Marcus Larson/News-Register ##
Debbie Lockwood of Sheridan has been taking pictures since she was young. When she received her first digital camera, she said, she “took off,” taking hundreds of shots. She carries a camera everywhere.
Marcus Larson/News-Register ## Debbie Lockwood of Sheridan has been taking pictures since she was young. When she received her first digital camera, she said, she “took off,” taking hundreds of shots. She carries a camera everywhere.
Marcus Larson/News-Register ##
Photographer Debbie Lockwood carefully hangs several of her pictures in her new space at the Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall. The mall is being converted to a collection of fine art and craft booths, as well as antiques.
Marcus Larson/News-Register ## Photographer Debbie Lockwood carefully hangs several of her pictures in her new space at the Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall. The mall is being converted to a collection of fine art and craft booths, as well as antiques.
Submitted photo ##
One of Lockwood’s shots shows a mysteriously decrepit house. She said she likes for her work to evoke emotions.
Submitted photo ## One of Lockwood’s shots shows a mysteriously decrepit house. She said she likes for her work to evoke emotions.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Stopping by: She calls the shots

Debbie Lockwood has the right background for art photography.

Her father, a minister, “always had a camera wherever we went” — a practice she follows to this day since “you just never know what you’ll see.” 

But her dad didn’t merely shoot 35mm film of what was in front of him. “He’d take pieces of paper and make stars or bells or other shapes to put in front of his lens,” his daughter recalled. The results showed scenery in the same shape.

“His pictures were beautiful, and it was cool to see how his mind worked,” Lockwood said.

Her own photos take a more traditional rectangular shape, whether they are artistic shots and portraits of weddings, high school seniors, babies and other people and occasions. But they’re not the run-of-the-mill snaps you’d view on a cellphone.

“I like taking pictures no one else would take,” Lockwood said.

Sometimes people notice her shooting photos, and ask why she’s aiming her camera at something they consider mundane. “Some say ‘why?’ I say ‘because,’” she said. “I see the beauty in everything, trains to birds to frozen soap bubbles, and anything and everything catches my eye.”

Those people usually have their answer when the see the results, she said. “If you do it right, it becomes a piece of art that’s just stunning.”

Watching her father, Lockwood fell in love with photography. As soon as she could hold her own point-and-shoot film camera, she recorded her surroundings as her family moved from one city to another in California, following her father’s church jobs.

“Things won’t stay the same,” she said. “Being able to capture something preserves it, and that brings me complete joy.”

She was an adult when her brother presented her with her first “good” camera.

Back then, she said, the Canon XT  8-megapixel model was “huge” compared to other digital cameras. And with changeable lens, it was a major improvement.

“Really, it was nothing fancy,” she said. “But it isn’t the gear, it’s the photographer, you know.”

She still has that first camera. But it’s not the most special in her collection.

That honor goes to a Canon 5D Mark II a stranger gave her.

She had recently lost another camera, a professional model. It disappeared into swirling Mill Creek when she became dizzy and almost fell while shooting on the bank.

“I posted in my camera clubs that I’d lost my camera. Then a man I didn’t know texted me, saying maybe he could sell me his Canon 5D,” she said. “The next morning, he called and said God told him to give it to me, so he sent it.”

Lockwood taught herself all she knows about using those cameras. She gained experience by experimenting — “practicing, playing, learning how to edit,” she said. “You have to know what you’re doing.”

Lockwood said she had taken “tons of pictures” with film cameras over the years. That changed to megatons when she went digital.

“I was ‘whoo hoo!’ off and running,” she said. “Digital let me do everything.”

No longer did she have to drop off exposed film at a processor and wait for an hour or more to see the results. “With film, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s developed,” she said.

“With digital, you have the opportunity to see it as you go. If you don’t like a picture, you can delete it,” she said. “And later, if you find a spot, you can go in and edit it out.”

She would shoot one or more rolls of 24 or 36 photos previously. But now, she could shoot hundreds without worrying about using costly supplies.

Recently, she shot a series of senior school pictures. “I probably took 400 frames, because I could,” she said.

She knew there would be some with the teen’s eyes closed, others that weren’t quite right as she sought perfection. “Digital is fabulous for things like that,” she said.

The digital camera also allows her to shoot many photos of weddings so she doesn’t miss anything. “You can redo the kiss, but the rest of the wedding is one-and-done,” so she needs plenty of frames to choose from, she said.

