Jack Simons likes to get up close and personal with nature, which he chronicles from behind the lens of his camera.

Simons worked as an industrial arts instructor at Umatilla High School from 1979 to 1987, and later as an agricultural consultant for his father’s business. Now retired and living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation with his wife, Sharon, Simons has more time to develop his interest in photography, which first took root as a youngster.

Simons said his fascination and interest in nature began when his father took him on family fishing trips in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Being exposed to scenic vistas, delicate wildflowers and butterflies inhabiting the lakeside meadows, Simons wanted to preserve what he was seeing and experiencing.

“It was here that I yearned to take these images home with me, thus my passion for photography was born,” he said.

To view Simons’ work, stop by the Hermiston Public Library during the month of September. He is the featured artist for the month and a number of his photographs are on display.

As he’s had more time to delve into his passion for photography, Simons’ artwork has caught the attention of others. In 2016, he submitted a photo into Pendleton Center for the Arts’ Open Regional Photography Exhibit. His first-ever entry in the event, the black and white image of storm clouds rising above a picturesque curve in the road along Old Highway 30 above Pendleton placed second in the adult category.

“Wandering Through Nature’s Solitude,” an exhibit that opened this past spring and hung through early summer at Pendleton Art + Frame, featured Simons’ photographs depicting area landscape, flora and fauna.

Simons focuses his lens mostly on landscape and wildlife photography — including some up-close shots of insects. Utilizing both color, and black and white photography, Simons said it provides varying opportunities in recording nature.

The Hermiston Public Library is open Monday through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday/Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s located at 235 E. Gladys Ave. For more information, call 541-567-2882 or visit www.hermistonlibrary.us.

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