Cheryl Drake grew up in eastern South Dakota, the oldest of three children. She met and married Alan Drake while attending college in her hometown of Aberdeen. Following college, they migrated to Wyoming. There they stayed 36 years, raising two children.
While in Gillette, Ms. Drake originally worked for a surface coal mining company as a payroll clerk, but eventually decided to try the hourly side. She became an equipment operator, driving 170-ton haul trucks, working her way up to dozers, loaders and graders. After fourteen years, a voluntary buyout allowed her to leave the mine and start a resume writing and secretarial business. She also worked as art director for a company publishing monthly real estate and auto sales magazines. At this time, Ms. Drake took a photography class at the local community college. It was love at first sight. Developing black and white film and processing photos in a darkroom revealed a new outlet for creativity.
In 2000, the couple moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where Ms. Drake completed a degree in communications from the university. She retired in 2011 after several years working in the UW President’s Office. The couple moved to Loveland, Colorado, to be closer to their daughter and family.
Ms. Drake’s interest in photography blossomed in retirement. She explored the potential of selling stock photos on various online stock sites and has sold numerous photos through that venue.
After four years of retirement in Colorado, the Drakes started thinking about living full time in an RV so they could be near their son and family in Washington state. So, they began dividing their time between Washington with their son and his family and Colorado with their daughter and her family. They spent their winters in a warm place like Arizona. By the summer of 2015, they had sold their house and everything in it, keeping only what would fit in a forty-foot motor home. And they set off with Stanley, the 80-pound labradoodle and Tulip, the cat.
The adventure lasted six months, when the thought of living in more than three hundred square feet held a definite appeal. They were in Arizona at the time, a state Ms. Drake had never visited and never thought about visiting. But here she was buying a house in Sun City, a place she had never even heard of with clubs and recreation centers and retirees just like her.
The Photography Guild was one of the first clubs she joined. She especially enjoys grab-and-go excursions, meetings that offer critiques, and guest speakers. She likes meeting other photographers, comparing gear and learning new techniques. The new clubroom, once normalcy returns, will be a frequent retreat.