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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – David Armer

By September 9, 2019No Comments
Showcase 2019, Best in Show, Birds: Rough-legged Hawk in Flight with Catch © David Armer.

Showcase 2019, Best in Show, Birds: Rough-legged Hawk in Flight with Catch © David R. Armer.


I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. In grade school, I used my Dad’s Kodak Brownie and started shooting anything and everything.  In middle school, my Graphic Arts teacher taught me black and white processing and printing. This was the beginning of my love for photography.

After high school, I decided to visit to Montana.  I ended up in Glacier Park at the Apgar Bridge shooting the eagles feasting on the salmon run.  I fell in love with Montana and wanted to make it my home.  However, I couldn’t adjust to the life of a starving artist , so I made the decision to join the Navy and see the world.  Through hard work and determination I was able to become a Navy Photographer.  I also attended Aircrew Candidate School and became a Naval Aircrewman. I saw a lot of the world, but Montana called to me and after a couple of tours in the Navy I returned to Montana.

I had a friend who called me and wanted me to join him as a photographer at the Air Force Academy. I packed up my bags and along with my wife, went to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It was an exciting time being able to shoot the young cadets.  We shot their everyday lives but especially the NCAA sports which was very challenging.  Because of my passion for wildlife, I spent a lot of time photographing the Falconry team. After several years in Colorado Springs, we decided to move back home to Montana.  The grandchildren were growing up fast and we missed Montana.

I have lived in Montana since that time.  I continue to love photography.  I try to get out and shoot as often as I can.  I have been lucky and have won a few contests and have been published in a few magazines.

Your Name: David R. Armer

Title of Your Winning Image: Rough-legged Hawk in Flight with Catch, Montana

About your winning Showcase image:

1)  How I Got the Shot

I was headed down to the National Bison Range on a fine Montana fall day, looking for wildlife to photograph. Taking the Nikon D 850 out for the first few test runs to learn of its capabilities, I was having a good day finding lots to photograph. The morning light was a little soft, with a little sunshine showing through some clouds, giving a nice soft backlight. In this perfect lighting a Rough-legged Hawk flew back and forth between a couple of big rocks and a couple of its favorite fence posts.  My camera rattled away capturing several different flight angles.   The photo of the hawk with its catch was my favorite of the day.

2)  What I Used

The Hawk was photographed with Nikon D850 500/4 and 1.7 extender 1/1600 sec  at f/ 7.1

3)  About Me

We live in the Flathead Valley on the west side of Montana’s Glacier National Park. I have been photographing all my life. I enjoy watching and photographing birds and wildlife.  I have been a professional, but I am now more an enthusiastic hobbyist.

4)  My Photographic Journey

Way back in 6th grade, I borrowed my father’s little Kodak Brownie and ran around the neighborhood snapping away, and anxiously awaited for my father to return from the drug store with some prints. My 7th grade Graphic Arts teacher had some old Nikons and he taught me black and white processing and printing. In high school I stuck with Graphic Arts.

After I graduated high school, I did not want to go to college.  I wanted to go out west. I dug out some maps and did some research. With the money I earned painting a house in my pocket, I road the bus to Rapid City and with my thumb, backpack and camera and lenses, started my western adventure. I went to Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone National Park, and eventually ending up in the Flathead Valley, Montana near Glacier National Park.

When I discovered hundreds of bald eagles gathering in Apgar, the Montana hook was set. I drove my poor Mom crazy.  She’d say, “You are going to drop everything and head out to Montana?”   There was something about all the eagles and the beauty of Montana that made me just have to be there.

On my second trip to Montana, I met fellow photographer and life long friend and mentor, Tom Ulrich.  We would get together and find something to photograph.  He was a walking encyclopedia.  Whatever I wanted to know about anything, animals, biology, nature, you name it, he knew the answer.

I soon realized that I was not that good at the role of being a starving artist.  Also, I was drawn to the idea of seeing more of the world, so I joined the Navy and worked hard to become an aerial photographer and Aircrewman.

But Montana always lingered in the back of my mind. When I got out of the Navy I had to pick a home, Montana became that home. Working and photographing as much as possible the next ten years went by in the blink of an eye. An old friend called and told me of a good job opportunity at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was hired to photograph everything that happened at the Air Force Academy. The NCAA Sports was a major shooting opportunity. My love of wildlife naturally led me to the Falconry team. I became their photographer.

Those years went by quickly and again the call of Montana was heard.  The grandkids were getting bigger and Montana tugs at my sole, so we are now back home in Montana.

5)  NANPA and Me

I became a NANPA Member again with the Nature Photography Day photo contest   I was a member a few years back when we lived in Colorado. I did attend the summit for one day when it was in Denver.

6)  Where Can People Learn More About You? is my web site.  I have some photos on National Geographic yourshot page, and have prints for sale in Whitefish, Montana, at Group B Galleries.  Also I do some local art fairs and sells photos at the West Glacier Farm to Market in summer.

My NANPA Portfolio is: