Businessman Turns Photography Hobby Into Successful Second Act

PHOTO: Richard Druckman retired from his senior-level position at a pharmaceutical company and turned a childhood hobby into a successful sports photography career.
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For Dick Druckman, it was a 1984 family vacation to the Olympics in Los Angeles that pretty much changed his life.

At the time, Druckman of Princeton Junction, N.J., was working at Bristol Meyers Squibb but dabbling in photography on the side. He had picked up the hobby from his father, an amateur cameraman who made family calendars.

"I was as passionate about my business as I am about my photography," he told ABC News. "I went to Trinity College initially, graduated with a degree in economics, went to Columbia Business School. .... Ended up in marketing research, found that as a niche and I decided to begin my career in the pharmaceutical industry."

Click Here for Help Planning Your Second Act

He said that he loved his job and that it was his whole life. But it was during that trip to Los Angeles, however, with his wife and three sons in tow, that Druckman said he realized his photography could be more than a hobby. He had taken a lot of great, professional-looking shots and tried to get them published.

From Pharmaceuticals to Photography: 'This Is Fun'

"It was at that point, I said to myself: 'This is fun. I think I might really want to do more of this,'" he said.

After 35 years at Bristol Meyers Squibb, he retired and became a freelance photographer.

Click Here to See Some of Druckman's Sports Images

"While I was working, I was taking classes, I subscribed to every photo magazine -- there's quite a few of them -- and I went to a variety of courses," said Druckman who also hired a mentor.

"I found a gentleman by the name of Bill Eppridge who was an old-time Time Life photographer who worked for Sports Illustrated," he said. "I basically called him, told him what I was doing and said 'Will you be willing to coach me [and] teach me everything you know?'"

Ten years later, Druckman, now 72, has had surprising success for a late bloomer in a competitive field.

His sports images -- from Michael Phelps winning his first Olympic gold to Michael Jordan playing his last home game -- have appeared in newspapers across the country and in Sports Illustrated.

"I like capturing magic moments and I'm particularly good at that," he told ABC News. "In sports, that's clear. You are trying to capture a major moment in a sporting event and I look for that. I enjoy doing it."

Druckman, who also manages a website, said he is never going to retire.

"I am very fortunate to be in a position where I can travel around the world and take pictures of great athletes," he said. "I'm going to [be] doing something my whole life."

Tips for a Happy Second Act:

1. Get a mentor.

2. Take classes and keep learning especially in the field you are entering.

3. Look for positive reinforcement from friends and family as you make the transition.

4. No shortcuts: Relish the chance to work your way up again and be confident in your abilities.

5. Keep moving: Physical activity is critical.

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