David Lowe The odds of being at the right place at the right time on two occasions would be similar to being twice hit by lightning, but far less …
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The odds of being at the right place at the right time on two
occasions would be similar to being twice hit by lightning, but far
Black Forest resident Karen Garbee is a world-class traveler and
avid photographer. She has traveled to Scotland, France, Japan,
Norway, England, Holland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Many
of these trips are family affairs with her husband and two
During each trip she averages between 400-500 photographs.
Garbee’s interest in photography was kindled while pursuing a
graphic arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in
The magical year of 2008 began in January with a family trip to
New Zealand. The trip was running the traditional pattern of
multiple photos. However, a photo taken of Milford Sound, one of
many waterfalls in New Zealand was different and would set the
stage for later events.
“In addition to the intriguing spray and texture of the water at
the base of the waterfall, there is also a striking image of an old
man’s face within the spray above the water’s point of entry,”
Garbee said. Garbee refers to the image as “Neptune’s Fury.”
Unbeknownst to Garbee, she had been at the right place, and at
the right time.
During the children’s spring break in 2008, the family decided
to visit Washington, D.C., to see the blossoming of the cherry
trees and to visit the Smithsonian Institution. Each family member
chose a different museum to visit.
One was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Depending upon the time of the year, the Smithsonian museums can
become quite crowded. One of the areas less crowded that fateful
day was the Windland Smith Rice Galleries. Giant poster photos
attracted them as well. Once in the galleries, Garbee was struck by
the “gorgeous, stunning photos.”
On the wall were instructions on how to enter the 2008 contest.
The family encouraged her to enter.
She submitted six photos consisting of eels, sunset, fox,
salamander, rock formations and what would become the winner —
She was notified in midsummer that she was a finalist.
The winning call came in September notifying Garbee that she had
won the prestigious Windland Smith Rice International Awards photo
competition for best in category, “Art in Nature,” in Nature’s Best
Photography Competition for 2008. There were 20,000 entries from
around the world for this year’s competition.
The 4-foot by 6-foot photo will be displayed at the
Smithsonian’s Museum of Nature and Science from November through
April 2009 as part of the exhibition of 40 award-winning images
representing the very best in nature photography.
Along with winning the prestigious international award, Garbee
receives $500, an etched glass plaque, and will attend a reception
to be conducted after the first of the year in Washington, DC.
The photo will be featured in Nature’s Best Photography magazine
2008 Fall Awards Special Collector’s Edition, available this
“This exhibition showcases work by seasoned pros as well as
amateurs. We enjoy discovering new talent as much as recognizing
the shooters we know and admire,” said Steve Freligh, Nature’s Best
Photography awards chairman. He said the exhibition offers
opportunities for the pubic to participate in it, because it is
open to photographers of all ages and levels of experience.
Although Garbee was at the right place at the right time; it
takes recognition and action to bring chance to fruition.
In addition to being a world traveler, and now an
internationally acclaimed photographer, she also knits, crochets,
quilts, does scrap booking, bakes, cooks and gardens.
The crowning accomplishment of her quilting was a three-year
project culminating in a hand-stitched quilt presented to her
daughter on her 16th birthday. The quilt was made from old dresses
the daughter had worn.
Garbee can be contacted by e-mail at Karen@gag.com.
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