Photography exhibit offers nature scenes | Local News

Photographer Dean Traver likes to provide a glimpse of the countryside as he sees it.

Anyone can observe Traver’s work now through Dec. 30, as Traver’s display — aptly named — “Life As I See It,” is on display at First Central Gallery, located in the lobby of the Operahouse Theatre, in downtown DeWitt.

Traver, 85, who lives in Mount Vernon, said he has enjoyed photography his entire life. His dad had a darkroom and let him help and take pictures. He also developed an interest in video in the 1980s and worked in video production since 1985, including as operator of the public television service in Mount Vernon and Lisbon. That service ended with over 5,000 video programs having aired.

Traver said his exhibit at First Central Gallery is a collection of things he hopes he can capture realistically that will give him and others joy, memories and satisfaction.

“There are a lot of varied subjects, heavy on nature, landscape and scenery,” he explained.

While he still completes some video work, Traver said he is going back to photography as he “matures in his life.” 

“I go through life day by day, seeing things that have a call to me,” Traver related. “Beautiful things, special things, meaningful things, ordinary things in a different setting that I would like to capture and preserve for others to see. So, I take photographs. I see a person, thing or scene and I think, that would make a beautiful photograph, and then it’s my job to try to capture what I am seeing with my eyes.”

While he said he doesn’t have a photographic specialty, Traver said among his favorites are old buildings and barns because he says they are disappearing too fast. Traver also enjoys photographing courthouses for their architecture.

At the moment, Traver is displaying his work in five full-time galleries, including First Central. 

He hopes by sharing his work he inspires others in more ways than one.

“I like having folks enjoy the viewing, hoping to encourage them to visit some of these areas themselves,” Traver said. “And try their hand at photography. And if someone purchases one (of his photos), it helps pay for my avocation.”

Traver said sometimes he is torn between color and black and white photos. Traver loves a beautiful, colorful scene, but for some photos, black and white makes a person see the subject itself without the distraction of color … which is good, too.

For Traver, photography simply gives him a lot of pleasure; developing and printing something that others enjoy and appreciate is his reward.

Traver believes the process of creating photographs, particularly the travel involved in seeking out new and different subjects and spaces to capture, is good for a person’s mind, body and soul.

“I think it was Samuel Clemens (who) said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,’” he related. “Sounds good to me. I hope folks do more … maybe it would end some of that.”

Observation building, new photography blind to open Saturday at Wheeler | Decatur

The renovated observation building and new photography blind at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge will open Saturday after almost eight months of construction.

Already open is a new 5.5-mile hiking and biking trail east of the visitor center near the main entrance.

Work at the refuge began March 13 as part of a $5.4 million project paid for by a federal grant.

Along with building the 500-square-foot outdoor photography blind, which can hold 30 people, upgrading the observation building and creating the new trail, the funds will finance renovations to the visitors center. The center is expected to open next spring.

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See the winning shots from a photo contest that showcases Utah’s vast beauty

The winning photo of Scenic Utah’s “Off the Beaten Path” category features Ostler Lake in the Uinta Mountains. (Spencer Sullivan)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Beehive State has long been lauded as a top destination for its outdoor opportunities and surreal natural beauty.

Earlier this month, seven photographs that encapsulate Utah’s best features rose above a field of more than 700 to win the first annual Scenic Utah Photo Contest.

Scenic Utah, a statewide nonprofit advocating for the protection of the state’s scenic resources, launched the contest to celebrate Utah’s “natural beauty, its historic rural character and our unparalleled – and increasingly threatened – scenic vistas and skylines,” a release from the organization said.

The photo contest featured 734 submissions, all gunning for a top spot in one of the seven available photo categories:

  1. Off the Beaten Path
  2. Scenic Night Skies
  3. My Rural Roots
  4. Town, City and State Parks
  5. Visual Pollution We Wish Would Go Away
  6. Community Character
  7. Audience Favorite

“These winning images highlight Utah’s extraordinary scenic resources and the importance of protecting them,” said Ralph Becker, former Salt Lake City mayor and chairman of the board at Scenic Utah.

Below are the winners from each category of the contest.

Off the Beaten Path

This category features pictures from “remote or hard-to-reach places in our beautiful state,” according to Scenic Utah’s website.

“We know and love Delicate Arch, but we’re looking for the lesser known.”

The winning photo of the “Off the Beaten Path” category features Ostler Lake in the Uinta Mountains. (Photo: Spencer Sullivan)

This picture — titled “Ostler Lake” by Spencer Sullivan — is certainly off the beaten path, as Ostler Lake is only accessible by backpacking into the Uintas.

Scenic Night Skies

Scenic Night Skies is the category for “astrophotography of all types,” according to Scenic Utah, which continued, “Long exposures or quick shots of the stars with captivating silhouettes — and everything in between.”

