Photographer Ron Burns
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On this page you can see who I am, and where I came from. It’s a little longer than most About Pages as I have done a lot since being born in Alabama in the early 40’s. I’ll bullet the highlights so you can read the parts of interest to you.

I do think my varied experiences help me relate to people and find common ground so they can forget they’re in front of a camera. That, after all is what I must accomplish to get good photo. I tell it this way; if someone tells you a joke you don’t find humor in, and you force a smile to be polite, it’s going to look different than if you thought it was really funny and laughed or smiled. The subconscious does a much better job with our facial expressions than our conscious does, so I try to put it in charge.

Photography

With a passion for both racing and photography, photography came to the forefront when father time finally caught up to my driving ability. I had played around with the early digital cameras in the mid to late 90’s. At the time, any film camera was better than the top digitals of the time. I found myself going more into what is called “medium format” cameras as the image area is many times that of 35mm cameras.

In the late 90’s Canon and Nikon were putting out some decent digital cameras if print size was held to 5x8 and below. Once the quality came up to par with 35mm cameras it was like a snowball and soon they were challenging the medium format systems. At this time I have 2 digital systems, a Canon 5D MK 4, and a Hasselblad H5D 40. For handheld and action the Canon works best, but I prefer the Hasselblad for studio work, especially with strobes.

To hone my photography skills, I attended Chandler Gilbert Community College, Arizona State University, and studied with Peter Hurley, arguably the best Headshot Photographer today, both at his studio in New York City and San Francisco.

For the last couple of years I’ve concentrated on one-on-one portraits and headshots. When taking Headshots or Portraits for Businesses, I will expand my services to include documentation for the business, both for web and print.

I find the interaction with people more and more rewarding as my directing techniques progress. I ask for the opportunity to be your Photographer, I’m sure you’ll love the results.

Growing Up

As mentioned earlier, I was born in Alabama, but I grew up in Southern Cal.

I remember taking the family Kodak to school in the 4th grade to take a photo of my girlfriend. That was the first time I can remember having someone pose in front of my camera. I would like to tell you the results were good, but actually I was disappointed, the photo just didn’t do her justice. An early lesson that it takes more than just aiming the camera and pushing the button.

Living in the San Fernando Valley was a treat for gear-heads in the early 60’s. I was always a little on the heavy side and most of my friends could outrun me in a foot race. I guess that’s why when I got my first car, I realized that even a chubby guy could go fast…and I loved it. Soon I was at the local drag strips Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.

During a move from North Hollywood to Las Vegas I lost most of my early photos. The few I have I owe to my mom for keeping a few and turning them over to me once I settled down.

The Marines

While in Las Vegas, my brother turned 21. He immediately applied at most of the Casinos downtown and was hired. So there I was in Vegas with my older brother at the Mint during the day and going to school at night to learn how to deal craps.

I decided to join the Marine Corps and returned to North Hollywood to get the job done.¬†After basic training I was offered and accepted Sea Duty. After 6 more weeks of Sea Duty training I was stationed aboard the USS Constellation. Duties aboard a carrier for a Marine are pretty good. We stood guard over the Nukes, ran the Brig, and served as Captain’s Orderly. That gave us great views of take offs and landings and I snapped up a 35mm professional camera while in Japan. It was a passion and hobby for the rest of the century.

Business

I usually owned my own businesses. From age 10 with a Lemonade stand, to cutting neighborhood lawns from 14-15, I just seemed to do better working for my self.

My first adult business was an automotive repair shop in Las Vegas (before the Marines). My cousin managed a hot-rod car lot and the owner set me up with a shop to keep their cars running and warranty work on their sold cars. It was a good fit for a while, but when my brother went to work at the Mint it left me short handed and I returned to North Hollywood and joined the Marines.

After the service I moved to Phoenix Arizona and learned to install carpet, it wasn’t long before I had my own carpet company. When things didn’t work out as expected, I went to work for a new VW store, first in sales, then in the service department. Soon I found myself as the service manager of the local Datsun (now Nissan) dealer (they were faster).

Then, there was a lawn service, a Trailer manufacturing company, a wine and cheese store, an automotive repair and machine shop, and a couple of sun glass stores. In the early 80’s I had owned over 30 businesses. That’s when I entered into the body repair business. I seemed to find something I enjoyed and stayed with it until I semi-retired at the end of 2000. Over the span of 20 years I owned and operated 8 Body Shops. The size of the shops increased in size with the last one being 35,000 square feet. With the success of the Body Shops came the freedom to explore my hobbies, with racing and photography always at the top.

Racing

Racing was in my blood. From the time I could see over the steering wheel I wanted to drive. At 14 I got my first ticket for speeding. Sometime around age 17 I learned to pay more attention to speed limits and avoided too many more.

I was into any form of racing I could afford to get involved in. Once married in early 1970, my racing took a back seat (financially) to raising a family. Racing when I could, selling the car when needed. From the streets and drag strips of the San Fernando Valley, to being invited by NASCAR to race in the 1998 Coca Cola 500 in Motegi Japan, I reached levels I’d only dreamt of. Racing was always a hobby, although I did compete in professional events from 1992 through 1999, it was never a business, but it sure was fun!

Ron with Peter Hurley, NYC
Ron Burns wedding with Trudy
Ron Burns and Trudy
Ron Burns at USMC Graduation
Sea School group photo
AllTruck Grand opening
Driver Intro, Japan
Crew Photo, Japan