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Photography exhibit on display at Nature Realm

7/3/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

“Ready for Takeoff,” by Ted Keener, of Akron, features a dragonfly.
Photo: Ted Keener
“Lunch Time,” by Alan Casanova, of Akron, is part of the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm 15th Annual Amateur Photography Exhibit.
Photo: Alan Casanova
“Young Cooper’s Hawk,” by Bob Roach, of Akron, is one of two photographs chosen for the exhibit that showcase the birds.
Photo: Bob Roach
WEST AKRON — Through the end of this year, visitors can see some of the best that Summit Metro Parks has to offer all in one climate-controlled location.

The 15th Annual Amateur Photography Exhibit is on display now in the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm Visitors Center auditorium.

From 250 entries, the Nature Realm staff chose 117 pieces — an unusually large number — from 73 photographers for the exhibit, said Interpretive Naturalist Pat Ryquist, who coordinates the exhibit. All photographs in the exhibit must have been taken within a Summit Metro Park.

Subject matter ranges from close-ups of dragonflies to landscapes, said Christine Hockman, Summit Metro Parks interpretive services manager. The staff looks for a variety of seasons, subject matter and colors so the exhibit will be visually interesting for visitors, Hockman said. Photographs with a unique perspective have an edge, she added. Potential exhibitors are limited to two submissions for each show, Ryquist added.

This year, Cooper’s hawks were the hot subject, with 20 photographs of the species submitted, Ryquist said. Only two photographs — one of an adult Cooper’s hawk and one of a juvenile — were chosen for the exhibit.

The number of photographs selected for the display depends largely on the physical size of the submissions, Ryquist said. Potential exhibitors must submit a print of their entry. Smaller submissions allow more photographs to be chosen for display, Ryquist said. Photographs range from a 3-by-5-inch print of a frosted oak leaf to a 36-by-6-inch photo of dragonflies printed on plastic, Ryquist said. The dragonfly photos are the only entries not hung. They rest, unframed, on an easel, she added.

Although some of the photographs may be from official Metro Parks volunteer photographers, most are from regular visitors, said Hockman.

“They’re just everyday people who like to go out and take pictures,” she said.

It could help, but no fancy equipment is needed, Hockman added. Some photographs in the exhibit were taken with camera phones, she said.

“That’s a key part,” Hockman said. “It’s an amateur exhibit. Anyone can take a good photo.”

While some photographers submit prints every year, Ryquist said lots of new photographers enter each year. Submissions peaked at 450 and have declined somewhat since then, Ryquist said.

The 16th Annual Amateur Photography Exhibit is scheduled for September 2015 through February 2016, said Ryquist, giving visitors plenty of time to get a good shot and print their photographs.

Photographs, however, do not need to be taken in the year prior to their submission, she said. Ryquist said she would encourage submission of historical photographs, as the Nature Realm will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

Ryquist said historical photos have been chosen for previous exhibits and are always welcome. Occasionally, they receive photographs of park features that no longer exist, Ryquist said, making them particularly interesting to the park staff.

The 2014 exhibit will be on display through December. The photography exhibit is one of two exhibits displayed each year in the auditorium, Ryquist said.

Submissions for the 2015-16 show will be accepted the middle of next year, she added.

The Nature Realm Visitors Center, located at 1828 Smith Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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