She enjoys taking photos of people, but some are challenging, she said — especially the youngest. When she shoots baby pictures, she asks mothers to be prepared: have the child fed and freshly changed before the photography starts. 

“With newborns, you need to be patient, kind and willing to work,” Lockwood said.

It helps to remember her own children at that stage. Additionally, “patience is part of my personality,” she said. 

She and her husband, Ron, have lived in the Sheridan area for 30 years. They raised their three children there.

Nathaniel now lives in California, Kyla in Sheridan and Meredith in Salem. The Lockwoods have eight grandchildren, four of them in Oregon.

When Lockwood photographs an infant, a high school senior, or another subject, she usually goes to them. She prefers to take them outside, too, using screens to improve the lighting, if necessary. 

“I prefer to be out and about,” she said, “especially with enough good sunlight.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean summer sun, either. She takes outdoor photos year-round.

Some of her favorite scenic shots were taken in winter, she said. 

One winter day, she and her husband were driving along Gooseneck Road, not far from home. They had passed an old barn many times, but on that occasion, “snow was falling and the sun was trying to come through, and the barn was covered in white,” she recalled.

She told her husband to stop the car. “I used an F-22 setting to capture the sun rays,” she said. “It was spectacular.”

She’s returned to photograph the barn in other seasons, as well, and sold many copies of the snow scene and others. She even featured it in her annual calendar.

Late this summer, Lockwood and her family visited Wildlife Safari near Roseburg. Not only did the wild animal park provide fodder for her camera’s eye, so did surroundings some other people might not have noticed.

She came home with numerous images, including some of a bridge with interesting architecture.

“The sun was horrible,” she said. But she compensated while editing, sharpening areas that had been overly bright.

“I sometimes have to play with photos,” she said. “But I don’t overdo it. I don’t want them to look fake; I want it to look real.”

A series of hummingbird photos taken during quarantine, on the other hand, didn’t need to be fixed in Photoshop. She just cropped the pictures to emphasize the subjects.

“I have a beautiful picture of a hummingbird sitting there with the rain pouring behind him,” she said. “That’s nature’s beauty. When you see something like that, how can you not stop and go ‘Wow!’”

On another occasion, Lockwood was on her way to worship team practice early on a Sunday morning, just as dawn was breaking.

“I had 15 minutes to spare, so I ran down to Willamina Pond and quickly set the camera up to catch photos of the sun rising over the water,” she recalled. “Just as that happened, a flock of ducks landed and started swimming.”

A picture like that, she said, is worth more than 1,000 words. “When something clicks, it makes you stop and just feel something.” 

Lockwood’s scenic photos, cards and calendars soon will be available at the Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall.

New owner Norm Tognozzini is converting the former antique mall into a more boutique-style, in which sellers will offer high-quality art and crafts as well as antiques.

Lockwood said she was excited when Tognozzini, whom she knew from her seven years as Gallery Theater’s box office manager, offered her a space in the mall.

It happened at exactly the right time, she said. Not only did she feel confident in her photography skills, but she also needed an outlet for her work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Every wedding I had booked this summer was canceled,” she said.

But she didn’t worry about it, she said.

“I turned to God. I left it in his hands; I knew he’d open the door,” she said. “It’s all a thing of faith. I won’t let COVID dictate what my life is.”

Having the opportunity to show at the Lafayette mall is “huge,” she said.

“It took me only a few seconds to say ‘yes,’” she recalled.

It will be her foray into a permanent setting, and her first show since last year’s Coastal Hills Art Tour in Willamina.

The Coastal Hills event, which she entered for three years running, has been a success for her, she said. Visitors admired her photos and complimented her generously.

“It was a reassurance I’m doing something people like,” she said.


Photography and crocheting, too

In addition to taking photographs, Debbie Lockwood enjoys crafting, including cards with or without pictures.

In late September, she was finishing one as an appreciation gift for her pastor, Sam Aldridge, at Willamina Free Methodist Church. When unfolded, it was more than 3 feet across — or one meter, since the intricate pattern was written in centimeters, she said.

“I’m American!” she said, joking she wasn’t fluid in the metric system. “I had to stop the DVD instructions every few minutes to make sure I was doing it right.”

Lockwood also is a professional crocheter. She recently finished crocheting 15 large, complex textured doilies, which she will sell or give as gifts.

Now she’s creating a christening gown with tiny threads. Another of her rhinestone-covered christening gowns took first place at the Yamhill County Fair.

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