A Short Autobiography
I was always interested in outdoor activities and
my mother despaired at the amount of time I spent playing with my friends on
some waste land close to our first home in Edinburgh in the early 50's
At the age of five, I started my education at the
local Gilmerton primary school to which I would walk every morning with my
little school bag firmly strapped to my back. I spent 5 happy years there
and at the age of ten, instead of taking the 11+ exams, I sat the entrance exams
for a public school in the heart of Edinburgh. A big step at that age. I
think that that was the first and last exam I ever excelled at, and having been
accepted by Melville College and placed in the "A" stream, I quickly
found the depth of water a little too deep for this 10 year old to cope
with. It was always "could do better if he tried harder"
Anyway one thing that I did manage well was outdoor sports!
Never having played rugby in my life, I was
introduced to this large oval ball and instinct then took over. It took
some time for me to get to grip with the rules of the game, however I discovered
I could run fast. Athletics then became a major part in my school life, and I
did the usual training allotted to us during the school timetable. It
appeared that this was, for me, just enough to stay ahead of the pack, and I ran
my little socks off at every given chance. This resulted in being awarded
full athletic colours and even to this day I still hold the school record for
the 100 yards at 10.2 sec.
My other outdoor interest was with horses, and in
my early teens enjoyed many hours of pain fighting the hay fever I suffered from
whilst grooming or making up the hay nets at feeding time. Thankfully I grew out
of that allergy, but it took many years!
My working career took me firstly into banking,
however after only a couple of years considered that this was not for me.
My father had always been involved with photography, therefore I looked towards
that as a possible career move. This lead me in taking a three year full time
course in advertising and commercial photography, obtaining the
"qualification certificates" which as it worked out, had no bearing in
obtaining my first photographic full time job!
Three years on and I was doing well earning then,
just enough to buy, in today's money, about 6 gallons of petrol per week!
It was time to expand, take some risks, go forth,
and so with a £100 bank loan and a bit I had saved, purchased my first real
camera - a Hasselblad ELM. If it was good enough for Neil Armstrong to use
on the first Moon walk in 1969 then that was the kit for me!
to right: Anthony; Jamie; Michael; Rod
The world of photography enabled me to see and
have many interesting adventures, not least when I left freelance work, and
joined a team of underwater surveying contractors within the now booming British
oil industry. At Santa Fe Diving I was re-trained to put my photographic skills
to the test. Working with mini-subs to depths of thousands of feet and carrying
an array of underwater Hasselblad stereo and video cameras our task was to take
high quality photographs of anything clients required. This was an
adventure that over the next several years took me all over the world.
In 1989 tragedy struck the oil industry when,
Piper Alfa exploded with the sad loss of 167 lives. The next day I and one
other American were summoned to attend the site to commence a body search using
our mini-sub. Red Adair and his team were already at the location when we
arrived and had the worst of the fires under control. I will not expand on
this story further, suffice to say that shortly after, along with another
personal reason, I left the oil industry.
with my feet firmly back on dry land and together with my new partner Alison, started a
business which incorporated the many skills I had gathered over the last couple
of decades. Computers had come along way by the early 90's and the
requirement for text and photographic images to be blended and printed quickly
had lead us into developing and using this technology to it's full potential.
Life is moving on. We are still enjoying this challenge together.
when I find the time, is still fun !
Family group left to right
- back row:-
Rod Dumbreck; Mike Dumbreck; Jamie Dumbreck; Anthony Dumbreck; (friend); Malcolm Whistance; (friend);
Wray Simcock; Mabel Simcock; Alison Robertson; Susan Curtis; Julie Whistance;
(next door neighbour); (friend);
Seated: Isabel Dumbreck and Teal (our loyal best friend)
Left to right:- Jamie, Anthony and Michael
best viewed with Windows Media
version 10 (Wide Screen 16:9 Aspect Ratio)
on the thumbnail images to stream video
Alex Dumbreck with Tony and Siobhan at the Leuchars Air Show
2006 (14 mins)
Demo of property walk through (4 mins)
© 2001 Rod