Although Diane O’Malley is stuck in an office all day at work, she makes the most of her free time by capturing the wildlife and landscapes of her home area of Mountain Top through amateur photography.
The Marian Sutherland Kirby Library is hosting an exhibit of her photographs through Dec. 8 in the Community Room. At a reception from 6 to 8 p. m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, O’Malley will be on hand to greet guests and talk about her photos.
A Medicare sales representative for Geisinger Health Plan, O’Malley works in downtown Wilkes-Barre, but she spends as much time as possible outdoors when she’s at home in the Blytheburn section of Mountain Top. She lives there with her husband, Joe. They have two adult children –Nicole O’Malley Ford, who also lives in Mountain Top, and Patrick O’Malley, a New York University student.
She frequently walks, sits on her deck, kayaks and golfs, always with camera in hand.
“Live your dash with passion” is her motto. The “dash” refers to the time between a person’s birth and death dates as listed on a headstone.
“I take advantage of every opportunity I can,” O’Malley said. “I thank God every day for every single thing I have.”
Before pursuing photography, O’Malley enjoyed performing as a harpist for weddings and other special events, but “it’s a lot easier carrying a camera than a harp.”
O’Malley usually uses a Nikon P900, a point-and-shoot camera that makes for easy carrying and allows her to zoom in on her subject. She has taken a series of eagle photos at Blytheburn Lake, and she recently shot landscapes with rolling hills and horses on a visit to New York’s Hudson Valley. Clouds and sunsets are also favorite subjects, along with butterflies, dragonflies and various types of birds. Sometimes she dabbles in macro photography –extreme close-ups of things like individual flower petals or leaves.
“Every petal, every clover, every blade of grass is so very, very pretty when we take the time to look at them.”
O’Malley first began noticing nature more closely when her father gave her an old set of binoculars about 30 years ago.
“I’d hear bird songs, and I’d think, ‘That’s so pretty! What is that?’ And there were these bright, brilliant spring birds that were migrating.” She bought a National Geographic field guide and started identifying the birds she was seeing. It opened her eyes to the things that are around her every day.
“I thought, ‘Holy cow, we are surrounded by all this beauty,’” she said.
She bought birdfeeders and began attracting birds to her own yard so she could watch them more closely. As for capturing them on film, “I’ve always loved photography, but I would always get these cheap little cameras,” she said.
About five or six years ago, she decided to get a bit more serious. She bought a Great Courses photography course on sale and watched on video as a National Geographic photographer taught the basics of photography. Then she bought her first digital camera and followed up with continuing education courses through Crestwood Area Community Education and also at a Stroudsburg camera shop.
Part of her success lies in the fact that she might snap 100 images at a time, and later she sorts through the images to find the best one.
She believes there are many more qualified photographers than she, so she is “flattered” to have been asked to exhibit her work at the library. She rarely sells a photo, preferring to give them to close friends as gifts, but she will post prices on her library images in case anyone is interested. She is exhibiting about 30 images. Registration for the Nov. 7
reception is requested by calling 57-474-9313 or by visiting the library. The exhibit opened yesterday and will continue through Dec. 8 during normal library business hours of 9 a. m. to 8:30 p. m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a. m. to 4 p. m. Saturdays. Information: kirbylib.org.