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Eye on the Wild

Local photographer's books illuminate faraway landscapes.

August 19, 2000|ANN SHIELDS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If you wonder what it's like to photograph polar bears in the northern wilderness of Canada, just ask local photographer Tim Hauf. His "Little Trees, Big Sky--Portrait of a Northern Wilderness" became a six-year project, involving at least five trips into Manitoba in central Canada.

Hauf, who currently manages a citrus ranch in Somis, took up photography in the early 1990s after a few weekend workshops and seminars. He published his first book, "Channel Islands National Park--A Photographic Interpretation," in 1996 and has also published a line of note cards and calendars.

The Channel Islands book, in its second printing, is available at the visitors center at the park, as well as Barnes & Noble for $29.95 hardcover or $19.95 softcover.

He became involved in the Manitoba project after meeting someone who was putting together tours in Churchill, Manitoba. Each trip led to others.

"What I try to convey in my photography is the feeling of what a place is like," Hauf said. "I do that by taking my time, getting to know a region pretty well. How a lot of my photos fall into place is that I let them happen. I don't go with a specific idea in mind--I go with the idea to let the photos present themselves."

The polar bear shots were taken from a special vehicle which keeps adventurers reasonably safe from the animals. Hauf described it as an open-air school bus mounted on giant wheels, which puts observers 10 feet away from the ground--and the bears. He also photographed a lodge, from which the vehicles take guests from place to place to see the bears.

Conger Beasley Jr., who wrote the text for the Manitoba book, described Hauf as a North Dakota farm boy with a fabulous eye for detail. Nothing escapes his attention, he said.

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Because the Ventura County citrus ranch he has managed for the past 20 years was sold recently, Hauf said he plans to pursue photography full time. Meanwhile, his books and artwork may be purchased through his Web site at www.timhaufphotography.com or in Ventura at Garden Memories, 424 E. Main St., Northwind Studios, 2437 E. Harbor Blvd., and Harbor Books, 1591 Spinnaker. The Manitoba books costs $34.95 hardcover or $24.95 softcover.

Beasley, who travels extensively from his home base in Kansas City, Mo., has collaborated on several guidebooks about western history and landscape. However, his most notable book has been "We Are a People in This World: The Lakota Sioux and the Massacre at Wounded Knee," which won the 1996 Western Writers of America Spur Award for the best contemporary nonfiction book published in 1995. It also received the 1996 Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

"I enjoy working with photographers, sharing their vision, trying not to explain their pictures, but to write a text that can stand alongside it," Beasley said.

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In another collaborative effort, artist-illustrator Susan Guevara used her imagination to complement the work of author Gary Soto in the children's book "Chato and the Party Animals" (G.P. Putnam & Sons; $15.99).

Chato means flat-nosed or pug-nosed, and Guevara said her character is a lowriding chato gato--or lowriding pug-nose cat. She will talk about her art at a book signing from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Friday at Adventures for Kids in Ventura.

Collaboration is like a marriage, she said--if the publisher has done a good job arranging the union between author and illustrator, the author should be pleasantly surprised. Still, it's miraculous when the images the author has depicted with words come alive with someone else's pictures, she said.

"I flat out chose to become an illustrator as opposed to a writer years ago because I wanted to have more say over the final outcome of the book," Guevara said.

A California native, she studied painting at the San Francisco Art Academy and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium. She won the Pura Belpre' Award for "Chato's Kitchen" for illustrations depicting the Latino experience in the United States.

HAPPENINGS

* Today: Storytime for children in grades K-3 featuring stories from the PBS series "Reading Rainbow." Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., 446-2820.

* Monday: 7 p.m. How to Think Like Da Vinci Group, based on Michael J. Gelb's book. Borders, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Tuesday: 4:30 p.m. People and Places will feature the art of author/illustrator Eric Carle. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 446-2820.

* Tuesday: 7 p.m. Poetry workshop facilitated by Pepperdine University professor Michael Collings. Borders, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. Storytime about being healthy and strong. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., 339-9170.

* Wednesday: 4 p.m. The Bubblegum for Your Brain Book Group will focus on "Running Out of Time" by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Borders, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. Teen finance guru Jay Leibowitz will discuss and sign his new guide, "Wall Street Wizard: Sound Ideas From a Savvy Teen Investor." He also will join Michael Saunders, vice president of investment with Paine Webber, for a discussion on teens and the stock market. Borders, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 8 p.m. Poetry workshop for seasoned poets or newcomers meets the second and third Wednesdays of the month. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 339-9170.

* Friday: 1:30 p.m. Illustrator Susan Guevara will talk and demonstrate her art. Book signing to follow. Adventures for Kids, 3457 Telegraph Road, 650-9688.

Information about book signings, writers groups and publishing events can be e-mailed to anns40@aol.com or faxed to 647-5649.

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