Zooming in on Nature
Woodlands Area Artist Julie Caprette Refines Her Focus
When Julie Caprette was nine years old, her parents planned a cross country trip from her native Ohio to Los Angeles to visit relatives. Some very astute and thoughtful friends of the family who had previously traveled with children packed Julie a gift for each day on the road. Her gift on day one was a Kodak Brownie camera — just a brown box with a lens. Little did anyone know or intend, a spark was ignited in that little girl’s heart and mind. She was hooked.
But Julie had always been creative. Her first artistic recollection was using the paint left over from a paint-by-number gift to generate a painting from her own imagination. Her parents recognized her talent and encouraged her creative spirit by buying Julie a kit, and for many years, she enjoyed the creative process of painting.
As she grew older and became more focused on school, family and a 30-year career on the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Houston, Julie found that making time to paint was impractical. That’s when she decided that photography was the genre in which she could soothe the artistic urgings of her spirit.
“Photography allows a more instant gratification,” said Julie. “And although I don’t recall my first photo, it was likely some animal along the road during that family vacation.”
Julie, who is now retired, can easily take her camera with her and be ready for any opportunity that catches her eye. As her skill level increased, she was able to justify upgrading her equipment from the original Kodak Brownie. She moved through point and shoots to 35mm film cameras and finally to digital SLR cameras. Her focus, too, became more refined. She began zooming in to the wonder she found in nature.
“Not only can I capture a bird, butterfly or sunset in an instance, I can enjoy it and experience it again when viewing my photos,” she said.
Many times, re-examining one of her photos results in a holistic memory for Julie of the time and place where the image was captured. Additionally, she is satisfied artistically with sharing those moments with friends and family via calendars and greeting cards that she creates from her photos. She also recently collaborated with a friend who is a minister to produce an inspirational booklet using her friend’s verses and her own photos.
“My calendars, cards collections and also this book are projects which allow me to purposefully interpret my images,” explained Julie. “I am able to select those suitable for the different compilations.”
To select the images she features, she searches for the ones that hold the viewer’s attention and elicit the “wow” response. According to Julie, the best photos have the power to make someone step back and appreciate the natural world.
“When people view my photos,” said Julie, “I hope that the images will inspire awareness to conserve nature rather than destroy it.”
Julie’s intention is to capture the beauty, uniqueness and detail of nature and spotlight the individual subject as part of the greater picture. Her bird and greyhound collections are the most popular.
“Hummingbirds are unique and colorful, but the familiar birds are like old friends,” she said. The elegance and uniqueness of greyhounds make them interesting subjects, and Julie confirms that they are “awesome companions.”
She and her husband, who currently have three greyhounds, volunteer for Greyhound Pets of America-Houston, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds. Julie lends the group her photography skills and maintains its website. She also provides auction items for the group’s fundraising efforts, and she and her husband host a monthly meet and greet at Orvis in Market Street The Woodlands, where she also sells her work. The Caprettes and other volunteers take their dogs to the Meet and Greet where they introduce the breed to the public and provide information about ownership.
In addition to her love of greyhounds, Julie loves living in The Woodlands area. Her artistic eye can easily find a variety of photo opportunities.
“This part of Texas is prime for birding, especially during migration seasons. I love highlighting the abundance of nature we have right in our own backyards — so many birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants and more.”
Julie admits that choosing her best work is difficult.
“I have nailed it a few times,” she said. “My best work would inspire others, whether an appreciation of nature or adopting a greyhound or supporting greyhound adoption.”
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