Mr. Ploen is a native of the Los Angeles area, transplanted to Fresno and the Central Valley to attend Fresno State and Join the Track & Field team. Once the busyness of being a full time student athlete with a part time job was over, Darryl promptly discovered the Sierra Nevada mountains. Much different from the San Bernadino Mountains he grew up frequenting, he quickly dropped all other pursuits and set out to spend as much time at high altitudes and remote places as life would allow.
The progression of outdoor recreational pursuits started as it might with anyone: Camping, backpacking, and fishing, just as he did growing up. Darryl soon discovered winter sports, something he did not fully have the opportunity to appreciate in Southern California. Having been a volunteer firefighter/EMT, he also began as a Volunteer Ski Patroller very soon after learning the in's and out's of snow sliding activities.
These activities lead to Darryl into rock climbing. He had to accept that being a college athlete was something that never stops. It would seem he had no choice but to adopt an outdoor, active lifestyle no matter the context of what that activity may be. Running, cycling, hiking, fishing, climbing... it doesn't matter; as long it is outside and he is moving, it is a good day.
During one particular backpacking trip high in the Sierras, Darryl was caught once again hiking off trail and, in fact, up stream, in the stream. With his boots off and hung around his neck, he placed all the items from his pockets in the boots to keep them dry. One item of which was his first digital camera, a 2 mega-pixel digital Elph from Canon, purchased years ago before digital had fully gone mainstream. Well that camera fell out of his boot and into the stream, never to function again.
It was almost two years later that Mr. Ploen realized he hadn't taken a photo for some time, and felt rather strange about that. Off he went to find a new point and shoot, a waterproof one this time! And wouldn't you know it, the very first time he takes that new camera into the mountains to go climbing, he meets Mark of Mark Haymond Photography. Darryl had no idea at that time that he and Mark would be spending so much time together in the future and what that friendship would end up looking like.
Things began to change in the photo world for Darryl when one of his pictures ended up on the cover of a nationally distributed catalog. (It turns out, even if you do not win prizes in a photo contest, all is not lost.) Feeling inspired by this new found realization that it is not just his close friends being polite in telling him he takes good photos, Mr. Ploen went out and got himself a DSLR. It wasn't long before Darryl and Mark were shooting side by side at an indoor rock climbing competition, where Darryl seem to catch Mark's eye as well.
Mark invited Darryl to help shoot some of the local running and cycling events in town, and it did not take long for Darryl to realize he loved every bit of it. The shooting, the editing process, and the speed at which it all required; an entertaining and creative challenge that is as rewarding as it is exhausting. The first time he took over 5,000 images at an event, Darryl was sure he would hold up the process and not make the deadline, but he did and all was well.
Darryl Has been shooting with and learning from Mark for the last 3.5 years. Grateful for everything Mark has bestowed upon him in the preceding years, Darryl is excited to move forward and both continue the tradition of quality action portraits and all other areas of photography (yes, he does more than sports photos!). While Mark is merely on hiatus from shooting in order to tend to some health needs, Darryl looks forward to the day that Mark will be able to re-join the team and serve the Central Valley with the same active portraiture they have come to love and associate with Mark's name.