Wolfe presentations which have always been entertaining and instructional. In the spring of 2006, I had the opportunity to spend a morning with Terry Donnelly and Mary Liz Austin photographing tulips in Skagit Valley.

In the transition from film to digital capture, my 25 year career in the world of digital electronics and software design is now coming to the forefront in my photographic and business activities. Having used a personal computer from the very early days of DOS (IBM DOS that is) has enabled me to use the computer in all aspects for both film and digital capture in the digital darkroom. I have been using Photoshop since the release of version 3 (on an Apple Macintosh). In 1998 I attended a three day Photoshop class taught by the nationally recognized Photoshop expert Ben Wilmore.

The Details:
1984 - Introduction to Color Photography, Robert Stahl
1987 - Seattle Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course
1992 - Seattle Mountaineers Intermediate Climbing Course
1994 - Great American Photography Weekend - Arches NP, John Shaw
1995 - Weekend Outdoor Photo Seminar - Seattle, George Lepp
1996 - Weekend Northwest Nature Photographers Weekend Workshop,
           Seattle, Joe VanOs, John Shaw, Pat O'Hara, Frans Lanting
1998 - Three day Photoshop Digital Mastery class - Seattle, Ben Wilmore
1998 - One Week Color Science Class - Rochester Institute of Technology
2000 - Weekend Rocky Mountain School of Photography Seminar - Seattle, Galen Rowell
2000 - Weekend Rocky Mountain School of Photography Seminar - Seattle, John Shaw

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