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Hilton Head Island resident Fran Baer wins of 2012 Photo of the Year

"Glow," by Fran Baer
"Glow," by Fran Baer FRAN BAER/Submitted photo

A monkey can be pretty difficult to get to sit still for a photo. But Fran Baer managed to grab a shot of a golden lion tamarin while at a zoo in Florida. Turns out it was a pretty good one.

"Glow" won the 2012 Photo of the Year from the Camera Club of Hilton Head Island, the first year the club has held such a contest.

The longtime photographer explains how an award-winning shot came about from a quick close encounter.

Question. How did this photo happen?

Answer. We had taken a trip down to Florida and we were in the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne. These little golden lion tamarins were in this display. Those little guys were not still for very long. It was also dark in there, so the lighting was not very strong. This little guy stopped for a couple instants in front of the Plexiglas window. I took several quick shots. What struck me was the way he was looking at me. There was a ray of light coming in and it brought out the gold around his face. I enjoy seeing the eyes of any animal I take a picture of. It really draws you in.

Q. Do you normally photograph wildlife?

A. I do mostly wildlife. I'm not really good with people (laughs). For some reason I can't get good portraits. I do some landscape and other nature work. It's mostly birds I go after and other sorts of critters. My husband and I try to travel on birding trips and find different species.

Q. So your interest in photography came about because of birding?

A. I started photographing birds as a way to try to identify them. I was able to capture a bird and try to identify it. Sometimes by eye they're moving so fast you can't get a good look.

Q. How long have you been involved in photography?

A. My husband and I retired in 2002. We've been coming (to Hilton Head Island) since 1975. We had always taken pictures, but when we retired in 2003 I would just get outside and take pictures of whatever I could. I get a lot of practice now with the digital camera. Really, it's grown into a sickness (laughs).

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