Who would have thought that when Tim Cady's mother asked him to critique her paintings when he was a child, those informal "mini art lessons" would surface years later in the form of a photographic talent that has been recognized nationally and recently coalesced into a book of photographs depicting the finest natural beauty that north Idaho has to offer.
"I'd always liked photography," said Tim. "I liked the idea that someone was standing right there to capture that moment."
However, it took many years and an innocent request to bring photography back into Tim's life.
He grew up in California and attended Sacramento State College. He took a photography course in college but didn't like the darkroom aspect of photography at the time. He said that he was more interested in the product and that photography at the time was very expensive. He literally put his camera on the top shelf of a closet where it stayed for 20 years. He married, began a family, and taught school in California for three years before moving to Boundary County. Tim has been teaching at Evergreen School for many years.
In 2000, Tim and his family were going on vacation and JoAnne asked him to bring his camera along. He was surprised at the time because he hadn't even looked at the camera in so long, but did it anyway. He said that it didn't work well and they had to get batteries, but when they got back from vacation, a couple of his shots were surprisingly good.
"It just grew from there," he said. "I kept saying, "I'll shoot just one more roll," and after that it was, "Well, maybe I'll just shoot two more rolls."
He started to shoot slides and got some great shots. He even sold some of his slides to regional magazines.
Then, in 2005, the digital era changed everything for Tim.
"I think my talent was always there, latent, waiting to erupt," he said. "I always sensed it was there, but it was a timing issue."
He now exclusively shoots digitally with a Nikon D2X.
Tim credits much of his success to his friend and mentor, Jerry Pavia.
"Jerry is the guy that nudged me when I first showed him my photos. Jerry will give endlessly," said Tim.
Since 2005, Tim has published between 25 and 30 photographs in magazines, calendars and postcards.
The biggest shift in Tim's photographic career occurred when John O'Conner approached Farcountry Press and told them that there were no photographic books about north Idaho. Farcountry Press asked Tim, as well as several other professional photographers, to submit photos for their consideration. To Tim's surprise, they chose him to create Northern Idaho Impressions, which was just released in March.
Northern Idaho Impressions is a visually stunning compilation of photographs covering every aspect of north Idaho. The photographs run the entire gamut from sunsets to shooting stars to detailed pictures of mushrooms to waterfalls to winter scenes to panoramic views of the mountains, valleys and grasslands that are so distinctive to north Idaho. All four seasons are vividly portrayed as well as the tremendous variety of wildlife and scenic beauty that we may take for granted as residents here.
"I stumbled into my passion, that's for sure," said Tim. "It's what I think about all the time and want to do all the time. It's my outlet. When I have free time, this is what I want to do."
Tim and Jerry are currently collaborating on a book of photographs celebrating the International Selkirk Loop. Tim said they will have all the photographs completed by September so the book can be published and on the shelves in February, in time for the Olympics in Vancouver.
"When I am in the field shooting," explained Tim, "it's like I'm in the zone. It's like a meditation. My sense of reality and time are distorted. I look at my watch and two hours have passed and I wasn't even aware of it. What I like most is just sharing pictures with people, especially my wife. She has looked at close to all of my 20,000 images and she still loves looking at them."
Tim Cady can be reached at 267-5883. His website is www.timcadyphotography.com