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Waynesboro man keeps hobby in focus

June 03, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - One of Denny Bingaman's favorite photos is of a barn owl landing on a stump at night.

It took hours to get the shot. Bingaman built a 35-foot high scaffold, put a blind on it and sat for more than six hours one night waiting for the owl to land on the stump.

"It sells a lot," said Bingaman, 51, of Iron Bridge Road.

His day job is building, remodeling and repairing houses. His avocation is nature photography - scenics, animals, a few flowers but mostly birds.

"I don't do weddings," he said.

Climbing trees and hiding in blinds is routine work when Bingaman takes his camera to the field.

"One time I built a scaffolding 65 feet high to get a shot of a red-tailed hawk's nest," he said.

"You have to study your subject to know about them," Bingaman said. "I read a lot of books on birds. If you know about them then you know their habits and you can get a good picture."

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Bingaman said he always had a flair for art and a sense of composition and color, even in school.

He began taking pictures of birds 15 years ago. He bought a Minolta camera and headed for his backyard, where most of his subjects are still found today.

"I didn't know anything about cameras at the time. I just read up about them," he said.

He soon learned he would need a bigger and better lens if he was to capture the essence of his subjects.

"I had a dinky little lens and it didn't work out," he said.

His first subject was a kingfisher on Antietam Creek.

"A lady called me and said she wanted to buy a print from it," he said.

He has the original photo of the kingfisher and is still selling prints from it.

He has also photographed wildlife at Yellowstone National Park.

"I shot hundreds of rolls out there," he said.

Bingaman has photographed wildlife in Arizona and Florida as well.

His customers range from individuals who learn of his work by word of mouth to national nature and wildlife magazines that feature his photos to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has bought more than 80 so far, mostly for use in brochures.

Magazines that buy his photographs include "Birder World," "Pennsylvania Wildlife" and "Nature Photographer," among others. His photos hang in the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Ariz.

He sells prints at a half-dozen wildlife art shows every year.

Bingaman has more than 15,000 slides in a closet in the photography studio he built behind his house. He turns the slides into 8- by 10-inch prints and larger ones he mats and frames in his studio.

Matted prints sell for $12; large framed ones for up to $275.

"I always liked looking at animals and birds, but I had no idea when I started that things would end up like this. I just seem to get busier year after year, but I'm going to keep on doing it," he said.

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