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Photography provides chance to travel, contest winner says

By Jessica Priest
April 16, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated April 15, 2014 at 11:16 p.m.

Fain Zimmerman, of Victoria, won honorable mention in the animals category in the DeWitt County Shutterbugs photo contest. Pictured is Oxpecker and Giraffe.

Fain Zimmerman, of Victoria, won honorable mention in the animals category in the DeWitt County Shutterbugs photo contest. Pictured is Oxpecker and Giraffe.

Tom Savage was in Zimbabwe when he snapped the shot that won him best of show in the DeWitt County Shutterbug's annual photography contest.

The 71-year-old Fort Worth man retired from engineering airplanes 10 years ago.

Now, he travels around the world.

In his best of show photograph, titled The Actor, Savage did not know who the boy was or even what he was saying. Savage fished out his camera when he saw the boy do a little jig on his way to the principal during a school assembly and then caught him making an impassioned speech about the AIDS epidemic.

"I guess the thing that allowed it to win was just the expression on his face and his body language," Savage said.

Savage's photo and others will be on display from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday until May 1 at the Cuero Public Library, 207 E. Main St.

Savage first picked up a camera when he was 12 years old. His uncle brought him a cheap Japanese copy of a German Rolleiflex when he came back from serving in World War II.

"Right after I got the camera, I visited some family friends that have a ranch where they made western movies and TV shows in the '50s. I took pictures of the actors," he said.

Savage's favorite subject is wildlife, though. He fondly recalls how one of his photos of grizzly bears in Alaska was shown at the Smithsonian for a year. He wasn't scared of the creatures when standing 6 feet away wearing high boots, he said.

"The bears are fishing for salmon and don't care about you. They're too busy making a living and trying to raise their babies," Savage said, adding photography opens doors.

"You get to meet people from all over the world. ... It's an excuse to get out," he said.

The DeWitt County Shutterbugs, which has put on the contest for about 17 years, handed out about $1,000 in cash prizes.

This year, participation was a bit down; there were 377 entries compared to last year's estimated 400, but the quality of entries continues to improve, said competition chairwoman Marsha Gibson.

Gibson also submitted her work to be judged and won second place in the flowers/plants category for her picture of red tulips.

"It was a potted plant of tulips, and they had gotten limp. The photo really turned out interesting. It looks like they're dancing," she said. "It's been a wonderful journey and a huge learning curve. I never tire of making images."

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