Photographers share views of world in show at church

Outdoor scenes, including night skies, included among works


Tim Kathka and Bill Knoll, both members of the active Littleton Fine Arts Guild (and both Nebraska natives), will exhibit their photographs in the gallery at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch from Feb. 7 through March 12. The pair will hold a reception from 10:30 to noon, between services, on Feb. 9 so they can talk about their special shots with art lovers.

Guild member Kathy Meyers is active with the Art at St. Andrew program and invited them to exhibit their images.

Kathka, a retired architect who especially worked on churches, and Knoll, a retired electrical engineer, share a special interest in the night sky and Milky Way, but both are interested in other aspects of nature as well — birds, animals, wildflowers, mountains, lakes, rivers and what else occurs in the world around them.

Knoll is also an accomplished woodworker and will bring some of that art as well to display in glass cases …

He said he was accepted as a Guild member based on his 3-D art and he likes to work with “rescued wood.” If he sees a tree being cut down, he stops to ask for wood. What about drying it, we wonder. Green wood is easier to carve, so he forms a piece and then lets it dry, weighing it to track on drying. Fine finishing follows. If it has a knothole or cracks, he has a food-safe liquid product that can repair it and he is careful that finishes are also food-safe.

Kathka first learned about manual shooting from a couple of Navy buddies, he said and these artists both talked about how today one can “just shoot and look at the computer to see if it works well.” Post processing is a whole different story, they agreed, talking of subscriptions to Photoshop (Knoll has used it for 30 years) and other products one can subscribe to. They recommend wide-angle lenses. Knoll also has a longer lens that allows him to merge three shots to create panoramic prints — which he’ll include in the exhibit.

“I’m back to an old film camera for that,” Knoll commented. But he can use the lens on his newest camera as well.

They share satisfaction that grandchildren are being taught to do manual shooting in school classes. Teachers realize the importance of understanding how it all works.

Both use full-frame Nikon cameras and agree that they “make what you’re doing better …” And to shoot the Milky Way, you want as little light as possible. You look for something interesting for the foreground — e.g., a small lake, a pond …

Happy accidents happen too. Kathka spoke of being set up for a night shot at Echo Lake, after time shooting on Mount Evans, when a car appeared, sweeping lights across the lake. “It lit the foreground nicely,” he said. They also speak of “the blue hour” before sunrise.

They attended a Len Randall class in Rocky Mountain National Park, where they were all too aware of light pollution from Denver. Another lesson learned that night: Kathka fell and Knoll, a first responder, was able to give him some needed care. “I don’t need to be out by myself, alone!” Kathka said.

The Milky Way offers challenges — Knoll went to the Caribbean, seven degrees north of the equator, before Thanksgiving, where he could use the ocean in the foreground and skies are very dark ... and it was positioned differently — “opposite of what I was used to.”

Kathka said his “In the Beginning” project grew out of a special friendship with a woman who lost everything, including her art collection, in the recent Datura Apartment fire. She saw Kathka’s night photography and wanted one to start replacing lost works. She also told him of her work with LOVE Inc. in Littleton, which was very involved in helping fire victims with their varied needs. Kathka donated a photo for the fall fundraiser and made some cards as well. Knoll donated wooden bowls. Both are members of the organization.

“Between us, we’ll have close to 90 works,” they say.


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