Like the name of my site implies my name is Mark Vander Pol. I grew up in Escondido, California and moved back there in 2005 after a good number of years near Chicago. I went to Calvin Christian High School in Escondido and graduated in 1995. I then went to Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois where I majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. I graduated in 1999 and began life in the real world.
I was a Hazardous Material Chemist for two and a half years at a private company before I began working as a Radiochemist at Argonne National Laboratory for three and a half years. In July of 2005 my wife Michelle and I moved back to California where I am currently attending Westminster Seminary California pursuing my Master of Divinity degree. I hope to go on to get my Ph.D. and teach in a college or seminary someday.
In addition to going to school I also work at White Horse Media maintaining the webpages for The White Horse Inn radio show and Modern Reformation magazine, and I am also the webmaster for Westminster Seminary California.
I love being back in SoCal and going to the ocean and the mountains (sometimes in the same day!). I have not been able to get out and seriously take photographs as I would like, but that does not mean I haven't gone out to enjoy the outdoors! For a look at some of my trips click here.
About my Photography
In May of 2000 I noticed that my father wasn't using his nice camera (an Olympus OM-1n he bought in 1978) on a regular basis. I was going on a trip to Northern Minnesota and wanted a camera in which to take pictures, so I asked if I could borrow his camera. After the camera took a little swim in a canoeing accident on Duncan Lake in Minnesota's Boundary Waters I couldn't use the camera on most of the trip. But it survived!
After that trip I played around with the camera a little bit, but really didn't know what I was doing (some would argue I still don't!). A co-worker gave me the book The Professional Nature Photographer's Field Guide by John Shaw. Just the photographs alone in that book made me want to learn all I could about photography and go out and take pictures.
The turning point in my photographic journey came in January 2001 when Michelle and I visited her parents in Washington State. In my camera bag were my first rolls of slide film. During our hikes in the beautiful Cascade Mountains I tried to take pictures using what I learned from the John Shaw books. After I got the film back one of the first pictures I looked at was of a rock in a river. There are things that I could have done better in that photo, but the color of the water and the way that the water looked around the rock got me so excited, I have been hooked ever since.