Recently I met up with professional photographer Dale Clemons now living in Middleburg, Florida; a man who redefines the meaning of "Passion", not only for his love of photography but in many walks of life.
In spite of a menacing first impression, standing over 6 feet tall, weighing 250 pounds, shaved head, goatee and massive tattoos on both arms, Clemons is a generous and kind man with only an intimidating image in wolves clothing... but make no mistake, his 18-wheeler is not the only thing he can back up.
Living an action-packed lifestyle many of us only dream about, Clemons' photography skills are just the 'tip of the iceberg' in talents and the many adventurous occupations he has experienced. You can add paratrooper, firefighter, biker, bouncer, trucker, bodyguard, EMT, scuba diver, certified computer repairman, and carpenter to his colorful resume of accomplishments.
With so many interesting and provocative professions to enjoy it would be hard to narrow down the most rewarding, but Clemons has. Trucking and photography are his top favorites and with good reason. He is good at both with almost 35 years of experience under his belt.
Clemons was born in Metter, Georgia in 1955. Fast forward 16 years and he found himself as a very young recruit in the United States Army. Full of bravado and energy he quickly became part of the elite group of the 101st Airborne Division --the "Screaming Eagles" which took him to many parts of the globe.
Shortly after leaving the military in 1975 with nothing but a restless and kindled spirit, Clemons taught himself how to drive a tractor-trailer. Armed with his strong will and determination to succeed, he sought out to discover the American dream. This career move was the beginning of a lifelong affection for photography which continues to this day.
Trucking has been very exciting for Clemons, however it hasn't always been easy. He has been shot in the leg, stabbed in a place he rather not mention, robbed in Wheeling, West Virginia, run over on a loading dock in Vegas, had a serious motorcycle accident, has broken more bones in his body than he cares to remember and has been recently diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease.
With a beautiful new bride, 7 lovely children and 11 grandchildren you won't find Clemons complaining though. He is as passionate about life as he was three and a half decades ago when he was jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and has recently purchased another new Nikon.
"Life is good, I live today like there is no tomorrow" he said as he headed off for Daytona Bike Week 2009 on his new Harley Ultra Classic with his new Nikon D80 in tow.