I first became interested in photography at 11 years old, traveling across the western states with my grandparents in a little RV. We stopped at every national park we passed, I knew what I was seeing was special and I wanted to document it. I remember stopping into a Landscape Photographer’s gallery in my birthplace of Mt Shasta, CA. They had incredible photos of all the places we had been, photographed at their best and most beautiful moments. It was like seeing a celebrity you recognized out in public, “Oh my gosh, you were great in that thing I saw, what an incredible performance!”. I knew I had found an outlet.

I had been playing with the family point-n-shoot 35mm camera we had for over a year when my mother invited my brother and me to visit New York City for my 15th birthday. While touring Times Square we saw a high production fashion shoot in progress. I was enamored, I couldn’t look away, the energy and excitement of the whole experience overwhelmed me. Seeing as it was my birthday upcoming, my mother knew exactly what to get me. We went into one of those touristy electronic bodegas, picked out the most affordable SLR they offered, an all manual Nikon FM10. The helpful clerk gave me a quick rundown on to work the dial and load and wind the film and we were off. I had to learn about shutter speeds, apertures and film speed “on-the-job” as they say, each roll a mystery until developed, luckily I managed not to screw up every photo from the trip!

1998-2002 Pleasant Valley High School - Photography Program
2002 - 2004 Butte Community College- Black and White Film Photography, Digital Photo Manipulation

I always pursued my passion for photography, in high school I took the only 2 photography classes offered, “Digital Photography” where I started learning Photoshop (V6) and “Film Photography” where I first got into a darkroom. The local community College offered a black and White class and I took that the summer after high school and later I took a “Digital Photo Manipulation” course. I never thought I was pursuing a viable career, it was just an infatuating hobby and I wanted to get really good at it.

2004-2007 Brooks Institute of Photography - Bachelors of the Arts - Commercial Advertising Photography

After a couple years at the community college I wasn’t really any closer to figuring out what I wanted to do, I was taking an EMT1 course so I could get a summer job with my brother as track-side medical at various auto races, they were racing Ferraris and Lamborghinis, it was a really cool job as long as nobody got hurt. I knew about Brooks, all photographer’s knew about Brooks but it was a pipe dream, way too expensive. My mother suggested that maybe it was feasible, my very supportive grandparents lived in Santa Barbara and with living expenses covered, we could borrow the rest. Right after I graduated the EMT program, I went to tour the Brooks Campus… from there, there was no turning back, I was all in. The very next semester I was enrolled, I only worked a couple months as an EMT but my experience training at the local hospital was enough to know it wasn’t for me, props to our first responders, that is not an easy gig!

2007-2017 Las Vegas, NV - Photographer’s Assistant; Digital Technician

Immediately after graduating I moved to Las Vegas which I had visited a few times during college, memories from those trips are a little blurry but the the energy and excitement of the city was ingrained. Also ingrained from those trips with my grandparents was my fascination for the desert, I am a true dust dweller.

I began my career as a photographer’s assistant working on local productions, I quickly moved up the ranks as a preferred assistant to many of the city’s top photographers gaining a wealth of job experience along the way. From there I started getting calls to work on the big productions on the strip, with the world’s top photographers, photographers I had studied and lauded throughout school. The experience as a photographer’s assistant in Las Vegas is really wild, celebrities, huge productions, music videos, resort mega suites, over-the-top restaurants, rides, races, military, if you saw a picture of it, there’s a good chance I helped.

In 2011 I got a call from a real character, a producer from Florida putting together a architectural shoot for the brand new Cosmopolitan Resort. Being the hot new property, it was on my radar and this was a call I had been waiting for. He needed a digital tech but I wasn’t familiar with the crazy camera system they were using, I told him while I’d love to help, I may not be the right guy for the job. I hung up the phone and the missed opportunity immediately began eating at me, I quickly looked up the program they were using and knew I could pick it up fast. I wrote him back and pleaded that I would be proficient in the program before the shoot the following week. He laughed and informed me he had already found a suitable replacement but if I really wanted I could tag along and carry the lenses and help out. I jumped at the opportunity. Over the last 12 years I have worked with Goat Rodeo Productions under the tutelage of renowned photographer Thomas Hart Shelby visiting countless countries shooting the world’s top resorts. I started first as a photo assistant, then digital tech and now I’m simply known on the crew as “the glue”; the digital tech, drone pilot, motion cameraman, assistant producer and anything else that needs to be done, guy.

Byron Mason Signature