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Mission accomplished

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Jay and Susan Newman have photographed the macro and the micro of Southern Oregon, and earlier this year they published a book of their color photography, "Deep Blue Volcano: Exploring Crater Lake."

It was the second book of Crater Lake photos they've worked on -- the first was "Crater Lake: the Land of Fire and Ice," a collaboration with naturalist Jim Turner.

The Newmans will speak about their work and show their photography at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at a meeting of the Southern Oregon Photographers Association, at Twin Creeks Retirement Center, 888 Twin Creek Crossing, Central Point.

Jay Newman was captivated with the idea of Crater Lake when he first saw a poster showing that deep, mysterious blue water. He was set to move to Medford in 1996 to open the new Kinkos store, and the poster was at his going away party.

“I remember thinking, wow, I’ve never seen water as blue as this. As soon as I saw that poster, Crater Lake became a mission,” remembers Jay. “It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It knocked me on my butt the first time I saw it. Literally.”

It would be a few years before Jay could share his passion for Crater Lake with his wife, Sue. They met in 2006 by way of an online photography forum where Jay and Sue fell in love with each other’s nature photography. They emailed for a while, and the first time they spoke on the phone, Jay, who was standing in Ashland Creek talking with Sue in Massachusetts, asked her to marry him. Today they live in Ashland, where they are as committed to each other’s photography as they are to each other.

“Deep Blue Volcano” is a hardcover book of about 130 pages, filled with color shots of Crater Lake, Northern California and Southern Oregon. They shoot with a Nikon D7100 and love the sharpness and sensors of the camera.

“We’re not gearheads, we don’t have awesome equipment,” Sue says with a shrug. “We’re two people who have day jobs and do this whenever we possibly can.”

Accessibility is the key word for both Jay and Sue, something they’re conscious of as age and impairment take their toll on mobility. Neither of them are consumed with the idea of a once-in-a-lifetime shot, somewhere no one has ever been before. They shoot wherever they are, and the place they most love to be is outside, where they find the everyday glories of a landscape bigger than the eye can see — or something so tiny it takes a lens to bring out the detail.

“What we try to do is to capture a scene in a way regular people can appreciate it,” Jay adds. “We like finding accessible places that anybody can get to, viewpoints, easy trails and make honest pictures that others might see on their walks. We try to capture what we see and hope it helps people connect with the images better.”

The Southern Oregon Photography Association meets twice a month on first and second Tuesdays at 7 p.m. from September through May at Twin Creeks. SOPA meetings are open to the public.

SOPA started in 1961 as a way for Rogue Valley photographers to share their work.

At the first meeting of the month, members submit their photographs for competitive judging. At the second meeting, participants see the work of invited speakers such as the Newmans, share experiences of equipment and software, and enjoy the company of others who have a passion for photography.

“SOPA’s all about education and to motivate and inspire people about photography,” says Terry Tuttle, who manages the SOPA website and handles publicity. “I joined 15 or 20 years ago, and I should have joined sooner because it was good to see other people’s work, have some criticism of your own work, and encourage you to stretch your own work.”

While club meetings and events are open to all, only members can submit images for club competition. Monthly image competitions have a topical focus — animals for February, water for March and reflections for April. Members can submit prints in any of four categories and also in the electronic image category. Images are judged and the highest-scoring images are sent to a larger club competition.

“Deep Blue Volcano: Exploring Crater Lake” is available for $16.95 at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland and is also in stock at the Ashland Artisan Emporium at 1670 Ashland St. The Newmans exhibit their framed photography at the Ashland Artisan Emporium.

For more information about SOPA, see SOPACameraClub.com.

To see more of the Newmans’ photography, see NewmanImages.com or NewmanImages.SmugMug.com.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Maureen Flanagan Battistella at mbattistellaor@gmail.com.

Cover, Deep Blue Volcano: Exploring Crater Lake by Jay and Sue Newman
Ashland, Oregon