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Local photographer Nancy Hatfield captures ‘God’s creation’

GRAYLING — Nancy Hatfield has spent her whole life in Grayling. She still attends Mount Hope Lutheran Church where she was baptized as an infant. And it was here in Crawford County, spending time in the outdoors, she developed her love of nature and photography.

“I’ve always loved to take pictures ever since I was a little girl. My grandma and grandpa lived in the woods. I loved to go out there and try to get shots of deer or even the river down near their house,” says Nancy.

However she really became involved in photography while taking classes at Kirtland Community College. While studying computer graphics, she chose a photography class for her fine arts component.

As her knowledge of photography and cameras grew, it became a passion. Her husband Jim, an avid outdoorsman and childhood sweetheart, joined her on her search for great nature photos.

Much of the time, they just travel around the Crawford County area and sometimes the Upper Peninsula where Jim’s family cabin is located. However they have also traveled to Yellowstone National Park and Alaska to experience and capture nature in other settings.

“Usually dusk or early morning are the best time to take nature photos. That’s when the sun isn’t too bright, casting majors shadows or it’s not too glaring. That’s when animals are usually moving.”

“I have always loved nature. I love seeing all God’s creation. I am awed by it. I get excited by seeing a loon out the lake or a pond, or an owl or swan and especially bears.

“I had a mother and cubs come into my yard last summer. The momma let me get quite close enough to get some good shots. That was extremely exciting.”

Another great time for Nancy was taking pictures up around Denali National Park in Alaska where she captured the Aurora Borealis. She and Jim had to set an alarm for about 2 a.m. That was supposed to be the best time for taking photos. To their surprise, they awoke to find the Northern Lights already dancing against the sky.

“I had been trying for years to get a picture of the Aurora Borealis. It seemed like every time I went, a cloud bank would come over or they wouldn’t come out. So, getting those shots was a huge bonus of our Alaskan trip for me.”

A retired Crawford-AuSable Schools employee, Nancy now volunteers at the AuSable Artisan Village, next to Paddle Hard, in downtown Grayling. Here she has framed prints of many of her photos. She has also created cards with her photos on them and has taught photography to others. Her work has become so popular with locals, she has been voted Favorite Artist three times in a row by readers of the Crawford County Avalanche.

“I just take the photos I enjoy. I hope others do as well. It’s all God’s creation. I like looking and admiring it.”

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