Local photographer Steve Owen says it’s no accident that he became serious about photography around 2007. As a real estate agent who was running his own company, the economic recession hit his industry hard, and life got pretty stressful. “We couldn’t give a house away, much less sell it!” Owen said. His office at the time was located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, and Owen would escape into the tranquility of the woods with his camera and tripod. “When I was standing in the middle of a stream taking pictures, I was totally in that moment…no thoughts of what was happening in the world,” he said. Photography, for Owen, is still as much about being in nature as it is about taking a photograph. “It is about being aware of my surroundings – the light, the colors, the textures,” he said. “I often return from shooting without capturing a ‘keeper.’ But I never return regretting having been there.” Not surprisingly, Owen is primarily a landscape photographer, which makes Transylvania County an ideal place for him to live. Some of his favorite subjects are shooting the sunrise and sunset from the Blue Ridge Parkway. He also loves getting in the streams and taking long exposures of water flowing, and, of course, waterfalls. The colors of autumn, he said, enhance all of his favorite subjects. Owen is not a professional, but describes himself as a serious hobbyist. He doesn’t show his work in a gallery, although he has several on display at his real estate office at Beverly-Hanks & Associates in Brevard. He also has samples of his work on his website, www.steveowenphotography.com. Owen shoots a Canon 5D Mark III, a full-frame DSLR. His “go-to” lens is a Canon 24-70 f.28, which he uses about 75 percent of the time. His other favorite is a Canon 70-200 2.8, and, for wide angle work, he uses a 16-35 2.8. He always shoots in RAW, and almost always shoots in “manual” mode. As a landscape photographer who shoots long exposures, Owen’s tripod – a Feisol CT-3372 with a BH-55LR ball head – is another indispensible tool. “This is a very sturdy combination, but lightweight,” he said. Owen offers the following tips for shooting autumn color photographs: •Use a polarizing filter. •Take advantage of the golden light of early morning and late afternoon. •If shooting during the middle of the day, find shade or subdued lighting. •Don’t let fog or rain deter you from shooting – it is Owen’s favorite time. •Water and fall colors are a great combination. •Don’t focus on the big picture – look for the pictures within the picture. •Don’t rush – take time to be aware of your surroundings and decide what story you want your photo to tell.