About the Photographer - Tom Mills
My name is Tom Mills and at an early age, I had a passion for photography.
I looked at photography programs and found that Penn State had an excellent one. I learned using Black & White techniques based on Ansel Adam's "Zone System" which honed my skills, allowing me to capture and produce a quality image.
I grew up in PA. and lived on the East coast all my life. I always had an itch to head West. After graduating in 1991, I decided it was time to bust a move. That Fall, I had a yard sale and sold everything I owned, which wasn't much. In 1987, while visiting my grandmother for Christmass, a pyro had burned down the entire block where I lived. So many folks had lost everything they owned. I had the closthes I had packed, along with my camera.
I have always loved playing in the outdoors, i.e. skiing, snowboarding, whitewater kayaking and mountain biking.
In 1991, I had landed in Park City, Utah, where I had discovered the "Greatest Snow on Earth." It didn't take long before I would fall in love with the geography of the state and the surrounding area.
I made my living working in the Ski/Snowboard and Whitewater industries.
In 1999, I acquired a medium format camera and a yellow lab puppy that I named Quest. I had no idea that he would become such a big part of my life and my idenity.
Over the next 14 years, I tried to live an "early retirement." I knew I would not be able to fully experience all of these demanding physical activiteis at an older age. Joined by a dog who just loved a good raod trip, I spent all my free time traveling. We sought out whitwater in the Spring/Summer and explored the backcountry during the Winter, photographing every step of the way. Quest was easily living up to the definiton of his name.
While showing my work, I was seeking out an alternative to the standartd frame moldings. So I started playing with making my own out of true hardwoods. My signature frames use a "half lap" cornering technique.
Sadly, the day came when I had to face the inevitable, the passing of my backcounty, traveling and photography companion. Saying good bye to Quest would impact me more than I had ever imagined.
So I took what I had learned from making frames and applied it to making an urn for my bud. I made his out of Hickory, because of it's natural tones that matched his coat. I also learned how to transfer an image onto wood and to engrave. I added a matching frame.
And now I am honored and take great pride in helping others say good bye to their four-legged canine friends and companions.