More About August

I know International Award Winning and Published Travel and Destination Wedding Photographer is a mouthful, huh? What I believe you will find most interesting is how seemingly sporadic and unplanned this title came to be… Amazingly, it has all worked out perfectly, almost as if it were planned this way.

This site and blog are my crazy, wild, bold, daring, simply majestic and unquenchable travel stories and photographs! Everything from wrestling alligators (yes plural) to the depths of the Grand Canyon to see Havasu Falls to high in the mountains of central Mexico to see the migration of the Monarch butterflies.

Born in Germany, lived in Okinawa and all over the US (military brat).

Traveled and camped often growing up. Nothing fancy, but places like Mt. Rushmore, Philmont Scout Ranch in the middle of the Rockies, or staying with family or friends to see things like a Space Shuttle launch. By the time I graduated high school I had visited or at least traveled though half of the states in the US.

Traveled more as an adult, but again, nothing overtly fancy; once on a cruise, another to the Bahama’s. Most were long weekend trips to DC, Toronto, Niagara Falls, etc. It was NEVER enough as I seem to thirst for more travel the more I travel. I simply love meeting new people and the wonder, awe and amazement seeing and experiencing new things.

I won awards for my art and photography in high school, found myself laid-off in 2009 and decided to follow my heart and passion for photography. I moved from the cold winters of Pittsburgh, PA to the warm beaches of South Carolina. Won some more awards and yet, I still yearned for more travel. So, I spent a year saving like a madman, and hit the road for 4-5 months hop scotching all over the southern US. This trip coupled with a sprinkling of a few destination weddings and I realized that I needed to find a way to guess what? Simply travel MORE!

So far I have visited 3 continents, 5 countries, most US States, 1 Canadian province, tons of National and State Parks as well as National Monuments. Come on inside and see the world through my lenses! There are some amazing people I would like for you to meet and oh so many take your breath away photographs!

 

Still would like to read more about August T…

I grew up an Army brat, born in Bremerhaven Germany and moved frequently, including living in Okinawa, Japan. Growing up my family often hit the road to visit various sites like Mt. Rushmore, camping in the Rockies or even a summer on the road (between 7th and 8th grade where I missed the first 3 days of school in lieu of watching the space shuttle launch).

As a Boy Scout (yes, made it to Eagle Scout) my troop had a camping trip almost every weekend. We did the week-long camp, Heritage Reservation and I also made 3 cross country trips to Philmont Scout Ranch (300 square miles of pure Rocky Mountain wilderness).

As I entered adulthood, most vacations were long weekends and utilizing the standard 2 weeks vacation from work, however, I always longed for more and simply never had enough travel in my life. Well, fate stepped in and as the US economy was tanking and I was personally rather high up the proverbial ladder of success, I found myself laid-off and not sure what I was going to do with my life.

Super-uber long story short, I had always had a passion for photography as well and decided to leave the cold winters of Pittsburgh, PA for the warm beaches of South Carolina. With no camera, no customers and no website, I packed what I could fit into my Explorer and left.

Still the world of traveling more eluded me. After spending my first year in business as a photographer, I made plans for the following winter to spend 4-5 months “on the road!”

So far I have visited 3 continents, 5 countries, most US States, 1 Canadian province, tons of National Parks and Monuments:

  • Gone sky diving
  • Wrestled alligators
  • Chased after a bear who stole my food
  • Climbed mountains and repelled off of some
  • Swum with Dolphins
  • Swum with Stingrays
  • Touched a bottle of wine worth $1 Million
  • Built countless campfires
  • Hiked deep into the Grand Canyon to see Havasu and Mooney Falls
  • Hiked deep into the mountains of Central Mexico to see the migration of the Monarch butterflies
  • Planned and coordinated 5 weddings in 5 days for Alex and Lisa of 2 People 1 Life, with no budget and all donations of time and resources.
  • Jet ski’s, parasails, kayaking, paddle boarding, spelunking
  • Bungee Jumped
  • Lived out of a backpack for approximately and accumulation of a year of my life – two months of that on dehydrated food.
  • Spent a whole week on horseback in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Participated in a Gymkhana (horse rodeo of sorts) and even won, one of the races!
  • Chased and rode in hot air balloons
  • 9th place in the Carnegie Mellon University Triathlon – my younger skinnier days
  • Have been both a Young Adult and Children’s Pastor
  • Have shot most every type of weapon – from pistols to shots guns to the less lethal paintball and airsoft guns, even have shot a few rubber bands in my day!

My Background

When I was younger I thought I might like to become a lawyer or an architect… but seriously thought becoming a cowboy would top that off in a heartbeat. I still think being a cowboy would be the coolest!

Growing up, my family did not have the funds to fuel all of the things I wanted to do, especially all of the camping trips I wanted to take with my very active Boy Scout Troop. So, I had to sell a literal ton of candy bars and hoagies, much to the dismay of my father when we packed over 250 hoagies into the car and had to drive around for hours upon hours delivering them. It was on one of these late afternoons / early evenings, that I realized the power of knocking on all of those doors. The epiphanies that if I just cut the yards vs. going up and down all of the steps to houses along with eliminating the plea bargaining and begging. There were enough people who just said yes, that if I kept moving, I would simply gain more yeses and therefore be able to fund my endeavors.

