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There are a lot of neat things about The Republic, but one that really jumps out are the photos. We have two terrific staff photographers in Joe Harpring and Andrew Laker. But we also have dozens of amateur photographers who add to the newspaper’s visual appeal through “Take Your Best Shot,” a daily anchor on Page A2.
“It’s one of the first things I look at in the newspaper,” Republic reader Barb Garton told me Wednesday.
That morning, a photograph she submitted of Barnegat Bay in New Jersey was our “Best Shot” selection. The bay is where fresh and salt water meet in the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s also a personal connection. The bay falls under the responsibility of her daughter-in-law, Jill Lipoti, who is director of the division responsible for water monitoring and standards within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Barb and Bob Garton, 53-year Columbus residents, visit that part of New Jersey from time to time and enjoy having a waterfront meal with their son, Brad, a professor at Columbia University, and his wife, Jill.
It was Barb Garton’s second Barnegat Bay “Best Shot” photo to be published in The Republic. A lighthouse photograph she took there was featured about this time last year.
Years earlier, she took and submitted a “Best Shot” photo of a double rainbow right after a hailstorm following the 85th anniversary celebration of the Bartholomew County Historical Society.
When she sees an image that strikes her, Garton just reaches into her purse and pulls out her pocket-sized, 16-megapixel Nikon Coolpix.
The image published Wednesday, a sunset view of Barnegat Bay, was exquisite. In fact, it looked more like an oil painting than a newspaper photograph.
She’s dabbled in that, too. As an artist, Garton started in oils, then drifted into watercolor. She’s also done courtroom sketching.
But her interest in photography dates back to elementary school days, when this girl from St. Louis would follow her dad, Alfred Hicks, down to the family’s basement darkroom. It’s there she learned how to develop negative film, mix chemicals and make photo prints, gently shaking them in trays until the photo-paper image was precisely right.
Hicks, a symphony musician and one-time conductor of the St. Louis Philharmonic, was a hobby photographer himself.
Even before she got into photography, Garton’s interest and skill in music were evident, giving her first piano recital at age 4. By age 10, she was playing with the orchestra.
As an adult, she took photography classes at the Ivy Tech Columbus campus, learning from instructor Jonathan Wilson. Her involvement at Ivy Tech is well-known, serving 24 years as chairwoman of the Columbus Region Board of Trustees.
She’s also taught herself a thing or two in photography, such as learning how to use Photoshop software.
That came in handy when Garton was creative director for Cosco’s in-house advertising agency.
Her employer was the world’s largest manufacturer of car seats for children. Today, we know it as Dorel.
Back then, Garton would scan fabric, then put it on a car seat — before it was even manufactured.
Now retired, her photo images are more likely to be of people, such as family portraits for holiday cards, and nature scenes, like the kind she submits for “Take your best shot.”
“Have you improved your presses? Improved the color?” she wondered.
“They’re just lovely,” Garton says of the “Best Shot” photos that she and other amateurs have submitted and seen published each day in The Republic.
The newspaper presses are not exactly new, but we do work each day on quality controls to keep the photos looking sharp.
We are also working to add to our cadre of photo contributors, and I hope you’ll take a “shot” and share it with us.
Email your photo as an attachment to editorial@the
republic.com. Include your name, where you’re from and some information about the photograph.
But before you send it along, make sure it is a full-sized photograph, 200 dpi (dots per inch) or 2,000 pixels on its longest side. In other words, don’t press the “reduce for email” button when about to send the email.
Share it just as it comes out of your camera as a JPEG. I will look forward to seeing it, and I’m certain our readers will, too.
Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. His column appears each Sunday. You may reach him by phone at 379-5665 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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