Hanna ditches linebackers

Photographers' landscape work on display

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Artist's reception "New Works," by Rod Hanna 6 to 8 tonight at Mad Creek Gallery, 811 Lincoln Ave.

After photographing more than 500 NFL football games and retiring from a 25-year marketing career with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Rod Hanna was ready for something new.

The fruits of his past four years will be on display at Mad Creek Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs through June 26.

Hanna is photographing landscapes, not linebackers, these days. For this exhibit, Hanna captured Western images that include everything from flowers in his back yard, to Pat Mantle's horses, to a dramatic series called "Landmarks" that features notable national park scenery.

There even is a striking new take on the Steamboat barn, caught in eerie light under a double rainbow.

"I guess even if I was just doing 'Landmarks,' I'd still include the Steamboat barn," Hanna said.

Hanna calls his work "digital fine art prints." He starts with digital, 35-millimeter photographs. The photographs become "photographic compositions" enhanced by electronic filters and layering effects. Sometimes his images incorporate several photographs stitched together -- a technique Hanna said he uses to maintain normal perspective for panoramic shots, instead of having the distortion of a wide-angle lens. It has taken about six years for him to hone this technique, Hanna said.

Up close, the pictures end up looking like paintings.

"I was looking for an expression that was different from straight photography," said Hanna, a veteran photojournalist who worked for the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos during a big chunk of John Elway's career. He said he became interested in "art for art's sake" in the late 1970s, and by 1982 he knew this was what he wanted to do when he retired.

Hanna's new exhibit includes 30 of his "digital fine art prints" that have not been shown before. Hanna produces each picture in 40-print editions available in three sizes.

Many of Hanna's striking scenes will be familiar to residents, but his light and compositions offer a memorable twist on scenery most everyone has seen before. Hanna credits the unusual moments he has captured to the "serendipity of being in the right place at the right time."

Hanna's one-man show opens with a wine reception from 6 to 8 tonight at Mad Creek Gallery.

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