Southeast Missouri Hospital calendar photography competition draws shutterbugs

Sunday, October 26, 2008
Photo by Renee Shandy

Renee Shandy, graphic design coordinator at Southeast Missouri Hospital, is always on the lookout for the perfect shot to submit for the hospital's calendar, a photography competition open to employees, trustees, volunteers and physicians that has been held for two decades.

She made it into the 2008 calendar with a fall photo that shows a house on North Street in Cape Girardeau with the leaves of different trees framing the photo.

"North Street is just one of the prettiest streets in Cape in the fall," Shandy said. She took the photo during her lunch hour, but said the best time of day for fall photos is early or late in the day.

"The full sun washes out the colors," she said. Her fall photo featured in the 2008 hospital calendar was described by Dr. David Crowe, another local photographer/hobbyist, as a great example of an outstanding fall photo.

Fall makes photography easy. Shandy's equipment -- a Kodak Easy Share camera -- is not expensive or fancy. She likes to share her photos with friends so she posts a lot on her Facebook page.

Crowe said he uses photography as a way to relax.

"The best time of day to get a good fall photo has lots of answers," he said. "It depends on what you want."

Photo by Dr. David Crowe

His interest in photography began in high school.

"Photography has made me an early riser," he said. Crowe prefers dawn or pre-dawn for fall photos because of the unusual things that happen on the edges of light.

"I just like the look," he said.

But, he said, "an overcast day, throughout the entire day, will produce no harsh shadows."

Photo by Dr. Joel Ray

You may see him out before dawn with his tripod set up at Hospital Hill or Capaha Park -- places within five minutes of his orthodontic office on Broadway. Crowe's objective is to capture these familiar spots with lighting that acts as a catalyst for provoking emotions. Getting the emotion into the image is important to Crowe. The time frame for capturing the soft muted tones a morning fog produces pass quickly during the fall.

"I really like just being there to say I actually saw that," he said. "That's what it looked like and that's what it felt like."

Dr. Joel Ray said he believes nature blends the colors of spring and summer into the autumn season.

"The energy of nature is sucked into every leaf," he said.

His photography hobby did not seriously begin until 2001 when he got a digital camera, computer software and a suitable printer were available. Former Southeast Missourian photographer Don Frazier mentored Ray. For several years Ray was a photo stringer for the Missourian and other sites.

Ray, a neurosurgeon, finds digital photography relaxing because "I'm allowed to learn without hurting anyone," he said.

"It's a challenge without consequences," he said. The challenge of capturing fall colors lies with the desire for contrast between competing still-green grass and dead leaves at the peak of their color.

Ray has already shot lots of foliage in New England, where the changing fall colors are ahead of Missouri.

"Fall is not here yet," he said said. "The colors won't be ready for another two weeks."

"My interest in fall is because of color," said Ray, who understands the science of color because of digital photography. With digital photography, "I can tweak my inadequacies," he said.

Before discovering digital photography Ray said he "couldn't understand color. When you'd say paint it red, I'd struggle with it." Digital photography has given him the ability to merge art and science -- something he was unable to do in painting and drawing.

He recommends shooting fall colors locally at Cape Rock Park or with the geese in Capaha Park. He also said the leaves and reflections in the creek in Jackson Park, local golf courses, Bollinger Mill, churches and cemeteries are great spots to get the perfect shot.


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