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Fancy sky dancer all abuzz
by MATTHEW NASH
Soaring high above Sequim skies, one hawk stays centered in Jeanette Cozart’s camera lens.
Since July 2010, Cozart has taken snap shots of a northern harrier hawk she’s dubbed Fancy Dancer whose flying wows and reminds her of Native American ceremonial dancers, she said.
In more than a year, Cozart says the hawk has allowed her to get closer and closer for photos.
“I think he likes the interaction with me and the camera,” she said. “I don’t get too close. I know where my boundaries are.”
Cozart is unveiling a pictorial presentation for all of February at The Buzz with a First Friday Art Walk presentation on Feb. 3.
“I’d really like people to see this creature up close,” she said, “I have some really thrilling photography of him.”
Fancy Dancer first showed up on an electrical post in the property next to Cozart’s home.
“He was there everyday flying the field and I decided to get my camera. The adventure really started there,” she said.
Initially, she couldn’t get closer than 200 yards but she feels he gradually accepted her presence, allowing her to inch closer each time.
“I’d notice that he’d notice me and he’d tuck in his chin,” Cozart said.
“I started mimicking that and it started working, so I kept taking pictures of him.”
Cozart said she has a deep love for animals and began taking photos while raising her two children.
Following a divorce, she supported her family as a dental assistant until her children were grown. She later met her partner Gordon Zumach and began studying photography at the Exposure School of Seattle with an emphasis on landscape photography.
Disaster struck in 1996 when the couple saw the Puyallup River flood. They lost everything including her cameras and slides.
They moved to Sequim in 2002 and a few years later she built up the courage to buy a digital camera and start again.
“I came from the old days of negatives and I learned composition and working with my camera, which is much different now,” Cozart said. “It’s been a real challenge for me although I love it.”
Falling in love with photography has been easy since discovering the hawk.
“I’ve been able to connect with his eyes through the lens,” she said, “There’s just something about those eyes. I sensed a really incredible bird.”
Along with prints, Cozart created a limited run of “Fancy Dancer” books. Her printer told Cozart she’s never seen anything like Fancy Dancer’s photographs and suggested a book. Cozart created a 22-page picture book and gave it to family and friends to gauge interest. She has some available (see box for contact information and pricing).
One picture shows Fancy Dancer looking down at her, which she says has a feeling of benevolence. Cozart has captured the hawk interacting with other birds, including northern harrier hawks who fight for territory. She said it’s hard to tell males apart at times because they are so similar.
Fancy Dancer was last seen near Cozart’s home off Sequim-Dungeness Way a few days before the snow fell. Her guess is that he’s found shelter for the time being. The hawk once left for a period of time during mating season but returned.
“The great thing is I never know what’s going to be coming from one day to the next,” Cozart said. “I’ve really enjoyed focusing on him.”
For more information on the photography show, call The Buzz at 683-2503.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.