My name is Don Giannatti, and I am glad you came by.
I have been a photographer, designer, writer and teacher for over 40 years. I have also worked in a warehouse, owned my own ad agency, been a security guard, occupied the CEO chair, mowed lawns, washed dishes, driven a truck, unloaded trucks, and gone to school. Many of those were at the same time.
Being a photographer, a commercial photographer, I spent long hours in the studio perfecting the lighting on products and people and creating thousands of images that no one really cares to see today.
“Hey, check out this awesome lamp shot I did for JC Penney back in ’92… “
Two years ago this past August (2015) I had a very scary moment in my life. I began to not be able to breathe very well and my leg began to swell. When they got me to the hospital, the doctors on call told me that I was probably not gonna see the next day and to call my family. I’d had two big Pulmonary Embolisms and had a blood clot in my leg. It would no doubt throw another clot at my heart and those are usually fatal.
I told them I wasn’t going to die – I had some shit that needed to be done.
The next 48 hours were some of the most frightening hours of my life. They talked about several different procedures but all of them ended with a very high probability that I would die.
Finally we settled on a new and very exciting form of vascular surgery and within 5 hours, I was ‘good to go’. There was no damage to the heart as far as they could tell.
I thought all was good, but the damage to circulation had left its mark. Working was much harder to do because standing in one spot for more than a minute created cramps and a deep pain. My studio work suffered a bit and within a few months I decided to wrap that part of my photography up and be more involved in outside and location work.
I am now teaching and mentoring photographers as well as designing and shooting for a select clientele. My unique experience of being both a photographer and a Creative Director for a large ad agency gives me some perspective on sitting on both sides of the creative market.
Once upon a time – when I was 14 years old – I rode a motorcycle. I loved my bikes… rode them for 11 years. I sold my last bike, a Honda 750 Chopper with extended forks and ape hanger handlebars, when I was 25 and have not ridden since.
Well, not physically, but mentally I have never left the seat. Riding was one of the most incredible feelings I have ever had.
And now, at the age of retirement (I will turn 67 on the ride somewhere in the Yukon area I believe) I have decided to ride again. Damn the leg, damn the meds… I am getting back on a bike and riding again.
Why I decided to go to Alaska… hell, I don’t know. It seems to me to be one of the last great quiet places. Space and nature and two lane blacktop is all I want. Along the way I will be making photographs, meeting people and writing. Will there be a book? Of course there will be a book… heh.
All in all I am equal parts excited and terrified about this idea. And that is as it should be.
This will be the trip of a lifetime for me, and the planning will be as rigorous as the ride. I imagine.
I do not have a motorcycle license at this time. Nor do I own a motorcycle, tent, sleeping bag, satellite phone, compass or really warm gloves. This will be a journey of preparedness as well as a journey of miles.
(I now have a motorcycle license, motorcycle, and a batch of camping gear… although it is mostly still boxed. Heh.)
I am happy to ride along with anyone who wants to join me, but you have to remember that my schedule will be my own. I am not going to be on any timeframe, although I estimate I will be on the adventure for about 36 days. More if the light is just right down in the valley and I must get that shot… no matter my ‘schedule’.
Come along and ride with me if you wish. I will have a signup for a newsletter (no, I am not going to try to sell you anything…) and if you want to be kept up to date on the preparation for this run, that would be a great way.
If you are a sponsor and would like to talk, let me know. I am always open to that sorta thing… heh.
Other places you can find me on the web:
Lighting Essentials (my flagship site for photographers)
Don Giannatti Photography (my professional photography site)
Books I have written are on Amazon.
The mentorship group I lead is at 2015 Project 52 Pros
Send me some mail from the CONTACT page.