This photo, titled “Magic Bus,” certainly fits the prompt, featuring a breathtaking view of a clear night sky. (Photo: Dave Koch)

One could say that the stars aligned for “Magic Bus,” Dave Koch’s incredible shot of a starry night that many Utahns have come to admire.

My Rural Roots

While Silicon Slopes and the Salt Lake Valley explode, Utahns can still take solace in the more rural, wild parts of the state.

This barn in Newton, Cache County, certainly captures the rural spirit of the state. (Photo: Hans Christian Ettengruber)

Hans Christian Ettengruber perfectly captured the essence of the rural category in “Barn with Yellow Flowers,” which could make the most seasoned city-dweller daydream about spending a day in the yellow meadows surrounding the barn.

Town, City and State Parks

This category takes us all the way down to Sand Hollow State Park in Washington County, just north of the Arizona border.

This image shows a beautiful rainbow over Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County. (Photo: Nathan Hanson)

Nathan Hansons’s shot, “Rainbow in Sand Hollow,” also paints a picture of how quickly the weather can change in the desert.

Visual Pollution We Wish Would Go Away

With the rapidly growing nature of the state, this category pays homage to the visual impediments that Utahns are seeing more of these days.

This image shows power lines in the foreground, obscuring the view of mountains in the background. (Photo: Steve Wise)

“High Power Interference,” by Steve Wise, perfectly depicts the juxtaposition of Utah’s development industry and scenic beauty.

Community Character

From Cache Valley to the red desert of southern Utah, the Beehive State is full of communities overflowing with character.

This image of a sign that says “Westside” won the Community Character category of the photo contest. (Photo: Kirk Anderson)

Kirk Anderson’s “Westside Sign” looks like something out of an old western movie and creatively showcases the character found throughout Utah.

Audience Favorite

Of course, the people of Utah should also have a say in what they deem their favorite photograph.

When it came down to it, Utahns decided on Shauna Hart’s “The Boys are Back.”

“The Boys are Back” shows bison roaming the grounds of Antelope Island. (Photo: Shauna Hart)

The dramatic image showcases the wild nature of the state that is admired by so many.


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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and military news.

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The Art of Place in Space

Bruce Presents Astrophotography – Virtual Zoom Webinar 

The night sky has long held us captive with its beauty and wonders, only to disappear with the coming of the sun. But photography, beginning with the first pictures of the Moon in the 1800s, has enabled us to see into the dark reaches of space, capturing a moment that can be shared anytime. Advances in photographic technologies have given way to Astrophotography, the imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky. Modern Astrophotography is not only dazzling to behold, but also provides important data and research support on objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae, or galaxies. 


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Carina Nebula, photo by NASA’s James Webb Telescope


Support for Bruce Presents is generously provided by Berkley One. Learn more here



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Artist-in-Residence offers public programs at Big Meadows

Shenandoah National Park Artist-in-Residence Carl Johnson will present public programs about his landscape photography this Friday, Oct. 28 and again on Halloween.

Friday’s program is at 2 p.m. in the Big Meadows Visitors Center auditorium.

“From DSLR to mirrorless cameras and smartphones, pretty much everyone has a camera today,” said Johnson in a park release. “Rather than documenting our trips or hikes, how can we put our cameras to better use?”

The SNP Artist-in-Residence will discuss how to use photography to form deeper connections with nature—in the backyard or a favorite national park.

“These connections can be formed through exploration, discovery, and giving ourselves the time we need,” said Johnson.

He will back at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 for an outdoor program near the visitor center at Big Meadows.

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“We have all seen amazing photos,” Johnsons said in the release.

“What they have in common is great use of light and composition. But they didn’t happen by accident. The photographer had to see the image first before it could be created.”

He quoted world famous American landscape photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984): “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

“Seeing and noticing details in the world around you is crucial to making that photograph,” Johnson said, encouraging program attendees to join him for an excursion into the field to learn the importance of observation and visualization in the making of good images.

The SNP Artist-in-Residence will also offer helpful technical and creative tips on how to use a camera to take better pictures. Johnson is documenting his residency on Instagram and Facebook.

It’s also an adventure in nature photography. He described his quest to capture an image of an elusive Alaskan moose.

“I first started hiking the trails in the mountains above Anchorage, searching for moose to photograph. Early on, I envisioned a photo that included a large bull moose in the foreground and the Anchorage skyline in the background. Finally, after over eleven years of searching, I finally found it while guiding Doug Gardner, host of “Wild Photo Adventures” to photograph moose,” Johnson recalled.

The upcoming programs are free. Attendees will need a Shenandoah National Park entrance permit or pass. The Artist-in-Residence program is funded through generous donations to the Shenandoah National Park Trust.

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