A Sterling Heights resident’s veteran eye for the perfect picture is being highlighted by the city of Sterling Heights.
The Sterling Heights Cultural Commission recently selected Dennis Calhoun as the city’s Featured Artist for August and September. During that period, his photography work is scheduled to be on display at City Hall and at the Sterling Heights Public Library.
Calhoun, 65, of Sterling Heights, said he was trained as a newspaper photojournalist and did some freelance work in the 1970s, but he later ended up being an editor of technical publications for the U.S. government. Now retired, he said he has immersed himself in the world of digital photography and all of the options it offers.
“I’ve been doing this for 43 years, and I still consider that I’m learning,” he said. “Part of the creative process is to take the initial photograph, and an equal part is what you do after.”
Calhoun said much of his photography involves nature, landscapes and wildlife. He said he has been to the jungles of Costa Rica and to Alaska, Hawaii and Ireland. He plans to photograph the Canadian Rockies in September and do some canyon hiking and photography in Utah in November.
“Now that I’ve retired, I can combine my love of travel with my love of photography,” he said.
One of his favorite photography projects involved a trip to Portland, Oregon, a couple of years ago.
“I enjoyed the city, and I went around taking pictures,” he said. “I put together 20 or so really sound photographs. It depicted the kind of craziness and weirdness and eccentric-ness of Portland, Oregon.”
Calhoun described digital photography as a great leap forward and said he took college classes to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop. He said he uses Photoshop to bring out the best color, to adjust contrast and to lighten or darken certain areas that aren’t balanced.
“I put a lot of emphasis on how to make high-quality photographic prints,” he added. “I think a big part of it is the quality of the actual photograph that you print.”
Calhoun said he doesn’t invest much time in selling his work, though he does display some of his work online.
“I’m just interested in creating the best images that I can as a hobby,” he said.
Helen Penberthy, whose daughter is married to Calhoun’s son, said Calhoun has a talent for photography. She added that skilled photography involves more than just a good camera.
“He really understands the ins and outs and is willing to share and help people along,” she said.
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