Photographer Jack Kurz shares work at Baltimore Woods
By Karen Jean Smith
A male and female bird working in concert to feed their young. A butterfly, with wings fully spread, resting on a colorful flower. These are among the “Uncommon Views”, an exhibit of bird and butterfly photographs by Jack Kurz, that will be on display in the Art Gallery at Baltimore Woods Nature Center from Jan. 5 through Feb. 22.
The gallery is in the John A. Weeks Interpretive Center at 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus. The public is invited to attend the reception on Saturday, Jan. 5 from 2 until 4 p.m. In addition, the show will be available for viewing on Monday through Friday, 9 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 to 4 p.m. There are no admission or parking fees, and all art work will be for sale.
For this exhibit, Kurz has captured moments in his photographs that we often miss, perhaps because we are distracted, we don’t know where to look, or the subject of our observation is too elusive.
Who among us has not had the experience of observing the activity of a butterfly, only to have it fly away before we can fully appreciate its color and pattern? And don’t we feel disappointment when we realize that a bird has moved so quickly that we missed its capture of prey? How then do wildlife photographers manage to produce their amazing photos? “You just have to be patient,” is the answer that Kurz will give you.
Kurz’s chosen subject matter might be surprising considering that he has had opportunities to enjoy a very wide perspective.
A lifelong resident of Central New York, he has traveled the world through his work with Carrier Corporation and has been very impressed by the beauty of many places, including the wine regions of South Africa and the Blue Mountains of Australia, to name a few.
However, if you ask him to name his favorite place, he will tell you that it is most assuredly, Otisco Lake, where his family had a camp when he was growing up, and where he and his wife have enjoyed their own place since 2005.
Several years ago, they added flowerbeds and landscaping to their property, and they began to notice the increased activity of birds, bees and butterflies. Kurz thereupon became intrigued with what he calls the “everyday beauty” of nature.
The variety of birds, along with their behavior patterns, have caused them to become Kurz’s favorite subject. He takes most of his photos at Otisco Lake or in the woods behind his home in Camillus, often setting up a blind so that he can go undetected while he waits for the most interesting moments.
Some would question whether the lengths that Kurz goes to are worth the trouble.
He recounts one hot day when he spied a Baltimore oriole in some blueberry bushes. He stood still with his camera at the ready for quite some time before he captured the images he wanted. The neighbors informed him that he had appeared to be an “idiot” standing there, but then he showed them the pictures he had taken. Impressed as they were, the consensus was that he wasn’t an “idiot” after all.
High school was where Kurz’s interest in photography began, but it was his wife’s gift to him of a professional quality lens for photographing wildlife that gave him the impetus to become serious about it.
He is, in large part, self-taught, with trial and error being a significant part of his learning process over a period of several years. Resources on the internet have also been a great help.
Those who see Kurz’s photographs will enjoy the sharp focus in his images, the beautiful color, and the stories of our natural world that each image conveys. There will also be text with many of the photos to further the viewer’s appreciation of each scene.