The salesman in me was born!

Simultaneously, I was being recognized for my artistic talents. Attending the Carnegie Museum’s Saturday creative art classes on a full scholarship, lead to then winning a full scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon University art classes, starting as a freshman in high school! Yeah, humbling to say the least! This lead to participating in a wider variety of art related projects and contests. This also lead me to become great friends with the best art teacher ever, Mrs. Mills!

See, I was also one of those smarter kids also. Without rambling on about those accolades, let’s just say I never could take any art classes in high school due to the schedules of all the physics, chemistry and trig classes. So, when I was asked if I would be interested in pottery or photography by Mrs. Mills, my curiosities were truly peaked by the photography. However, I knew I would never be able to afford it. Well, it turns out, there was a new program just starting and I was the only one from my high school selected.

It is here at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild where my first photograph was taken, hand developed the negatives, then hand developed the photos in a darkroom. Watching those photos come alive in those chemical baths was magical. I was never the same after those moments! I became a literal sponge from my instructors and it paid off in more ways than one. I actually ended up winning the first ever photography award at the guild.

Then I sold my first photograph! HOLD DOWN THE FORT! Or as a great friend says with much vigor, “Shut the front door!” This was 1988-89 ish and it sold for a whopping $35. I honestly couldn’t believe it was possible! As I kept learning and growing as a photographer, I also kept asking around at how you make a living as a photographer. This answer eluded me. It was explained to me that weddings are great sources of revenues, but this long list of reasons related to responsibility were listed. It was also gently suggested this was too much responsibility for an 18 year old. Ok, I can understand that… in a way… but still, how do you guys make money (asking my instructors).

This was a very interesting chapter in my life. I really thought photography was my ticket. Then, I am realizing, maybe it isn’t, well in light of taking over the world and the millions I figured I would have made by 21, so…. I also had to start paying for my film and developing it. Hrumpf… real world… real bills… prom was coming up and I was going in a LIMO come hell or high water!

Summer of ’89, minimum wage was $3.50 cents an hour. My father’s rule was simple, go to college or you are out on your own! Well, I stubbornly chose NOT to go to college. I stubbornly insisted I would pay my father back for the 2 proms I was going to and of course the limo I just had to have! We ended up with an agreement that I had the summer to pay him back and that at the end of the summer I owed him 1/3 of what it cost to run our house (it was him, my brother and I), or I was out on my own.

Turns out you could be paid $5.00 an hour as a lifeguard for the City of Pittsburgh. Sign me up!!! Well, every single paycheck was signed over to my dad until almost the end of that summer! I experienced sunburn on my belly for the first time amongst many other unique firsts! Then, the end of the summer was quickly approaching and somehow I lucked upon a lifeguard job at a fancy downtown hotel. Now, only every other paycheck was going to my dad! Man, this whole paying the bills and job thing is for the birds!

Several years later some things were changing in my life and my father passed away and I decided then was a good time to go get that degree. Through various not so smart financial choices, college did not last that long and I was out looking for a job. My girlfriend’s mom found this ad for $10 an hour and to me it really did not matter what it was doing, I needed to make some money.

This turned out to be a gig selling Cutco Cutlery for Vector Marketing. It was not $10 an hour, it was guaranteed $10 per appointment based on average sales. To be honest with you, the cutlery presentation was great! I was hooked and sold! I just knew I could sell this stuff! As it turns out, Cutco Cutlery truly is super high quality. I do not receive an endorsement from them, but I promise you this, it is worth every penny! Ok, this tangential paragraph is the beginning of what would be August T making, setting, exceeding and often completely shattering sales records.

With an insurance company I sold more than the rest of my team combined and almost doubled! With a voice over IP company, the first ever National Accounts Manager over an entire state was created because of the leads I had developed.

Life often has curve balls that come out of what seems like nowhere. At a great peak in my “career” of moving up the proverbial corporate ladder I found myself laid-off right when the US economy was tanking. Jobs… almost a laughable word still, were just not there like they used to be. Especially none that were making what I was. So, I did some soul searching and had always had this itch to make my living as a photographer! So, without a camera, customers or even a website, I packed up and moved from the frigid Pittsburgh winters to the warm beaches of South Carolina.

I jumped into the proverbial deep end with wild abandon and my first year came in second place for my wedding photography in a regional competition.

That first winter in Myrtle Beach was amazing and amazingly boring! I was literally living in a condo over-looking the beach. Well, the reason I could afford to do this is because it becomes a semi ghost town. So, this also meant very few photography appointments for weddings or families on the beach. I had NOT planned for this at all. I also went a little stir crazy. To prevent this from happening again, I planned to spend the next winter on the road.

I saved like a madman. I was more frugal than I ever knew possible. I emailed hundreds upon hundreds of festivals offering my services for next to nothing, as well as to countless missions’ organizations. I found a few takers and spent almost 5 months on the road.   What an incredible and incredibly eye opening trip!

