Paul Dineen was born in Massachusetts and grew up playing little league baseball, softball and hockey, though he only considered himself to be an “average” player. He lived in Massachusetts all the way throughout his undergraduate years at Northeastern University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in math. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Computers at Indiana University before moving to California in the early 1980s to work as a computer programmer for Hewlett-Packard.
He first discovered his love for photography in 1986 when he bought his first film camera to take travel photos.
After a few years, Dineen was tired of the crowding and high cost of living in California, so he made his way to Colorado in 1989, settling in Fort Collins.
When digital cameras were becoming more popular, Dineen picked up his photography hobby again and began taking photos of local sporting events. From 1989 to 2016, he took thousands of photos at Fort Collins Foxes Baseball Club games and Rocky Mountain High School (Home of the Lobos) athletic events.
However, as the Fort Collins population began to grow, Dineen and his wife Jennifer decided it was time to move again in May of 2016 to a calmer, more rural town. They landed in Morgan County where Dineen has attended a total of 453 Fort Morgan, Brush, Wiggins, Weldon Valley, Prairie and youth sporting events.
His favorite sports to photograph are baseball and softball for several reasons.
“One is the variety of things you take pictures of… swinging a bat, pitching a ball, running bases, diving for catches, sliding into bases. That provides more variety than some other sports such as golf where you’re just taking pictures of a swing or a putt,” said Dineen. “With baseball and softball, I like the slower, more deliberate pace. It gives you time to anticipate what might happen next. Also, it’s a nice time of year. It’s sunny and warm; you’re not getting frostbite on your fingers. And the fourth reason is (that they are) sport(s) where you can go on the field that the players are on, not just nearby. You don’t have to shoot through a fence.”
In the six years he has lived in Fort Morgan, Dineen has had over 10,000 photos published. But, like every self-critical, perfectionistic photographer, Dineen considers himself an “amateur” and still calls photography a “hobby.” However, his crisp photos and obvious skills tell a different story.
“Every time I go to a game, I want to make it the best game I’ve ever shot. I still have that attitude. It’s (a) challenge, but it’s a self-imposed challenge,” he said.
Another challenge he faces when shooting events is Parkinson’s disease, which affects one’s nervous system. He occasionally struggles with his mobility and getting situated in the correct position for his desired photo angle. Very rarely does he miss a game, though.
Since attending so many events, he now knows many of the athletes and their parents and is happy to report that he feels more welcome and appreciated.
“Something I like about taking the pictures and people liking them is it’s not just short-term… I like the idea that these pictures will be a longer-term thing where they can look back five or 10 years from now… (and) my pictures can help them have good memories of their time playing sports. That’s really the biggest benefit for me,” said Dineen.
Dineen keeps his creative juices flowing by creating video slides of his photographs, and he even writes the occasional poem. In 2019, he entered a poem about the Wiggins varsity baseball team into the adult division of a poetry contest put on by the Fort Morgan Rec Department and won first place.
Though he retired from computer programming in 2012, he also continues to do a lot of Google Sheets formula programing — sometimes to support his photography and sometimes for fun “to investigate things (he’s) curious about — which he posts on his personal Facebook page.
Since 2019, Dineen has worked as a sports reporter and photographer for The Fort Morgan Times, The Brush-News Tribune, OTSPORTSCHEK and most recently The Lost Creek Guide.