Photography Rediscovered–Back To The Digital Future

Years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to be a fairly serious amateur photographer transporting two 35 mm Nikons, lenses, filters, etc. on cross-country motorcycle trips.  

Real life intervened and my interest in photography faded.  When digital cameras became the norm, I stepped back in, but mostly to use “point & shoot” techniques to produce “documentary” photos of graffiti, abandoned shopping carts, and blight scenes for blogging articles.  I did manage to evolve to documenting various community work projects as a means of escaping the Petaluma Blight Beat.

Recently, Nina Zhito persuaded me to sign up for a photography class (“Capturing Great Moments in Great Light”) at the Petaluma Arts Center taught by Frederic Larson

Of course there was “instruction” in the formal sense…

Plus, there was field work–in the rain–to put some of the techniques to use…

I won’t be so hyperbolic as to say that the class was transformational–but it has pointed me in a new direction in terms of how I will spend my time.

One of the immediate consequences for me was to start a photo blog as a companion to this site.

Check out The Petaluma Spectator Photo Blog to see if I learned anything!

  • Additions to the photo blog will be infrequent (it takes time for the “good stuff” ) and I will change it from time to time as I continue experimenting.
  • I will also be going through my inventory of past Petaluma photos to see if, by accident, any qualify for the new photo blog. One has already made it.

Thanks again to the Petaluma Arts Council and to Frederic Larson!

By the way, just to prove that old habits die hard, I did take note of a graffiti tag on the sidewalk  just outside the building and made a photo collage placing the tag on the door…

Oops! Did I just tag the Petaluma Arts Center??

Bo-Duke & Anne

By Nina Zhito

At the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, Bo-Duke looks up at his guardian and rescuer, animal care technician Anne Mora, who has nurtured him since he first arrived at the shelter seven years ago. He had been surrendered to the county facility by a back-yard breeder of Doberman Pinschers who had fallen on hard times and who couldn’t afford to dock the pups’ ears and tails, making them impossible to sell.

Mora found the puppy cowering in a van with a litter-mate, covered in filth, urine and feces. The big-hearted shelter worker decided to provide a foster home for the dog, and his impound number #100380 instead became a name that paid tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard, television characters whom Mora’s young sons loved.

Soon, the transition was permanent, and Family Dog classes helped the once-timid puppy socialize and adapt as he grew into a majestic 117-pound “gentle giant”.

On the very morning this photo was made in February, Mora’s veterinarian had delivered wrenching news:  Bo-Duke was diagnosed with a life-threatening cardiac condition peculiar to ill-bred Doberman Pinschers. Euthanasia was recommended because sudden death could be imminent.

Mora wasn’t ready to say good-bye yet because she knew Bo-Duke was still enjoying life. She opted instead for a trial of medications that seem to have improved the dog’s comfort measurably. “The best thing is that he doesn’t know anything is wrong with him”, says Mora, wiping away a tear. “I do feel that I am truly blessed that he came into my life, and am thankful for every day I have him.”     

NOTE: Former staff photographer at the Petaluma Argus-Courier, Nina Zhito is a photojournalist who volunteers at the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.  For more information on her work, Click HERE

  • Bo-Duke’s portrait has been entered in a  “People’s Choice” photo contest, and votes in its support are welcomed. Click HERE 
  • For information about the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, click HERE