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Oswegatchie photographer rediscovers passion in New Zealand and Australia

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OGDENSBURG — Oswegatchie resident Laura C. Shea is exploring her passion for photography around the world.

Mrs. Shea recently visited Australia and New Zealand to hone her photography skills with renowned photographer and photojournalist Greg Newington of Australia.

The trip, which lasted from April 12 to May 1, included inspiring landscapes and adventures filled with mudslides, kangaroos, koalas, mountains, winding roads and emerald valleys that spanned more than 1,200 miles, Mrs. Shea said.

“It’s such a diverse landscape,” she said. “I have traveled quite a few places in the U.S., but New Zealand and Australia have such different terrains — there can be plains, valleys and mountains all within a short distance of each other. It was interesting to see how the people and animals have adapted to the landscape. It was great just to be immersed in that for a time.”

She chronicled her trip on her blog, which can be found at www.chasingtheclouds.net.

Mrs. Shea, director of community relations and planning at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, received her bachelor’s degree in photography from Brescia University, Owensboro, Ky., in 1991.

She said taking the trip to Australia and New Zealand gave her a chance to rediscover her passion.

“It was great to be in the middle of something, especially with landscapes so you can take the time, play with the settings, and really think about all of those technical decisions you need to make to get the best picture,” she said.

Photography, Mrs. Shea said, is about “capturing moments,” creating art and solving problems.

“It is really capturing what I am seeing and really thinking about composition and creating not just a snapshot, but a work of art,” she said. “It is also problem solving, working to find the best spot to expose the light. With digital you have a lot of leeway. Once you download the pictures, you can do so many things to enhance them. But my goal is get it as close to exact when I am shooting. Combining those two things — the creative side, capturing the moment, and the practical side and problem solving, figuring out the aperture and shutter speed — that come together to make that perfect picture.”

Mrs. Shea’s advice for amateur and new photographers is not to be afraid of the camera.

“I was afraid of the camera longer than I should have been,” she said. “Even with a four-year degree, once I got this nice camera it was still intimidating. But it’s all about trial and error. But don’t be afraid to figure it out, especially now with digital when it costs you nothing at all to take pictures. You have to pay attention to the settings and what is going on around you. If you stick with it, it will click.”

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