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His grandfather loved photography. His father took a camera on his hunting trips. And Roger became a photographer when he was ten years old, and his Dad gave him the gift of a drugstore Kodak. It was on the family farm, a few miles from Lake Erie, where the boy first learned to frame family, friends, and loved ones in his little camera’s lens, and to capture God’s artistry on 110 film. One of his first jobs as a teenager was making keepsake images of the children and families of Ashtabula, Ohio—their dogs and cats too.
There was a turn in the road when Roger grew up. At twenty-one, he launched a career in radio that would take him to five different states, broadcasting across the countryside on 100,000 watts as he met legends like Reba McEntire, a young Taylor Swift, and Luke Combs, who went on to win CMA’s Entertainer of the Year in 2021. On September 11th, 2001, his voice would be one of the first on the airwaves, reporting a jet crash with no survivors in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a few miles from his station.
He would spend twenty-five years in radio, growing wiser, and learning to raise his children instead of raising so much Hell. He never gave up the hat, though. His love for Christ grew stronger. And he never got too far from the sound of a clicking shutter.
In 2019, he made his leap of faith. He left broadcasting to launch Downes Media Inc. Now he creates high-quality images of all kinds, for all kinds of clients. He is especially proud of his work in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pisgah National Forest, the Nantahala National Forest, the Cherokee National Forest, and in the many wild places of central Florida. These missions allow him to share the beauty of God’s creation with an audience all over the world.
He couldn’t give up broadcasting completely, though. You can hear his voice reaching out on his podcast Explore With RWD, where he speaks with experts about wildlife and the natural world.
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