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Happy behind the lens

Ron Werfel enjoys the freedom of being a freelance photographer.

An Ashland resident for 10 years, Werfel currently works — in a variety of photography fields. One day he may be at a wedding, followed — by a photo shoot for a local business, and the next day taking photos — for high school senior pictures.

"I love being self-employed and taking photos," he said. — "It's just what I do. ... I enjoy working with people and having them — relax in front of the camera."

One of his most recent projects is having photos that — he took at the Wildlife Safari in Winston, entitled "Wildlife Philosophy," — that is currently being displayed at the U.S. Bank in Ashland.

The photos are of animals with sayings, or what the animal — is thinking on it. This includes a baby buffalo being prodded by its mother — with the caption "It's always best to listen to your mother."

"The animals were so expressive," Werfel said. "It was — almost like they were giving me looks humans would make."

He said the main focus of these photos is to brighten — a person's day.

"They may come into the bank with all their troubles and — worries and come out with a smile on their face," he said.

Werfel said he discovered photography in college, while — taking photos of his football friends. When they told him how much they — liked the photos, he began to work for the student newspaper, and decided — to switch majors from psychology to journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism.

After graduation, he spent several years in the bay area — as a freelance photographer.

When he moved here, he worked a number of sales jobs before — deciding to devote himself to photography again full time in 2001.

Werfel said while he misses going to San Francisco Giants — baseball games and good Chinese food, he loves what Ashland has to offer — him and his family.

"I like the diversity and cultural here," Werfel said. — "I also like the small town feel. We can go out at night for a walk and — not worry."

For more information on Werfel and his work, go to www.robwerfelphoto.com.