There is a vast and breathtakingly beautiful valley in northern Utah, surrounded by the the awe-inspiring peaks of the Bear River mountains of the Wasatch Range. Cache Valley isn’t just a mystical place depicted on your favorite cheese. Its a real place. Nestled alongside the long and winding Bear River, there is a small, quaint, friendly town called Amalga.
Two of the nicest PAC members you can ever hope to meet are in Amalga. Keith Hambly and his lovely wife Vicki are lucky enough to live in this magical setting. Recently, I asked Ketih if he would share a bit about his photography journey with all of us. Enjoy!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how photography fits into your life.
Keith: I live in northern Utah in a small community that's named Amalga. Its population is about 400 people. I live with my best friend and wife Vicki who also shares the same passion for photography that I do. The fun part about that is we can always plan our adventures together with cameras in tow. We also have friendly competitions about who can get the best shot of the same subject. We have the Bear river in our backyard, which brings a ton of wildlife. As I am writing this I am watching 2 Eagles fish the river. We also have 3 horses to take care of.
Photography is a big part of our everyday lives, even though we both hold down full-time jobs we are continually shooting together. We are continually helping each other out whether it be on a family photo shoots, Bridals, portraits, at a wedding, or just sharing ideas while we are out shooting landscapes or wildlife. A good portion of the pictures we post are taken in our backyard.
Q. What originally got you started?
Keith: I have always had a passion for photography, I got my first camera when I was six years old. All throughout high school I was constantly taking pictures then making slideshows. In 1978 I was planning on going to live in Finland for a couple of years. That is when I got my first SLR and really started learning what photography was about. Finland was such a beautiful place, I pretty much spent all my spare money on film. When I came back and started showing people my work that I had done, I started getting requests to shoot weddings. From there it has just evolved into what I am doing now.
Q. What has most heavily influenced your photography? Has your creative vision evolved over time?
Keith: I entered a few photo contests and started getting some recognition that is probably when I realized that maybe my pictures were OK. Then came the challenge to make a better picture. If I received some sort of award, then I would study and plan on how to make the next shoot better.
I want my pictures to tell a story or capture emotion. For a long time, I would just point and shoot, then I realized that photos could capture emotion. That makes it a real challenge. But a far better reward.
Q. What are three key characteristics of your work?
Keith: I have a real passion for shooting wildlife. If I can capture an animal in its element so that it's not watching me I think that's a success. I have a real passion for shooting waterfalls. I really like to make the water look all calm and dreamy. I have a real passion for sunrises I love to get up early and capture the vivid colors of an early morning sunrise.
Q. In your opinion; how important are "the tools"?
Keith: I have piled up rocks and used them for a tripod for certain things, only because I have forgotten to carry one. Using your tools and having them with you is always helpful.
Q. What emotions or reactions do you hope to generate with viewers of your work?
Keith: I just want people to be happy. If they look at my pictures and it brings them some joy that's a great day.
Q. Have you had the opportunity to help or mentor other photographers?
Keith: Over the past few years being involved in PAC I've had many opportunities to share my knowledge. I feel I have been able to help many upcoming photographers learn more about the trade.
Q. How long have you been a member of PAC?
Keith: I have been a member for a little more than three years. During that time, I've had many opportunities to form friendships with other photographers, and have been able to share many ideas, critiques, and receive feedback.
Q. Outside of photography, what other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
Keith: I am a member of the Cache County Sheriff search and rescue. That in itself is almost a full-time job. But I have a real passion for helping other people especially those in need in the back country. We go on approximately 50 missions a year. I could go on and on about that but it is a different subject.
Q. What never fails to inspire you to pick up your camera?
Keith: We are very fortunate to live where we do. If I look out the window and see some wildlife or see some pretty color in the sky or just some odd colored light, I am able to grab my camera run outside and shoot without having to travel anywhere.
Check out more of both Keith and Vicki’s work on their website, AmalgamatedPhotography.com. Be sure to follow them on social media and strike up a conversation together in the PAC group online!
[About the author:] Cusi Taylor is a photographer, educator and studio owner in Phoenix, Arizona. As Vice President of Photographer's Adventure Club, she enjoys bringing people together to Connect, Explore, Create and Improve in all areas of their photography. Cusi is also proud to be a member of the Lumix Luminary Team and shoots the G-series of Micro Four Thirds cameras, primarily the Lumix GX8.