TAKING PICTURES can be a lot of fun, but for Jay Taylor, the fun begins after the shoot. The Long Reach resident focuses on developing his own film and coloring his black-and-white prints by hand.
"It's a neat thing to go out and take a photo and print it out and make it the tone you want. That's the fun part of it," he said.
More than 50 years after his exposure to the art, the fun has not faded.
Taylor, who declined to reveal his age, took up photography while a student at Hampton University in Virginia - but not for fun. He learned the skill to pay tuition.
"It was a survival-type thing. I had to do something," he said. He worked as an apprentice to the college photographer and things just clicked. "I fell in love with photography," Taylor said.
A career in photography did not pan out right away. Taylor spent 20 years in the Army and another 18 as an industrial engineer with Hechinger's. But he always found time for his hobby.
"On missile sites, I'd set up a darkroom and teach the crewmen to do photography," said the former missile site commander.
After retiring from the military and later from Hechinger's, Taylor's hobby developed into a career. He ran a photography club at Fort Meade for two years before volunteering to set up a darkroom at Columbia Art Center in 1996.
He teaches at the art center, most notably a workshop on hand-coloring photographs. "It's a dying art" because of the advent of color film, Taylor said. But he likes the artistic effect of the oil tints on black-and-white photographs, especially for portrait shots. "I can color it any color I want to. You can use your imagination," Taylor said.
Despite his enthusiasm for traditional methods, the veteran photographer keeps up with the times. He recently purchased a digital camera and a printer. "You have to get into digital because that's the way photography is going," he said.
Taylor acknowledges that his students might not use darkroom and hand-coloring skills in the digital future, but he hopes that his hands-on classes hook potential shutterbugs. "I would like to see some photographers come out of this," he said.
Taylor's two-day workshop, "Hand Coloring of Photographs," will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 10 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 11 at Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth in Long Reach village. The cost is $135 for Columbia residents; $140 for others. Students must have darkroom experience.
Information and registration: 410-730-0075.
Jason Unger, a senior at Oakland Mills High School, was honored at the Howard County Partnership Awards Ceremony held Jan. 22 in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. He is the son of Judith and Ray Unger.
"I was recognized for helping to lower substance abuse in the county," said Jason, 17.
Jason serves on two committees that aim to reduce substance use. As a member of Peer Leaders Of Oakland Mills, he advises freshmen about high school life and avoiding peer pressure and drugs. He also was one of two teen members of the Delta Project, a county task force set up to analyze substance use in Howard County and suggest solutions.
"He is very serious, but at the same time I think he's a typical teen," Judith Unger said. She was impressed by her son's commitment to the Delta Project, which required him to attend biweekly meetings and interact with community leaders, including County Executive James N. Robey and State's Attorney Marna L. McLendon.
Robey noted that, because drug use involves so many young people, the committee benefited from the teen's insight. "Jason represented [his peers] extremely well," Robey said.
Math teacher Emma Ames, coordinator of PLOOM, said Jason is comfortable working with adults and teens. "He is mature enough and willing to speak out. He has strong convictions about drug and alcohol abuse," she said.
You might think that a person retiring from the library would be somewhat tired of books. But not Pat Bates, coordinator for Maryland Center for the Book, who will retire next week after 15 years.
"The one thing I'm looking forward to the most is reading," said Bates, who also is adult program coordinator for Howard County libraries. Her job keeps her so busy, she said, that she has not had time to read just for fun.
"It's like the shoemaker whose kids go around barefoot," she said.
Bates intends to visit her grandchildren, but even her road trips will have a literary flair. "I can just get in the car and listen to a book on tape, and book on up there," she said.