Hewlett: Taking the picture is just part of the process

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
February 23, 2013 01:00 AM

Kelly Pape

Photography is all about light, be it of the natural or manmade variety.

This is something a person like myself, whose photography experience is limited to the use of his camera phone, would never think of.

Not so for Kelly Pape, who recently turned her lifelong passion for taking pictures into a second career of sorts. Even in this digital age, where the actual art of taking pictures is done in post-production, lighting is everything.

Case in point, the other day Pape was sitting in her Rose Hill home and noticed the low-lying cloud above the South Thompson River and the rising sun illuminating the surrounding mountains. She just had to take a picture.

"I dropped everything, grabbed my camera equipment and was out the door," said Pape.

She got in her vehicle and started driving, looking for that perfect vantage point from which to shoot a picture. But from where? To tell the truth, Pape had no idea.

"Where am I going?" she asked herself at one point.

Pape ended up taking the picture from Chapter's Viewpoint, capturing the cloud, sun and surroundings in an image she's quite proud of.

Why is it so effective?

"Photography is all about the lighting," she said. "When you see the light, you see the conditions, you just gotta go."

She tries not to shoot landscapes and scenic shots on overcast days when the lighting is flat, which has been the case lately. The appearance of the sun is what made that morning shot so special.

"You need a little bit of light, a little bit of contrast."

Fourteen samples of Pape's work are on display at the Wilson House Gallery at 115 Tranquille Rd. The exhibit, Inside the Imagination of Kelly Pape: Starting with a Photograph, shows off samples of her work from throughout her career.

A fan of the outdoors, Pape shoots everything from old barns to wildlife to abstract shots of leaves collected from a Little Fort driveway.

The latter shot began with a trip to Little Fort with her husband, Brad Pape, a realtor with Re/Max Real Estate (Kamloops). When she saw the leaf-covered driveway, she just had to get a picture.

Instead of taking out her camera and banging off a couple of shots, Pape collected some leaves while the puzzled homeowner watched. She then took them home, pressed them between plates of glass, and took pictures that way.

Once done, she used a computer program to give the shot a monochromatic look .The final product is best described as abstract art.

Taking the picture is actually one small part of the photographic process. Since picking up her first digital camera in 2003, Pape has discovered most of the creative work - setting the frame, playing with colour and black and white - is done on the computer afterward. It's a learning curve, she said.

But a fun one.

"Before, when you took a slide or something, you set it all up in-camera. You had to make sure you were precise," said Pape. "Now, I shoot a house for an hour and come back home and it takes two or three hours to put a picture together."

A founding member of the Kamloops Photo Arts Club, Pape had to put her passion on the sidelines when her duties as owner and publisher of Interior Buy and Sell became all consuming.

The publication folded last March after a 26-year run. Although sad to see the paper go, it has afforded her the time to further pursue photography.

Although her work has been featured alongside other artists in galleries within the Interior, the show at Wilson House is her first solo effort. Her pictures will also be featured in a Kamloops Photo Arts Club event, Through the Lense, at the Old Courthouse Gallery next month.

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