Rusted Rivet - Enfield, NH
Who is Dave Mengle?
I have been involved in photography in one way or another since about the age of 15... which means most of my life now. My interest in photography began during high school when I started taking photos of my friends (between my own events) running and jumping at track meets. At the time I'd use any camera I could get my hands on ... usually an older Kodak that belonged to my parents.
I'd shoot rolls and rolls of what unfortunately most of the time turned out to be out-of-focus or blurred-action Kodachrome slides. But occasionally I'd get a good one and the excitement of freezing that "perfect moment in time" quickly became addicting... kindling what would later become my passion for shooting sports of all kinds.
The summer I graduated from high school... I got a part-time job and used most of my paycheck for the next year to purchase a Minolta XK and a couple of telephoto lenses. The camera was state of the art... even if my skills weren't. Photography had now become a serious hobby and I took my camera everywhere.
Fast forward a couple years and I was beginning to turn that hobby into a career thanks to the help and support of two local newspaper photographers... Dick Brown and Bill Wallace. These were the guys I used to see shooting at those high school track meets and with them as mentors I started working as a stringer for the Associated Press, UPI and both the local papers. Toward the end of my editorial career I also was also shooting the occasional assignment for Sports Illustrated as well as other national publications.
After about 5 years of shooting news and sports... gaining tons of valuable experience working under deadlines and challenging conditions... I began working for Penn State as a staff photographer. Working at Penn State was both interesting and challenging. I needed to be able to wear many different "hats". While most photographers have specialties that they are very good at (and try to stick to them)... I had to be a generalist. Good at everything.
Everyday was different and in just one day I might need to be a product photographer working in the studio in the morning... a sports photographer in the afternoon and then cover a black-tie fundraising event later that evening. Whew!
But I had the opportunity to meet and work with many great people including, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President's Bush and Carter, Walter Cronkite, Franco Harris, Joe Paterno and many other famous personalities from the world's of academia, politics, sports and world affairs.
Today I'm easing my way back into photography after spending 20 years in the outdoors industry. Technically much has changed... Kodak no longer makes Tri-X, manual focus and manual exposure are a thing of the past. What used to take days to process and print in the darkroom can now be done in minutes on the computer and in broad daylight.
But the essentials remain the same. Good photos are a result of being in the right place at the right time, having a good eye, decent technical skills and no small amount of good luck.