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I was born into the nomadic ways of a military family in Orlando, Florida, on a crystal clear morning in December, 1954. I remember it well. Although I heard it was a particularly good year for wine, I’m still mellowing. American geography is a specific strong suit for me as I’ve lived in California, Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi, (wait a minute………. I just wanted to be sure I didn’t leave anyplace out) as well as Florida, and have visited many points between along the way. After my own military stint as an Air Force radar technician in 1978, I moved to Durham, North Carolina. As of this writing, that situation has wound up being pretty much permanent, though I do range out of the house from time to time. Having been here for over 30 years and with the many friends I’ve come to know and love here, it’s as close to home as anyplace I’ve ever known. A fella could do far worse.

Though I’ve always had an interest in photography, my early experience with form and color began with oil painting… and I was good at it. I studied after Keith Ferris, who’s likely best known for his huge and extraordinarily detailed Apollo 11 and B-17 murals in the Air and Space wing of the Smithsonian Institute. I’m grateful to have had some works hang in some fairly prominent places for quite some time. While that ability provided a good source of extra income, I eventually came to terms of the reality that so many artists face… regularly spaced meals are a good thing. So, I’ve spent the bulk of my time here as an HVAC contractor (though of late I also repair computers and operating systems, and build high-end computers to order, as well as teaching Photoshop). While I’m very thankful for the God-given ability as a skillful troubleshooter, and the subsequent meals as a result, there’s still an artistic side of me that has refused to turn loose.

My first camera was the family’s Kodak Brownie. I need to pause and interject something here for your understanding… the first one of you to ask me what that is will need to know that I will literally track you down and smack you (Selah). Just kidding! It’s actually the camera the dinosaurs used. My first real camera in terms of complexity (requiring more thought than a mere snap of a switch) was a Minolta SRT-201 with match-needle metering. It was a giant step up from dinosaur all the way to mammalian. I was finally shooting as well as the best of chimps! It was an impressive machine of which I wore the knobs off with consistent use. I know there are kindred spirits out amongst you, so lets hear it for the 201 (… and the silence is deafening! Oops, had the speakers turned down). It actually was a wonderful learning tool that allowed me to see the world in a whole new way.

I was riding down the road one day when it suddenly dawned on me exactly what the mathematical relationship was between the focal-stop and shutter speed of a camera, and it’s been on for me ever since. I also understood that the flat-field dynamics of a lens didn’t technically function like the human eye… but you could cheat to get around that issue or just use it to your advantage. All that was needed was to tie my compositional skills as a painter to my understanding of physics, and voila… the camera became a paintbrush. A little something for you to think about in terms of physics: photography is the science of recording light. But did you know that light travels at 186,000 miles per second!!!? That’s scary! Photography is a serious business, so y’all be careful out there.

My last film camera, the most expensive film camera I ever owned, was the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II medium format with enough goodies to fill a backpack (at times, that pack weighed as much as seventy pounds... I hiked trails with my tongue hanging out!). For as expensive as it was, it was quite simplistic and all manual with no autofocus and no auto shooting mode (but it did have mirror-lockup, a hyperfocal scale for each lens, and could shoot over the same piece of film multiple times, which became somewhat like film HDR for me). The film for that camera wasn't cheap either, so I learned how to make every shot count. I still shoot with that same ethic today with my digital SLR, especially with landscape photography in mind... the idea is to make a large, sharp, and clear image the way I saw it when I was there, not hundreds of pictures of the same thing to have to sort through. Understanding exposure is key.

I’m pursuing photography as a profession now, particularly in the field of landscape and architectural photography. I sell corporately and through galleries. The website is being re-thought and is forthcoming. While I love the business, I’m much happier creating images than I am selling them. That’s an attitude I need to work on. Meals, you know. I decided not to associate my own name as a brand for reasons that take far too much explanation. I’d been struggling to come up with a definitive name for my business when one of my brothers called me out of the blue, “I’m loose for a couple of days. Got anything in mind?” That was the day before the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (all eight million pounds of it!) was lowered to its new location in the attempt to save North Carolina’s most recognizable icon from an encroaching sea (1999). I called ahead for a room in Buxton and beat a path to Kinston where my brother David was working a temporary job assignment. We just did make the ferry to Occracoke Island. It was Dave’s first photographic foray with me, as well as his first visit to the Carolina coast.

The next evening, we’d settled back and relaxed in a Kinston eatery reflecting on the whirlwind tour we’d just completed of the Outer Banks. Though he clearly had enjoyed himself, Dave was thankful for the respite, “Man, I’m tired! Are all your trips like that?” “Pretty much”, I replied. “I go with a ton of gear to snap a few pictures and come back draggin’ my wagon.” It hit me what I’d just said… and Snapdraggin’ Photography stuck. The name appeals to the principle that I apply to my photography. But there is yet another principle I strive for… “Sometimes a rough and rocky road will take you to a beautiful place (from Wayne Watson’s song, A Beautiful Place).” All too often, an extra few steps of so many more has made the difference between a good image and a phenominal image! But this principle isn’t restricted to photography… it applies to life. It speaks of a stick-to-itiveness that satisfies, even when life is hard. It involves the letting go of anger and bitterness, and choosing to forgive, instead. That place of forgiveness is a beautiful place, indeed! In it, you will understand the value of letting go of the things you cannot keep, to gain what you cannot lose (thanks, Jim Elliott!). This is the beginning of seeing beauty for what it truly is. Try it and see.

