Being at the right place at the right time matters more than having a lot of fancy photography equipment according to local photographer Leonard Heinonen, whose first exhibition opens June 25 at the Mueller Art Gallery.
“People tell me I see things a little differently, and not just about photography either,” said Heinonen, getting ready to rush off to the weir in the coulee to take advantage of of a beautiful spring evening to take some pelican pictures.
And he should know, his nature shots has been published on National Geographic’s website, competed in CBC’s Nature of Things annual photo competition and his work has appeared in the Lethbridge Herald and Sun-Times.
And 10 of his favourite works will be on display at the Mueller Gallery, for his very first photographic exhibition beginning June 26, where they will be up for six weeks as part of the exhibition ‘Waterton Light.’ Not bad for a man who has no formal photography training except for one high school photography course. The show opens with a reception, 7-10 p.m., June 25 at the Mueller Gallery.
“It’s about balancing composition and lighting. You either have an eye for it or you don’t. My nephew can draw, but I couldn’t draw if you put a gun to my head,” said Heinonen, who draws a lot of inspiration, not to mention photographs, from hiking around Waterton Park.
As well this weekend, photographer Trudi Lynn Smith opens her own exhibition based on Waterton at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, on June 25. It will be followed by a day long excursion and workshop with her to Waterton on June 27.
Her exhibition ‘finding aid’ features Smith attempting to recreate archival photographs of Waterton Park.
“It is as much about photography as it is about Waterton,” explained Christine Cuthbertson, Southern Alberta Art Gallery public relations and volunteer manager.
“So what she does is try to recreate archival photographs and postcards of Waterton by trying to recreate the location, the lighting and the camera aperture. It‘s a lot of trial and error,” she continued.
“The more she does it the more distant she becomes, realizing how impossible it is to recreate a moment,” she said.
Heinonen knows all about the difficulty of trying to recreate a moment.
One of the photos in the exhibition featuring numerous Canadian Geese on the river surrounded by fog, took a long time and repeated visits to Waterton.
“Those geese bugged me, because I couldn’t get the camera to capture what I saw. I must have taken 400-500 shots of those geese,” he said adding after about a week and a half of frequent visits, the lighting, fog and geese were all in place.