Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Timeless Beauty of Talbot Islands Slowly Captured by Camera's Lens

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Timeless Beauty of Talbot Islands Slowly Captured by Camera's Lens

Article excerpt

Stephen Conrad likes to take photographs the old-fashioned way.

His instrument of choice is a cumbersome large format field camera, which vaguely resembles the awkward boxes used at the dawn of photography to create the daguerreotypes that were the earliest photos.

His technique, he said, is to use the smallest possible f-stop in order to achieve maximum depth of field. This usually results in a very slow shutter speed, and his exposures can last anywhere from two seconds to up to a minute.

But the results can be stunning, as demonstrated by a new exhibit, "Stephen Conrad: The Talbots in Sight," at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The exhibit consists of photographs Conrad has taken at Big Talbot and Little Talbot islands, the barrier islands just north of the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Conrad's "painstakingly exposed and printed color photographs allow nature's time to linger, that viewers might fully contemplate what was, and what remains," said Ivy Bigbee, curator of art for the Karpeles.

The 33-year-old Conrad, who grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from Victory Christian Academy, became interested in photography while a student at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Influenced by the work of Ansel Adams, arguably America's greatest landscape photographer, Conrad began making frequent trips into the mountains of northern Georgia to take landscape photographs.

As he became more involved with photography, he made frequent trips to the Great Smoky Mountains, went twice to Maine and finally made a pilgrimage to Yosemite National Park, which had provided Adams with his subject matter.

But having returned to Jacksonville to live -- he works as a photographic printer at Fototechnika -- Conrad also grew interested, he said, "in my own back yard," particularly Big Talbot Island, which, "in its own way rivals any place on earth," he said. …

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