"One of my biggest regrets was letting the world around me dictate the direction of my decision regarding photography.

When I was a kid I saved every nickel I had to buy my first camera. I would go out and shoot pictures of wildlife and sunsets; you can say I was a regular Ansel Adams.

As I got older I started hunting, fishing and diving with family and friends. We were doing all the stuff most guys on the island do. However, it wasn’t long before I started hauling my camera along with me. Eventually my hobby of photography surpassed my other interests and I became a spectator who kept a visual record of what took place on our excursions in nature.

It seemed like the more experience I got the better I became. It wasn’t too long before I started entering and winning photography competitions, and everything was going great until I graduated high school. 

I went off to college and I guess you could say I got a little distracted. This period of time is where I started buying into what people were telling me, “You can’t make a living at this…you’ll never make it!” So I walked away from my camera.

Too many years passed by, but my cousin Dustin gave me a call and dragged me out on a shoot. I was reluctant at first. Over the years with the advent of digital photography I felt like the art of photography had been tarnished. I guess you can call me a purist at heart, but I think the art should be what you capture with the lens not what you can manipulate the image to become.

When I finally got back into the field it was like a fire was ignited inside of me. Now photography is much more than an art for me. It has become my way of unplugging from the real world and just being present in nature to record the beautiful canvases life has to offer. 

Moving forward I see myself as a freelancer. I would like to see a few of my pieces gracing the walls of galleries around the world for aficionados to appreciate. I’d like to sell enough prints that I would have the freedom to finance excursions to exotic new destinations.

I know these goals are possible. I have had photos go viral and picked up by mainstream media. I have collaborated with an author and provided the cover art for his book.

Now I’m just looking to experience all that life has to offer and hopefully I’ll be able to capture a few frames of it one exposure at a time."

Chris Hirata

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