I am still the envy of many a friend for following my dreams and passions like I do. What I think is silly, is they are so deep into the forest of their own lives that they can’t see the freedom to travel like I do is not that far out of reach.

Accomplishments:

I’m an Eagle Scout – yes, only about 1% of Boy Scouts ever make it to Eagle Scout

Broke a long list of records for my Boy Scout Troop

Who’s Who Among American High School Students

Lettered in Cross Country, Volleyball and Swim Team

Broke 100 Yard Breaststroke record my Junior Year

Multiple Top 10 finish in Cross Country races

23rd place in my age category (16 and under) for the Great Race in Pittsburgh, PA (over 10,000 runners)

One of the first 4 male cheerleaders in the City of Pittsburgh Public Schools (since the 50’s)

Photography

*99.99% of the photos on this website were taken by me or are of me. I am not much of a selfie kinda guy…  If for any reason the photo was NOT taken by me I will VERY CLEARLY indicate the photographer!

I remember taking photos with a little 110 type camera (for those old enough to remember those) while in Huntsville, AL in 2nd or 3rd grade, seeing the Space Shuttle piggy backed on a 747, taking off. Oddly, I remember the feeling of satisfaction hearing that shutter click and just knowing I was capturing something AWESOME!

In high school I kept bugging the art teacher for supplies for various contests and one day she asked me if I were interested in photography or pottery. As much as pottery always sounded cool (and still does), I was surely interested in photography. Super long story is I ended up winning the first ever award offered by the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. We learned on strictly black and white film and was probably the most pivotal thing I have ever done.

It was not until I decided to pursue my photography full time decades later, that I feel I really blossomed as a photographer.

In 2009 I moved from the cold winters of Pennsylvania to the warm beaches of South Carolina with no camera, no customers, not even a website.  Within my first year I came in 2nd place for my wedding photography in the Best of the Grand Strand competition against 42 other photographers.

The following year I came in 1st place and the list of accolades just keeps growing!  I feel tremendously blessed and immensely privileged to follow my passion, travel the world and make enough to pay the bills!

FAQ

Q: What is your favorite place?
A: I have quite a few and for various reasons. However, I think Upper Antelope Canyon just outside of Page, AZ is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Seeing the forest blanketed with literally millions upon millions of Monarch butterflies in the mountains of central Mexico, is a life changer! I think between these 2, if you were to only do, these 2, you could die happy! I could list 100 more, but you will have to read a few blog posts for those…

Q: Why haven’t you visited India/China/Russia/Brazil/etc. yet?
A: The world is an incredibly big place and there are some places I just haven’t visited yet.  I am looking forward to visiting them, that is for sure!

Q: Have you ever been in danger?
A: Not really. There was one time in the mountains of central Mexico, where this guy stopped us wanting money to pass by. I was with 3 local friends and a quasi-tour guide (great guy, but more of a migrant worker who knows the paths up to the butterflies). I was rather bothered to be honest! It was the principal! Turns out afterwards I was told that we really did not want to be on the bad side of the guy asking us for more money. Oh well, it was only like 50 dineros I think and in US dollars, like $4-5…

When you intentionally get into water where many alligators are chillen with intentions of dragging one out by his tail so you can pull some WWF moves on him, there is genuine danger, but that is chosen and calculated danger.

Another time, I did not calculate the time to hike into Havasu Falls properly. It was also my first time inside the Grand Canyon, so I was lolly gagging and taking photos non-stop and talking to anyone who passed by as they were hiking out! So, my last 90 minutes of hiking was in the dark. I almost missed the last sign to turn towards the camping area. When I say, sign, it is NOTHING like a typical highway sign you are used to. This was a small hand painted piece of wood. Then the last part, is rather rocky downhill. You can here the raging falls, but you CANNOT see them and it turns out there is nothing stopping you from simply falling over the cliffs either. YEAH, do your best to hike in the whole way with daylight!

Q: How did you know what to pack?
A: I didn’t create a detailed list. I just sort of kept track of stuff in my head. I have a camera bag with electronics and a duffle/backpack with everything else. The longer I travel, the less I worry about my gear. Now I probably couldn’t even make a list of my gear off the top of my head.

Q: How do you pay for this?
A: So, far I have paid for almost everything myself, less for the destination weddings as those trips are covered by the bride.  The money came from savings from my photography business.

Q: How long will you keep traveling?
A: I don’t know. I’ll know when I’m done.

Q: Do you get lonely?
A: Sometimes, but talking to people you meet on the road and having the internet available (which has been everywhere so far) makes it easier.

Q: How many languages do you know?
A: Just one: English. However, I know a little bit of French and Spanish but not enough to carry on a conversation.

Q: What did you do with all your stuff?
A: Most of my “stuff” I have gotten rid of over the years. It is amazing how much stuff you can let go of and NEVER MISS! The rest is sitting in storage in a friends garage. I have also learned that most people do not mind being asked to borrow something of theirs. Then there are a few closer friends who just have about every tool you could ever dream of. If they do not have it, their father does.

Q: What if I have more questions for you?

A: Oh my, feel free to email me.  Pretty simple!