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Retired Counselor Finds Solace In Photo Art
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A photo art piece titled “Patiently Waiting” is one of many pieces that were displayed by photographer Denny Carl at Café Bliss. Teresa Hammond/The News

Retirement looks a lot different than Denny Carl might have imagined in 2011.

The former Riverbank High School teacher, activities director and counselor once envisioned a retirement filled with days on the green filling his golf card.

Instead he’s now filling his passport, as well as memory card as he travels with his wife and has taken to a lifelong love of photography.

“The day I retired, I went and bought myself a nice camera,” he said. “I always liked photography and art, so I bought a nice camera.”

A Southern California native and inspired by his love of watching surfing and volleyball, Carl shared he searched for a camera which could shoot several frames per second.

Once the purchase was made he attended a photography workshop in Sacramento. A choice which would result in multiple workshops attended as well as now taking on-line classes to fine tune his craft.

“I expected to be a beginner,” he said of the first workshop, adding he quickly learned his knowledge was a bit more vast than the beginner level.

“I just loved it. So I’d just go year after year,” he noted of the workshops. “I’ve just been learning.”

As the former high school counselor and activities director expanded his education and passion, he also began to travel with his wife. Documenting his travels through his lens, Carl also began experimenting with different development programs.

A medium which he’s become especially fond of is one which he refers to as photo art; part photo, enhanced and manipulated via computer program. By utilizing the program, Denny is able to take photographs he’s shot and create a painting effect on canvas.

Dedicating three to four days a week to his hobby, the photographer turned artist was recently approached about displaying his work on the walls of Café Bliss.

“This is almost scary for me,” he said of his artwork which graced the Café walls in May and June.

Denny admits while he has a website dedicated to displaying and featuring his categories of work, he’d never considered featuring it for sale.

“As long as it’s fun, I’m enjoying it,” he said, “and this is fun.”

On-line classes and networking with other professionals have also helped Carl fine tune his new trade.

“Some people look at art in different ways. If you didn’t actually paint it with a brush it’s not art,” he offered. “I don’t get into all of that.”

But not all works of love and labor are successes, the photo artist shared. Yet he doesn’t allow it to dissuade him in pursuit of something fun and special.

“Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I don’t,” he stated. “I rarely scrap anything.”

With area coffee shops serving as his “office” and inspiration to continue his creativity, Carl shared he has multiple projects going at once and tends to find initial inspiration in the evenings.

“The key thing for me is I just love learning and I love being creative,” Carl confided. “I think I got a lot of that from my mom, because my mom taught me a lot of things to do.”

She always encouraged me to try different things.”

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Retired Riverbank High School counselor and activities director and Oakdale resident, Denny Carl, spends much of his time now in local coffee shops working on his hobby turned passion of Photo Art. Teresa Hammond/The News