Photographer Kristal Kraft feels a passion for nature that alters her perception of time.
“I could sit in one spot all afternoon shooting flowers around me,” said the Lone Tree photographer and real estate agent. “If it’s pretty, you’re not eating. You’re not doing anything, just capturing the light, taking pictures.”
Kraft’s photo of a Steamboat Springs-area schoolhouse will be among those featured at this year’s Lone Tree Photo Show, on display at the Lone Tree Arts Center from April 20 to June 9.
Kraft found kindred spirits in the Lone Tree Photography Club, co-presenters of the show along with the Lone Tree Arts Commission and Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.
Fellow club member and photographer Doug Bennett uses similar terms to describe the joy he finds in photography and the outdoors.
“The appeal is to just get out there and enjoy nature,” he said. “The photography side of it makes you really slow down and absorb what’s there.”
Bennett, a Colorado Springs resident whose work is sold in some of the city’s art galleries, also is a landscape photographer. His image of cattle and aspen at the base of 14,000-foot Mount Wilson will share wall space with Kraft’s and 91 other images during the show.
Bennett set up his equipment well before sunrise the day he took the featured shot.
“What I like about the scene is it really represents the height of Colorado,” he said. “The cows look very small. The aspens look very tall, but once you get to the top of the aspens, you’re only a third of the way up into the image, and here’s the towering Fourteener of Mount Wilson.”
The scene Kraft captured also was not happenstance; the weather that lent it its magical quality was. Kraft and two photographer friends went to Steamboat Springs to shoot, waking before sunrise to capture the best light.
“This particular morning, it was real cloudy and foggy,” she said. “We grabbed our cameras anyway and went out. Everything was crystallized and encased in ice. We were just going wild. Everywhere we looked was beautiful.”
The old one-room schoolhouse in its alpine setting took Kraft back to her childhood.
“All I could think of was snow day, which was the happiest day of a kid’s life,” she said.
Bennett, a contract consultant at Air Force Space Command, says the search for the perfect photo is always rewarding.
“Sometimes you go out there and you get skunked,” he said. “Nonetheless, being out there where it’s nice and still and quiet, and you’re all alone, that in and of itself is neat.”
The Photo Show opens with a cocktail reception from 3-5 p.m. April 20 at the arts center. Guests are invited to meet the photographers, sample hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, enjoy a string quintet performance by the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra, and purchase original works of juried images and photographers’ bin work images. They also can cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award, awarded at the close of the show.