GIVING IT THEIR BEST SHOT
For The Observer
Do you ever feel like the music is in you, and it's just got to come out?
You find yourself drumming out a beat or humming a little tune. Sometimes you try to whistle or play a song in your mind. Then again, you sing like there's no one around Â— it makes you feel so good.
Linda Bauck and Linda Eytchison feel that way about their photography. And although they may not hum, drum or whistle, they let their music come out each time they do a photo shoot.
These women look at their cameras as a musician might look at his instrument, with understanding and mastery.
Using their expertise, Bauck and Eytchison have orchestrated a first-time DVD of the Wallowa Valley Â— a scenic byway, with photos, narration and music.
"We tried to capture the essence of the valley from the Minam to the banks of the Imnaha River, to as far as Hat Point," says Eytchison. "It's not just pretty pictures, but a mix of people and where they spend their daily lives."
The idea for the DVD came from Vicki Searles, executive director of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce, after she'd viewed another DVD of the Eagle Cap Wilderness that Bauck and Eytchison had commercially produced for the U.S. Forest Service.
"We've really needed a photographic showcase of the county," says Vicki, "and these two talented businesswomen were great to step up to the challenge. Both gals are committed to the idea of proving their products, and are always willing to help in promoting Wallowa County's treasures."
Bauck, who is the curriculum director at Wallowa County ESD, and Eytchison, of Tules Northwest, a business in graphic design and photography, liked Vicki's idea from the beginning. They put their heads together, and with a "whole bunch of input from one another" Â— words from Linda E Â— designed a cover, wrote the narration and edited the photos.
Molly Murrill, also active in the photo club, read the narrative interpretation. Henry Kinsley added his musical talents. With Bauck's computer skills, using movie-making software, the new product was completed within nine months.
"The DVD is not an editorial, nor a journalistic piece," says Bauck. "It's a series of postcards put together in a driving tour of the county."
Bauck and Eytchison have more in common than just their first names, and their membership in the photo club. They work as a team in conducting digital PhotoShop classes during the fall and winter months, enjoy traveling together on photo shoots, and have become good friends.
Linda Bauck was born and raised in the town of Wallowa, a fifth generation of McCraes. After graduation from Eastern Oregon College, she returned to her hometown and taught fifth and sixth grade for 18 years. She married, and raised four children.
Bauck, who leads the photo club as president, joined the group eight years ago. Her interest in photography began with a couple of old, but good, pictures she'd taken and saved.
"I'd snapped hundreds of family photos, but only two caught my eye as possessing color and composition," says Bauck. "I wanted to learn how to take those kinds of photos all the time."
She laughed at herself as she continued. "It took all the courage I could muster to walk into my first photo club meeting with such a lack of knowledge, and my antique camera."
For two years, Bauck followed in the footsteps of Mozelle Workman, who was an excellent photographer.
"She was my mentor," says Linda B. "Mozelle showed me how to use a
Linda Eytchison came to Wallowa County from California with her parents in the 1970s. With a college degree in accounting, she worked for various businesses, and also owned and operated Lin Lee Kennels. While employed part-time at the Wallowa County Chieftain, she became interested in graphics, which led to a partnership with Molly Murrill in EM Productions, dealing in graphic design.
Eytchison's interest in photography came in the 1980s when she begged to join a class taught by Doris Woempner, the original founder of Wallowa Valley Photo Club.
"All I owned was a point-and-shoot 35 mm camera," says Eytchison. "The classes were black and white, darkroom and film, but Doris took me under her wing and taught me well."
As one of Woempner's students, Eytchison became a charter member of the club.
Digital PhotoShop classes through Blue Mountain Community College began two years after Bauck and Eytchison were pursued by first-time digital camera owners.
"We tried a workshop or two, and discovered it was a good thing," says Bauck. "Linda and I also found that we worked well together, and our skills complimented each other."
Eytchison leads the instruction and provides demonstrations. Bauck provides assistance and takes care of computer technology.
"It's a half-day workshop targeted for beginners," says Eytchison. "We focus on what the student wants, and go from there."
As members of the photo club, Eytchison and Bauck are part of an enthusiastic group of community-minded citizens. The club produces a scenic calendar, annually, and has created a screen saver and a 35-page Wallowa Valley booklet that sells to fund projects such as exhibits at county fairs, scholarships for youngsters and slide presentations to groups. The club is now working on an economic development DVD.
Not women to rest on their laurels, Bauck and Eytchison are on the road again doing photo shoots in the Hells Canyon National Recreational Area.
"Our cameras are by our sides wherever we go," says Eytchison. "We're ready to grab and shoot."
Both women, who love living in Wallowa County, agree that it's fun to travel and discover new vistas, but after being gone a while Â— to Hermiston, Baker, Portland or anywhere Â— it's good to come home.
"When you drive across the county line at the bottom of the Minam grade," chimes the two gals, "there's music in the air, and it makes you want to sing."