Frank Lee Ruggles is an Artist, Author, and former Eminent Photographer for the National Park Service, a job position once occupied by Ansel Adams. "Often compared to the American icon, Frank similarly delights us with his patience for the perfect shot and with his heroic efforts to get there". An exhibition of his private works of America's National Parks is currently showing in several locations across the US, accompanied by lectures about his experiences travelling to all 50 US States and showing images from his books"Beautiful America" and "Workbook". A third book: "The Outdoor Photographer's Guide to Hiking" is due out in late 2011. Current Projects include: teaching photography at his "Hike and Shoot" Workshops, his exhibit and lecture tour, and his dedication to photograph all of the National Parks. His next photo project is a solo hike across Death Valley in May 2011, where he will chronicle his experiences daily to the fans from 19 countries via the internet's largest social network.
Frank was born on November 12, 1966, in Phoenix, Arizona, to Evelyn and Lonnie Eaton as Frank Lee Eaton. When he was only two years old his parents divorced and he, along with his mother and sisters, moved in with his grandparents. He took the name of his paternal grandfather when he was 16 years old, and legally became known as Frank Lee Ruggles from that day forward. The family then moved to Delaware, Ohio where Frank graduated from Rutherford B. Hayes High School. He joined the US Army in 1985 as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division where he served for four years with B co 2/505 Parachute Infantry. In 1988 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, then, in 1989, a shoulder injury from a parachuting accident left him slightly disabled (30%) with limited movement of his left arm and bound for civilian life.
Frank Lee Ruggles began his photography career as a hobbyist in 1992, working in a one-hour photo lab on Kiawah Island, SC. Before and after work most days, he would hike the trails of the Island, practicing his photographic skills and developing his own shooting style. After taking thousands of images, studying Ansel Adams’ books, and with the help of his wife Lisa, he found his own style and a buying audience at the photo store, where he sold his Fine Art images.
After five years, he moved to the Washington DC area to try new challenges and found work as a camera store manager where he met hundreds of photographers and learned the business of photography by networking and sharing experiences. In 1999, with his business partner he purchased a lab of his own. Their clients for photography and custom hand processing were primarily Federal Government clients, Architects, Realtors, and Manufacturers.
Frank Lee Ruggles has photographed over 100 of our National parks and logged 25000 miles on his photographic journey over the past four years. He can often be found hanging off remote cliffs, hiking on active volcanoes,or sitting for sometimes hours - waiting patiently - for the perfect image to capture the American Beauty he sees through his lens. His hikes frequently take him far off the beaten path to discover the lesser known views of these well known places. Mr. Ruggles will go to almost any extent to "get the shot". He has committed to not only searching out, documenting, and sharing the beauty of America, but he has also committed to protect it as well through education and fundraising for preservation foundations.
Mr. Ruggles shared his work with more than 200 people who attended his March 3 exhibition at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida. His images, culled from a 25,000-mile odyssey during which he documented 100 national parks, were on display from March 3, 2011 through April 5, 2011. The reception was sponsored by the Gentlemen of the Garden.
Mr. Ruggles was also a guest speaker at the famed DC Shootoff, a four-day event in Washington D.C. that teaches and mentors military video journalists with an emphasis on storytelling fundamentals. Participants are given the tools and advanced techniques needed to become better, faster and more creative.