• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Wildlife biologist Joe Lacefield to share visual memories at Midway library, Photo exhibit reception

Photographs are visual reminders of what wildlife biologist Joe Lacefield has observed in nature. Many happen in his own backyard along the Kentucky River in Clifton, where he will sometimes see a rare species of plant or animal.

“Really,” explains Lacefield, “all that we have at the end of our lives is our memories – and when you take a picture you’ve recorded that memory forever.” So he usually has a camera with him while on his job as a private lands wildlife biologist, but also whenever he’s traveling or spending time outdoors away from Kentucky.

“I see things that other people see, but don’t notice,” says Lacefield. Because of his visual knowledge in the woods, he adds, “I know every tree that I’m walking by, and whatever species of wildlife might be associated with that (tree).”

He will share some of his wildlife experiences and photographic memories during “Lacefield Art Exhibit: Nature through the Lens of a Biologist” at the Midway Branch Library today, Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m.

Lacefield, a lifelong outdoorsman and hunter, says he enjoys seeing and being around deer and turkeys. So he’ll typically spend more time “trying to get good pictures” of what he describes as “some of my favorite subjects.”

A very limited window of opportunity in good lighting means “you have to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot. So it is very time consuming,” says Lacefield.

“Sometimes, you just happen upon the right situation.”

A favorite photo captured the intensity of a coyote running toward Lacefield. He was standing in a cluster of briars with his camera on a tripod. “They’re intriguing animals … and very adaptable … They’re everywhere,” he says.

Another photo taken in Woodford County depicts a winter scene with a blue ash, which was struck by lightning a couple years ago.

“It’s no longer there. It burned completely down,” Lacefield says.

Reversing or use a special macro lens to focus on the tiniest aspects of the natural world allows him (with the aid of his camera) to “see so many things that you didn’t even know existed,” he says.

Lacefield remembers using a macro lens to capture a digital image of a spider beneath a web and later discovering he could see the spider’s reflection in every water droplet on the web. “If I’d known it was going to be anything near this,” he says, “I would’ve taken 30 photos instead of two.”

When Lacefield made the switch to a digital camera in 2006, he says, “I went from shooting a few hundred pictures a year to shooting 20,000 pictures a year.”

With three kids, he’s “not able to get out and shoot as much I’d like,” using his Nikon D7000, but he’s still documenting his memories and experiences in nature with photographic images.

“Yes, some of them are pleasing to the eye,” says Lacefield, “but I think the subject matter is what makes them special.” Photographs for “Nature through the Lens of a Biologist” will remain on exhibit at the Midway Branch Library through Feb. 8. Joe Lacefield says he got his first SLR (single-lens reflex) camera at Eastern Kentucky University, where he also took a class in photojournalism. This interest in photography was sparked years earlier by a science project at Millville School. Using an oatmeal container to make a camera, he became fascinated by the process of seeing a photo being developed from film

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