Out of his shell

Jim Mader carries camera wherever his life leads him

Jim Mader lives in a snail shell – a very large one. He’s been building his shell for about 20 years. It may never be finished.

Mader was interested in the octagonal buildings he saw people erecting when it occurred to him that he could change the design into a spiral. His home grew from there. He calls it Snailspace – because of its shape and the rate at which he is finishing it.

Mader’s sense of humor also shows in the photos he has on display at The Buzz, 130 N. Sequim Ave., Sequim, through March. He has a refrigerator magnet that’s a picture of his refrigerator with a picture of the refrigerator on it.

He likes sight gags.

Always carries camera

Mader says he takes his camera everywhere, just looking for those moments that zoom out at him. He wants to be ready in a split second to capture a special shot. He takes photos of anything that catches his interest. Carrying his camera reminds him to look at everything, he says.

Growing up in Massachusetts, Mader started taking pictures with his father’s Kodak Brownie. Mader came to the Olympic Peninsula in the mid-1970s to visit friends. He stayed because the mountains, the sea and the plains were so close and reachable. He went to work in a print shop and since then has held a variety of jobs. Currently he works as a carpenter. He likes small projects whose end he can see.

Mader continued taking photos for his own pleasure. When digital cameras and computers made it easy to edit the pictures, his enjoyment increased. He took a Peninsula College class from Mia Boster in Photoshop and ever since has had fun making photos look the way he wants.

Needs a deadline

When he learned that Deb Ferguson, owner of The Buzz, was having artists display their works, Mader volunteered so he would have to organize his photos for display. He says he works best if he has a deadline. He likes to share his work with his friends and has his albums online in Facebook.

He only uses one camera, a Canon SX1 super zoom. He says the zoom is important because he doesn’t want to have to change lenses and lose a shot. Some of his best photos are taken at a distance to avoid disturbing the subjects and letting him capture the emotional content. He also avoids using a strobe since it flattens the light and changes the scene.

Child with chicken

His best shots are not planned, Mader says, they just happen. One day a coyote ran in front of his car and stopped on a hill beside the road. Mader grabbed the camera from the seat beside him and shot through the window without disturbing the animal.

Another time he was at the Clallam County Fair and took what he considers one of his best photos, a child sitting with a chicken in his lap. Again the zoom feature let him get the shot without disturbing the subject.

Mader’s photos will be at The Buzz until the end of March. The Buzz is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays and

7 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesdays.

Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequim