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Al Parr

Retired SIU Carbondale employee Al Parr has always enjoyed the scenic natural beauty of Campus Lake, located in the southern part of the University's property, and its diverse flora and fauna. An avid walker, Parr began documenting his daily treks around the heavily wooded two-mile path in pictures and has since become well-known around the region as the Campus Lake "critter" photographer. Friends, family members, and acquaintances often comment on the special relationship that Parr has developed with his animal subjects, including a blue heron dubbed "Herman", who are so familiar with Parr that they seem to pose for him whenever the camera lens is pointed in their direction.

In the fall of 2011, WSIU InFocus caught up with Parr at the SIU Student Center where nearly 80 of his photos were on display. Parr, who uses a non-DSLR point-and-shoot camera with manual controls and macro settings, talks about his passion for photography and shares his favorite photo editing tips using Photoshop Elements. We also capture Parr at the exhibit as he talks with guests about basic photo techniques, such as using diagonals and having subjects look into the frame, as well as the rule of thirds/points of interest, which is made easier for Parr by the 9-quadrant grid on his camera. He also talks about the side business that has grown out of his photographic ventures. Parr is now selling his photos as cards and individual prints, and as part of his increasingly popular Campus Lake photo calendars, which are available at some local businesses, such as the Neighborhood Co-op Grocery, and at local events.

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