Bruce Dorn Inspirational Story

My name is Bruce Dorn and I’ve been a Canon Explorer of Light since 2005. 

When I was a teen, my life was pretty simple. I absolutely loved comic books and I spent a lot of time absent-mindedly sketching pictures of action heroes. I was always able to draw better than most kids my age and vaguely imagined that someday I’d use my artistic skills to become a creator of comic books. Photography, as a career, was not on my radar. 

To pay my way, and to fund my interest in seeking adventures in the wilderness, I worked as a mechanic at the local Texaco service station. When I was off the clock (and not exploring in the local forests) I tore around town in my hopped-up car. I also spent an inordinate amount of time imagining myself (inexplicably!) surrounded by beautiful girls. I was a fairly typical teenage boy in search of fun and generally wasting time - except that it turns out I wasn’t! 

Cut to the present, almost a half-century later, and I realize that things have – shockingly - worked out according to my unsophisticated teenage plan! 

I’ve successfully leveraged my love of comic books to teach myself how to draw storyboards - and that has lead me to an award-winning career in Hollywood as a commercial producer, director, and cinematographer. If you’ve watched TV anytime over the past thirty-five years, chances are you seen my work - I’ve conceived and directed hundreds and hundreds of high-end, primetime, television commercials. Sorry about that. But hey, you gotta have commercials so you can run to the kitchen for a snack, right? 

But that’s not all! My teenage plan has been working out pretty well on all levels.  

As I write this, I’m sitting on a trans-oceanic flight en route to Italy to, once again, photograph high-fashion models. When I return to the States, I’m immediately off to California to share Thanksgiving with my wife, two lovely daughters, and my five crazy granddaughters. I did, indeed, end up surrounded by beautiful girls.  

Five days after Turkey Day I’ll be diving in the Caribbean in hopes of filming hammerhead sharks. Soon after that, if things go as I plan, I’ll be once again shooting prototype race cars at the Daytona International Speedway for a commercial automotive client.  

When time allows, I’ll continue to develop my first graphic novel – one with a storyline that follows the exploits of a spunky female adventure photographer as she ferrets-out - and fights! - environmental Evil Doers around the globe. This frisky young shutterbug kicks butt, takes names, and awesome photographs!

All of these amazing things have happened to me because, way back in time, I borrowed my brother-in-law’s camera and fell in love with photography. Life can, indeed, be an adventure - if you are persistent and have a relentless willingness to always follow the fun!

Gear Bag:
I do a great variety of commercial capture work (both high resolution still photography and HD motion capture) so Canon’s DSLR cameras are my primary tools of choice. Although I own and use the full spectrum of Canon cameras (from the mighty Canon EOS 1D X Mark II through the latest mirrorless EOS M offerings) I most often find myself reaching for Canon’s extremely versatile Canon EOS 5D series of bodies. I like the Canon EOS 5Ds R for its beautiful color science and nose-bleed-high 50.4MP resolution. When I don’t need all that resolution, I’ll usually pick up the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for its speedier capture rate, brilliant low-light sensitivity, and – especially - its advanced HD and 4K video capabilities.  

My typical regional jet “carry-on kit” for stills work will always contain, at a minimum, one of each of the abovementioned bodies, several extra batteries, a couple of zoom lenses (typically an EF 24-105mm F4L IS II and three Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlites, and the ST E3 RT Speedlite Transmitter

If my assignment is biased towards HD or 4K cinema capture, I’ll substitute waterproof LED lights for my Speedlites. These are Light & Motion Stella 5000 LEDs. 

If I’m not flying to my location (I’ve actually driven around planet Earth via four-wheel-drive, but that’s another story for another time) I will generally carry considerably more camera and lens choices! This image shows my Jeep Rubicon production vehicle loaded for bear. Or Lions. Or tigers, for that matter ;) 

My Most Prized Image:
This is a tough one! Even when eliminating the pat and somewhat sappy response of “my family pictures are priceless!”  (Yes, yes... granted - these are always the most important images), this is still a very hard choice to make!  

Is it the image that was Most Difficult To Capture?

Is it the one that has become a “signature” image?

Is it the image that inspires people to say, “Dang,’ve got you a really good camera, huh? I gotta git me one of them things!!” 

Maybe it’s all three! For the sake of this article I’ll assume so but please indulge me if I pick a few that represent the broad spectrum of my photographic interests... 

I recently captured this one while doing a social media video series related to exploiting the capabilities of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Google “Aces High – Brucie Interrupted” to see the “How To” behind-the-scenes video of its creation: 

Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II

I’d choose this one because it was so iconic of the Botswana photo safari I was guiding when this moment unfolded. And “Yes!”,a fresh change of underwear was definitely warranted!  


Shot with the Canon EOS 1D X with EF 600mm F4L IS

And it’s hard not to share this digital painting that began with a photo I created during a lighting demo a few years back. This image won the Gold Medal for Portraiture in an international completion for digital painters using Corel’s mark-making software, “Painter™. The competition was entitled, “The World’s Best Painter™ Art”  

Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF 70-200mm F2.8 IS

And then there’s this image of two adorable baby dancers, resting pensively: 

Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF 70-200mm F2.8 IS

Maybe something outdoorsy like this shot of a Wyoming cowboy and his hot horse on a cold Wyoming morning? 

Shot with the Canon EOS 1D X with EF 600mm F4L IS

This one certainly triggers great memories! This is one of my record-setting adventure teammates driving down the last Namibian dune face before we began our low-tide sprint up the treacherous Skeleton Coast. Lotsa people died in this wild and remote place over the years... 

Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF 70-200mm F2.8 IS II

How about this concept image of a Marionette? I always liked this one... 

Shot with the Canon EOS 1D X with EF 70-200mm F2.8 IS II