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About the Photographer

     I was born and raised in southern California. One of four children, my mother always kept us on the move and engaged in outdoor activities trying to wear us out. The activities included hiking, skiing, camping, and going to the beach. As I got older, my love for outdoor activities continued to grow. I now also enjoy scuba diving, mountaineering, rock, and ice climbing, and traveling.

     One other activity I frequently experienced in my youth and continue to appreciate today is a love for museums and art. My family has a rich heritage of artists, including my great-grandfather, who was responsible for some of the beautiful murals found at Hearst Castle. You could say my eye for beauty, balance, and light is genetic, though I continue to study to enhance my skills.

     My first exposure to photography was in high school in the ’70s, where I learned various darkroom techniques and general photography skills. Even though the quality of gear I could afford was restricted by my income, I will always hold a fondness for my first SLR Pentax camera. Still, I must admit that I don’t miss the anxiety of dropping off a roll of film for processing and wondering for days if any of the pictures would turn out the way I hoped.

My quest for adventure, new experiences, and travel led me to join the Army and serve with 10th Special Forces Group on an A-Team as both a weapons sergeant and engineer (demo man). My assigned team specialized in maritime operations, and as such, I received training as a combat diver. These were undoubtedly some of the best memories of my adult life!  After serving several years in the Army, my beautiful wife thought I had “played” long enough and missed having me around. I never could convince her that a bivouac wasn’t just camping and that jumping out of planes wasn’t recreational sky diving. I’m sure her point of view was skewed by being left back home to hold down the fort during my frequent absences. So, I left my military career to serve in law enforcement, but not before reconnecting with photography. Before leaving, I entered an all Army photo competition by submitting a picture entitled “Der Bahnhof” of a train station I had seen while training in Germany. I was thrilled when I won the contest in my category, and that spurred me on to rekindle my love for photography. 

     Photography took on a higher purpose for me when I shifted careers and joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where I served for over thirty years. My thirst for adventure continued to drive me, and I found my perfect fit with the Emergency Services Detail, where I served as a tactical paramedic with the S.W.A.T. team. As an Emergency Services Deputy, when not involved in S.W.A.T. operations, my job included mountain and ocean rescue while serving as a flight paramedic aboard a Sikorsky Sea King helicopter. One of my favorite memories was flying with the bay door open and my feet hanging out. At the same time, soaring above the Channel Islands of the Pacific Ocean to the mountain tops at ten thousand feet.  The beauty was magnificent from that point of view.

     Now that I have retired from the Sheriff’s Department, I continue to love to climb and hike in remote locations seeking the perfect capture. I prefer to avoid areas commonly photographed and relish the hunt of finding "that" shot. When I am alone, and without distractions, I can feel the presence of God and know that he has brought me to this place at the exact time to capture the moment. I am honored to share with you the beauty of His Creation as seen through my lens.


John Grisbach

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