Photography captures memories. Special moments almost impossible to reproduce.
Horizon West resident Wei-Shen Chin discovered his love for photography unexpectedly.
Chin was writing for an article in Cleveland at his college in the early 1980s, when his editor asked him to start taking photos for some of the stories.
Although Chin knows how to use a camera, photography was never something he pursued.
On September 1, 1983, Soviet jet fighters intercepted a Korean Airlines passenger flight in Russian airspace and shot down the plane, killing 269 passengers and crew.
Chin said Korean students on campus had gone mad, burning an effigy of the Soviet Premier on campus right outside the student center.
âI photographed this and it made the headlines,â he said. âMy goal was to get people to look at the paper, so I wanted to put a spectacular photo on the front rather than what they were doing before, which was all printed. “
It was then that everything changed.
THE THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM
Chin was in the newspaper office when he got a call from Ron Kuntz.
Kuntz, a veteran news and sports photographer, asked Chin if he could post his photo of the incident on the press service for $ 60. Chin, still on a college budget, said yes.
A month or two later, Chin was covering a Greek festival on campus, where students put together beds with wheels and hurtle down the quad as they collapsed. The photo grabbed the headlines. Kuntz called back.
The third time Kuntz called was to offer Chin a summer job with United Press International to cover professional sports.
âWhen he asked me, I said, ‘What do you mean by work? Write?’ and he said, ‘No to photograph,’ Chin said. âI told him honestly that I had no photography experience, and he volunteered to teach me. It was my break.
Over the following years, Chin photographed the Cleveland Indians baseball team, professional football, politics, NASCAR races, weddings and more.
He graduated from college and attended medical school, and although he never pursued photography, he said he always had it.
Chin is now president of the Medical Center Radiology Group in Orlando and CEO of Chin Track Days, a leading provider of non-competitive track events for sports car enthusiasts.
He married his wife Lynn and they have three children, Lauren, 14, Nicole, 12, and Matthew, 10.
When the coronavirus pandemic began, Chin said he and his family needed to get creative and find ways out of the house.
That’s when he started shooting the birds.
âThe different setups they can have and the way they fly, there are so many different kinds of birds,â Chin said. âYou have everything from kingfishers to blue herons and everything is going well here in Florida, and most people don’t even know it. “
Chin said the most important thing in bird photography is not the image but rather the behavior.
âIf you don’t understand what the bird is doing, you’re not going to get a good picture of it,â he said. âYou’ll end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and miss that perfect shot second. The birds are not waiting for you.
Chin explained that most of the wildlife photographs have passed on waiting.
âThe best camera to use is the one you’ve got ready and turned on,â he laughed.
Chin knows this advice from personal experience.
He traveled the world to develop his photography skills and work to improve himself.
He traveled to Alaska to observe bald eagles, explored the sunsets of the Grand Canyon, captured the Northern Lights, glacial blue icebergs in Iceland and more.
Chin is a semi-finalist of the International Awards for Best Nature Photography and has been invited to lecture and set up showcases of his work.
A FAMILY MATTER
Today, he passes on his knowledge to his children.
In March, Chin began teaching her children the basics of photography through home classes and photographic trips.
The siblings started small and used learning techniques like abbreviations for terms like depth of field (DOF) and even named the cameras, including one named Sam, so they didn’t not to say the model every time.
âI love the creative aspect of photography,â Lauren said. âThere is always more to learn and you can constantly grow and improve. “
In less than a year, the siblings are already making their names known. The kids won 10 of 15 spots in the youth division of the Audubon 2021 Chertok Photo Contest, including a top spot for one of Matthew’s images.
âThat’s why I’m so proud of them; I don’t think people understand how hard it is to get these shots, âChin said. “They think you’re staying there, and all of a sudden a bird comes in and does exactly what you want it to do.”
While the photography is something to enjoy, the Chin family explained that it’s important for residents to keep local wildlife in mind during their day.
âIt’s disheartening to go to a park and see plastic cups in the water and garbage thrown on the grass,â Chin said. âIt’s dangerous for animals, so conservation is also an important part of our education. “
He said one of his favorite parts of photography is not just the memory he captures in the picture, but the memories he creates with his family in the creation.
âNow I’m doing it more as a hobby that I love and something that I can share with the people I love, like my family,â Chin said. âI can create wonderful images that people can enjoy and learn, and that is really the real focus of my passion. “
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