Photographer | Educator

Daniel J Gregory

I wasn’t one of those kids who knew that they wanted to be. Every day I wanted to be something different from an astronaut to fire fighting to dog trainer, my imagination of what to be seemed never-ending. Eventually as I got older, I realized I had a knack for working with computers, so I turned that into a first career. As much as I liked working with hardware and software, my heart was never really connected to my work. 

I have had cameras since I was a little kid, and as an adult, I found magic behind the lens. The camera changed my being. I was more present, thoughtful, and connected to the world. So when the opportunity presented itself. I patted that kid on the back for the inspiration and went for a big change. I decided to embrace who I am and started my life in photography. 

I have always loved being behind the camera, and I love seeing that same love and magic happen in others. I also believe that we are not islands in an ocean but part of a connected community. Being a part of a community and wanting to help other lead me to become a teacher and mentor as well as a photographer. Helping others tell their stories, sharing their experiences, and seeing them connect to what matters is in many ways better than any photograph I have ever made. 

I am fortunate to have a fantastic partner—Lori. Lori is an herbalist and runs an herbal company called Ritual Mischief. We live on the magical and artistic Whidbey Island just north of Seattle, Washington, where we run our studios. Our little spot of the world is called Silly Dog Studios, after our silly dogs Eva and Cora. Our two cats, Joe and Batman, run the place, so they don’t mind the dogs getting credit for the studio spaces. 

I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, an accredited photograpy school, in Seattle. You can find my classes on CreativeLive, KelbyOne, and various in-person and online conferences and workshops. 

You can also find me hosting my weekly podcast called The Perceptive Photographerwhich focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer. 

My current work focuses on our relationships to time and place, attempting to understand how we connect in meaningful ways to places and people of importance. 

Random Facts about me and the planet

The circumference of the earth is 24,901.461 mi. There are no full-scale models of the earth.

Pennies made after 1982 are 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.

Desert Island Foods :Handmade flour tortillas, Thai food, Apple Pie, Pear Pie, Peach Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie, Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, did I mention pie?

Number of channels on cable TV with nothing to watch:

Camera I most love to work with: My Ebony 4×5* Nikon Z 9 & Z 7, Deardorff 8×10*

* those are film cameras-yeah I said film. 

Favorite time of day to shoot: Night, love the artificial light and shadows

Cool Recent Accomplishment: Built Lori an herbal studio for her Ritual Mischief.

Workshops and teaching

Most photography workshops I attended when I got started in photography went one of two ways. The first was some photographer standing on stage telling me how amazing they were and how cool it was to travel to exciting and exotic locations. I never learned anything.

The second was “hands-on.” This meant we got to take pictures, but the instructor did all the work. They set up the lights and told us where to stand and what settings to use. I never learned anything. And, after walking out of a very expensive workshop three-day workshop after 2 hours, frustrated beyond belief I thought there must be a better way.

Luckily, I found a third type of instructor. One who asked questions pushed and pulled on me to sort out what worked and didn’t work. They let me experiment and, along the way, provided me with support, information and help. Those are the workshops I loved. That is who I wanted to be in my teaching.

When I am teaching, I only have one goal. I want you to make the images that matter to you. Not my images, but your images. I view my job as creating a safe space where you can try new things, fail, try again, and ultimately succeed. I like to ask a lot of questions and make you talk about your work. By sharing what we are thinking and doing, I have learned that we become better photographers.

Being able to articulate who we are, say what matters to us, and how those ideas appear in our images makes us successful photographers. It doesn’t matter if you take a Lightroom class, print class, or travel the backroads on a travel workshop with me; I want you to be your best you and make your best images. I hope that you can attend one of my classes or workshops one day, and we can see what sort of magic happens behind the lens.