Listening with My Eyes

12 04 2012

Sharon Lowe fell in love with capturing photos in nineteen ninety-five and has been at it ever since.  A native of Gloucester, Sharon has made the most of Cape Ann’s beauty and artistry by rendering what she sees through her view-finder.  Her photos behold the many angles and shades of life that we witness here everyday in our quaint fishing town;  Sharon captures these scenes with remarkable accuracy through her many lenses.

“Listening with My Eyes”  is something hard to understand until you see the photos that Sharon Lowe has collected throughout more than two decades of having a camera dangling from a strap in front of her.  Sharon has put together a montage of photos devoted to the local music scene.  Her knowledge of lighting is displayed though these photos;  Lowe’s ability to capture the perfect illumination gives the musicians an “ebony glow” which elicits a feeling of being right there in the room live and “Listening with the Eyes”.  Click the Fisherman at the Wheel to go to her photo-site “Listening with Your Eyes”.

Having a passion for photography, in my eyes, is a combination of many skill-sets, and a bit of luck to drive it home.  The skill-set involved in photography has to do with knowledge of lighting and motion and “adapting” camera settings to get the most out of the subject matter under varying conditions.  The better the mastery of your equipment, the more likely you are to produce an attractive photo that represents accurately the subject matter.

A good photo can be had with the most unlikely and inexpensive camera equipment if you are using that equipment within it’s own limitations.   A good light-source will really make your photos pop. When you begin to shoot with  cameras that accommodate peripheral attachments such as extended flashes, lenses of varying focal lengths, aperture and multiple settings, the beginning photographer may be overwhelmed.  With patience and much practice shooting in a manual setting mode will eventually allow the photographer to get a striking photo more often…diminishing the “luck” factor.  To take your photography to another level involves experimentation with other equipment such as large and medium format cameras and photo development in the dark-room.

Sharon has been continuously upgrading her equipment over the years, and has been making the most of her time with her cameras.  You can often times find her out shooting still images, at meetings shooting for publication and as mentioned above, at the local music venues around the area.

She is a photographer who truly enjoys her craft and  her accomplishments are beginning to mount.  In 1996 she won 1st and 2nd place in the Gloucester Daily Times’ Summer Sun Photo Contest.  She has won photo contests at Topsfield Fair, and was a winner at the Magnolia Art Show.  Sharon’s photos have been published in the book “Cape Ann:  a Photographic Portrait” and has had her photos grace CD covers.  She has displayed her craft at the First National Bank of Ipswich, Sovereign Bank and at the Sawyer-Free Library all here in downtown Gloucester.  Sharon also makes a point to shoot photos at the St. Peter’s Fiesta and has done so consistently since 1999.

So what motivates Sharon to keep a camera close by all of the time?  She says “I love being outdoors in every kind of New England weather. Capturing the crashing surf on the Back Shore, Nor’easters, and hurricanes are  some of the most exciting photo opportunities.   Cycling down to the Retreat House along Niles Pond , I find Nature in the quiet.”

Her favorite subjects for her photography are the many Cape Ann faces- young and old, Gloucester’s beauty, weather, musicians- She says “it is hard to say what exactly is my favorite to capture-I have so many settings that I enjoy.”

I asked Sharon if she had a “dream” scenario within her excitement for  photography.  Sharon states “I would have loved to have been a photojournalist during the ’60’s and ’70’s.   So much history!”

Photographers that inspire her are Nubar Alexanian, Stanley Forman, Edward Curtis.  With that she feels  she learns from every photograph that she views and enjoys photos of others no matter whether pro or amateur.

If you would like one of Sharon Lowe’s beautiful photo calendars click on the next photo and you will be taken to her website to place an order.  Click on other photos to see large images.


Click picture below to bring you to Sharon’s Photoblog site!









Keep up the great work Sharon!  See you “in the field”!


Live Your Dream

3 04 2012

A few years back, I remember watching a flag football game at a field in west Gloucester.   Many a former Gloucester High School star at one point or another has turned to flag football after the pads.   Gloucester High’s football team has always been known for their running game.  In this particular flag football game one of Gloucester’s finest tailbacks came reeling toward the side-line.  The tight-end kicked out the outside linebacker.  The speedy back cut inside the block, and then back out to the sidelines. There was nobody to catch him…except one player.   Dave Helfant shed his block and took to catching the speedy former GHS running back from behind.  I remember saying to myself, “whos is that guy?”

Mixed martial arts (MMA) has been around now for many years.  Gyms have popped up all over the country  training fighters  with the “most dangerous” strikes and techniques from the multitude of gyms.  Many a Martial Arts purist has looked at the sport of MMA as “not the real thing” as most martial artists immerse themselves in a form, knowing the endeavor will take a lifetime of training and then some.   Purists see the competitive nature of martial arts to be artificial-“the way” or “path” of many of the arts is just that;  a way of life that does not include competition for prize.

If you’ve never heard of it, Muay Thai is a form of the  martial arts.  Like boxing, karate, jujitsu and other forms of defensive training, there is a competitive side to Muay Thai.  Muay Thai has it’s origins in Thailand and is the national sport there.  Fighters begin training VERY young.  In Thailand it is not uncommon for a boy or girl to start fighting in the ring as young as eight years old.   A solid Muay Thai fighter that turns professional is a very dangerous competitor.  The fights can be hard to watch.

Helfant decided at age thirty-eight  that he would seek the true roots of a style of martial art, and he would choose Thailand to gain the wisdom and training that only those in the nation of origin can provide.  Not only is Dave learning the art, but he is taking on fights (part of the culture) with very talented Muay Thai fighters.

When Helfant returns to Cape Ann, he will have completed his third winter in Phuket, Thailand.  He has taken five fights there giving him a record of three wins and two losses.  He also has two knock-outs within that record.  He trains everyday at the “Dragon” Muay Thai training facility.  He is forty-two years old.

“Why go through with something like this so late in life?”  you may ask.  Dave Helfant is living his dream. When asked, he says, “I’ve done my share with the hard-knocks of life.  When I was younger, and unfocused I got into trouble.  My use of alcohol got me plenty of write-ups in the local newspaper.  Muay Thai training and fighting helps to keep me focused and productive towards a goal.  Taking this risk in my life has brought me opportunities that would not have been available to me back home.”