Early in my career as a freelance writer, I discovered that I could expand my range of assignments by including photos with my writing. As a result, a Leica camera and IBM Selectric typewriter quickly became companion tools.
Inheriting Dad’s Speed Graphic view camera a few years ago changed everything. I began exploring the magic of large format photography, following the footsteps of Ansel Adams and others.
Adding computers and software capabilities to traditional photography has led me to expand the scope of both digital and film formats with multiple imaging techniques. With unlimited resolution at my disposal, I can now create large-scale photographs that remain sharp at close viewing distance.
In the beginning...
Many of us discovered computers and how they worked by building one, like this early IMSAI 8080 sitting on my desk. These were, in fact, actual computers we could program. As a science writer in 1975, having a computer of my own was immensely satisfying and gave me an early view of the personal computer revolution to come.
The Bally Arcade was an early entry in the personal computer market. It was converted to a fully-programmable computer by the addition of the BASIC programming language. Bally BASIC was the first of my Computer Learning Lab series of interactive books showing people how to create games, music, and art.
Bill Gates hired me to write the manual for Microsoft BASIC. After finishing this project, I suggested that I could design typing software that would use computers to create interactive lessons, tailored to each person. Bill agreed immediately, and Microsoft Typing Tutor became the first educational software for the personal computer. I created subsequent versions of the original Typing Tutor for IBM, Tandy, Atari, and many other applications.
Stereo Panoramic Photography
My interest in extremely high-resolution photography provided images for some of the early large scale electronic display systems and led to the first use of photography for creating an immersive VR experience.
In collaboration with Dan Sandin and Tom DeFanti, I designed the CAVEcam system for capturing high definition spherical images in full stereo vision. Stereo Panoramic Photography is available from the University of California San Diego Library.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Photographer
Taliesin Winter © Dick Ainsworth and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.