Good grief, that was a lot of words! I never knew I had such a profile 'til I thought about it. If you made it this far, pin a gold star to your lapel! For what it's worth, I'll read yours (if you don't yet have one, get to work, as I'm curious to know who you are!). Please take the time to browse through my favorites... there are some great images from many talented people throughout. You won't be sorry.

Mike Kight
July 15, 2007

A Beautiful Place, by Wayne Watson (from the album, A Beautiful Place, 1993. is a video of Wayne performing this song)

If I had my way, I must admit
If I called every play of the game
I'd pray for good times, blue sky and sunshine
And I'd avoid with a passion the pain
But with every blow from an angry wind
And with every dark shadow that falls
There's a better view up around the bend
Where this puzzle makes some sense after all
Mistakes and misfortunes will come and go
To try and to fail is no disgrace
Sometimes a rough and rocky road
Will take you to a beautiful place
Is there anyone out there looking back through your faith
That can deny that your Father knows what's best
Oh but at the time and place for the life of you
You saw no reason, no good for the test
But now remembering as you watched His hand
Put the color to your black and white dreams
Maybe one more time past what you can see
Oh the trouble of the moment ain't as bad as it seems
Mistakes and misfortunes will come and go
To try and to fail is no disgrace
Sometimes a rough and rocky road
Will take you to a beautiful place
Sometimes the unspoiled beauty of the wisdom of God
Is lying there in the wilderness
Up there beyond the easy reach
Where the journey takes a little more,
just a little more faith I guess
Mistakes and misfortunes will come and go
To try and to fail is no disgrace, no!
Sometimes a rough and rocky road
Will take you to a beautiful place

Photos of snapdragginphoto (4)

  • Rosenberg's Memorial to Texas Independence Heros by maorlando - God keeps me as I lean on Him!!
  • Merry Christmas 2016 by Wretched, Saved by Grace (100% God, 0% Me)
  • O Great Redeemer by Wretched, Saved by Grace (100% God, 0% Me)
  • My House Shall be called a house of Prayer. by J316
  • South of Roan Highlands by i_am_durin
  • Hawksbill by i_am_durin
  • Carolina Rhododendron by i_am_durin
  • Hawksbill FX version by i_am_durin

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Testimonials (3)

  • view profile

    mizcaliflower says:

    "Hi Michael!
    I just want to say to you and to all who read this that you are without a doubt one of THE BEST photographers whose work I've ever seen. Here at Flickr and elsewhere. And believe me, I look at TONS of pictures! It's what I do. I say I do it to improve my style and technique, though my style never seems to change. Yet thankfully through Michael's work and words my technique is improving! I am such a creature of habit and I had a wonderful photography teacher in college who set me up. So I really look at all these pictures for the sheer pleasure of seeing beauty through the eyes of others. I have seen some truly spectacular beauty through Michael 's eyes! His images floor me every time. I can not wait to see his new postings shown on my home page as he is one of my dearest contacts.
    His fabulous work just quite literally blows my mind! He is truly an artist of film (digital). His landscapes and florals are phenomenal! Really amazing stuff! If you have not yet looked at his work you'd better get to it! You don't want to miss a single image! (He even makes steaks look good and I don't eat beef!)
    Michael has given me tips and pointers that I would not have been privy to were we not Flickr friends. Thank you so much Michael!

    ps..I got my heliopan! Now I just need to learn to use it properly!
    Annnddd... did I tell you that I think your photog name is so cool!

    I pray that you and your "darlin" and family have a very God Blessed year in 08~
    See you on the home page!

    December 26th, 2007

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    The Bugmaster says:

    "Hey, Mike!
    Mike puts a lot of thought into his photos and they turn out beautiful! His landscape photos look so good that they make you feel almost like you're there with him, just taking taking some photos and enjoying the scenery.
    He has an eye for color.
    He's also great at advice and suggestions. He's always giving helpful or encouraging comments!
    Thanks, Mike =D, you're great!"

    November 16th, 2007

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    Leefotos says:

    "Michael uses his talented eye for art to capture the beauty in things. Whether its a flower or a sunny hillside, Michael creates many wonderful picturesque moments that really seem almost dreamy."

    August 7th, 2007

Michael Kight
June 2007
The military saw fit for me not to have one.
Durham, North Carolina, United States
I am:
Male and Taken
Fine Art Landscape Photographer