I was born Howard McGhee Jr. January 1948
in New York City to famous Bebop jazz trumpeter Howard "Magee"
McGhee. He gave me the ability to "orchestrate" many endeavors.
I grew up in Berkeley with my mom. She, Dorothy, was an activist.
She instilled the passion for doing community work, being politically
aware and still, having a good time with it.
I started surfing at Berkeley High school
in 1963 and have surfed with a passion ever since. I became a general
contractor in 1982 and never took on a job that would get in the
way of a good swell or travel. I chose to ride a single fin 9 foot
longboard but I also ride an 8' mini longboard when the waves get
juicy or big.
I blew out my knee in 1965 skateboarding
at the Sports and Boat Show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
It allowed me to pass on Vietnam but caused much pain from the bone
on bone irritation and, gradually, it became a real quality of life
issue. Through all the surfing and carpentry I've done it finally
caught up to me in 2001 when I decided to replace my knee.
Since then, I've concentrated on lighter
construction work, higher performance and pain free surfing, more
travel, and a stepped up effort in photography. In fact, I built
a small studio in my garage, bought a professional wall mounted
mat cutter for matting and framing of my prints and other people's
work, both photos and art. Its quite rewarding to provide a finished
product at home.
In 1986, I helped establish the Santa
Cruz Surfing Museum located at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. In
1990, I was part of the group who created the Santa
Cruz Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. I was chairperson
and fundraiser for this worthy environmental group for many years.
We created many policy changes in local government to clean up our
near shore waters.
As of 2006, I’ve been married to a
wonderful, pretty and extremely patient woman (Carm) for 32 years.
We've lived in the same house in Seacliff CA since 1978.
My eye for photography has always been keen.
The secret to shooting people and impromptu events is to anticipate
something happening before it actually does. A moment happens so
quickly, especially when shooting nature, or events like Ride A
Wave where a facial expression or a bird's flight is all too quick
to pass. That's what makes a photographer fulfilled. Capturing those
poignant moments that tell a story.
I occasionally do local art shows but when
asked by organizations like the Santa Cruz Boys and Girls Club or
the Spring Forward Against Cancer benefit, I'm eager and honored
to provide a donation or two. There are also members of the community
that have fallen on hard times due to illness and benefits abound
for our local folks.
My photographic passions include of course,
surfing. But there are so many things that happen near the shore
that catch my eye. Travel to Baja and the dynamic desert/ocean habitat
there. Shooting my ocean loving friends and the giving of their
skills to less fortunate kids for example is, I feel, almost a duty.
It showcases their open heart and also benefits the various groups
that become involved in Ride
A Wave (R.A.W).
The groups include Jacob's Heart, Alyssa
Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, Balance For Kids, California School For
The Blind, Mercy Services of Santa Cruz and Shared
Adventures. Besides, the kids love to see pictures of themselves
enjoying the things most surfers take advantage of.