The Duncan Banner
A few years back, Karen Slagle was involved in a retirement-charged conversation. While she still isn’t ready to go to pasture, the person leading the conversation told Slagle that when retirement time arrives, she should have something to do.
Slagle found that “something.”
Along with other City of Duncan employees Sonya Ables and Lisa Scifres, Slagle has discovered photography as a hobby. The three women use their time away from work to take photos, mostly of landscapes and various oddities.
“We get together and take pictures,” Slagle said. “We take little trips. We go out on Fridays when we’re closed and take pictures.
“Sometimes we take full days. I carry the camera everywhere I go.”
Ables got into photography while looking for a hobby and because she had a previous interest in handling a camera. Since starting, she has found a calling in shooting nature photos — and Ables’ camera has become an extra “appendage.”
“I never leave home without my camera,” she said. “I enjoy taking nature pictures more than anything. It’s relaxing after a stressful day of work.”
Photography has a social aspect that attracted Scifres. Aside from taking photos with friends and co-workers, Scifres enjoys taking pictures of people.
“I enjoy meeting lots of new people, making lots of new friends,” Scifres said. “We went on a retreat with a lot of area photographers. I’d like to do that again.”
Scifres said got involved in photography because she could see how much Ables enjoyed it, and of the three, she’s the one who most enjoys portrait photography.
Photography impacts their daily lives. They see the world through the lens of a camera, even if the camera isn’t in front of them. They see what would make a good photo.
All three find enjoyment in taking shots of inanimate objects and subjects. They have traveled around the state, taking back roads to Oklahoma City, heading to a state park in Sulphur or hitting up Medicine Park and the Wichita Mountains.
Still, many of their favorite photo spots are close to home.
“I got some of my best pictures at (Lake) Humphreys,” Slagle said. “The Duncan lakes have a lot to offer for photography.”
Scifres is often on the lookout for great photo opportunities, and doesn’t have to be on a trip to find something worth photographing.
“I like to take pictures everywhere, even in my backyard,” she noted. “Whatever catches my eye.”
Anywhere the trio goes with their cameras, photos are almost certain to be taken. Last month, they participated in Western Fall Fest and each took photos of longhorns and a multitude of moments from the event.
Slagle and Ables are used to interacting with other artists, although most of those artists use paints instead of camera. Both are members of the Duncan Art Guild.
The three photographers compete in competitions, including the Stephens County Free Fair photography contest. Ables won Best in Show at a crapremyrtle photo show for the Duncan Beautification Committee.
Slagle said digital photography has been a benefit to each woman. Not only can the photos be put online and travel anywhere with an Internet connection, the photographer has the ability to see the photos while taking more.
“You can take as many photos as you want and delete the ones you don’t like,” Slagle said. That gives her the ability to take random photos and experiment without worrying about wasting film.
“The spur of the moment photos are the one that I usually like most,” she added.
Photography may only be a hobby for Slagle, Ables and Scifres, but it’s become an important part of their lives. It doesn’t matter what they’re taking photos of — be it the Rock Island 905, flowers, a round red barn in Arcadia or Slagle’s soon-to-be born grandson — it’s all about having a good time.
“I just really have a lot of fun,” Slagle said. “I enjoy it. It’s a stress relief. And I get to spend time with the girlfriends.”