'The Wonders Around Us' opens Sunday

Ben Rosenkrans' photo of a duo of American Bald Eagles will be one of the exhibits on display at the opening reception from 2 - 3:30 p.m. for 'The Wonders Around Us' Photography Exhibit, Sunday, Feb. 4, featuring the wildlife photography of Rosenkrans and Bill Parker, at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts.
Staff Writer

A new exhibit featuring the wildlife photography of Bill Parker and Ben Rosenkrans is opening from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, in the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts is “The Wonders Around Us”.

The public is invited to come and enjoy the exhibit and meet the artists during the reception. A Gallery Talk at 2:30 p.m. will enlighten the audience as to concepts, techniques, and processes the two men use in their photography.

Both Parker and Rosenkrans live in West Point and have recently retired from careers at MUW and MSU, respectively. With more free time, the two have honed their skills and developed specific techniques to capture nature in all its wondrous beauty.

“I have broad interests, but these have followed several pertinent themes, mostly those revealing the beauty and complexity of nature including macro views of small flora and fauna in natural settings,” Parker explained. “I have broadened my work to include natural abstract color ‘paintings’ in rippled water reflections, cathedral and church architecture, outdoor sculptures, cypress swamps, snakes, frogs, and unusual people, to name a few.”

With an interest in art that began in childhood, Parker said he became fascinated with developing his creativity with a camera.

When asked what the single, most important skill of his craft might be, Rosenkrans answered patience. He spends hours, as any hunter would, in blinds and camouflaged positions just waiting.

"Once, while photographing the nest hole of Pileated Woodpeckers," Rosenkrans said. "I sat motionless for nearly seven hours. I got some spectacular pictures."

Rosenkrans said his advice to beginners is to understand the wildlife you’re trying to photograph (habitat, season, and behavior); then take your time, don’t get in a hurry.

Photography has been a major component of both men’s lives for decades. Though not necessarily working together, the two frequently offer advice, constructive criticism, and encouragement to each other. Both seek out the natural habitat of their subjects. While the backyard does provide a convenient setting for some creatures, both men love to travel, explore unusual places, and discover species that are native to that area.

The theme of “songbirds at the feeder” has expanded to whitetail deer, bald eagles, hawks, water fowl, black bear just about anything that lives and moves in the wild.

“My wildlife photographs in this exhibit were mostly taken locally, especially at the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge," Parker said. "Most of them were taken of animals in situ but a few, especially of snakes, were taken while holding or pinning the animals.”

Both men agree that equipment is crucial. They spoke lovingly about their first cameras.

“In the late 1960’s, I bought an old used Minolta SLR camera which I used with close-up lenses to take photos primarily of desert wildflowers near El Paso, Texas," Parker said. "I used that camera for photos on many trips in subsequent years until getting other film Minolta SLR’s for use in the 80s and 90s, primarily for wildlife photography. New digital cameras and technology now give the photographers a variety of ways to expand and hone their skills. "

Sponsored by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council, the exhibit will hang through April 30, 2018. The LCCA will be staffed Wednesdays 1 - 4 pm for visitors to see the show. For more information or to schedule a tour of the exhibit at another day or time, contact Kathy Dyess at 494-5678 or Julie Gray at 295-0461.