Put cameras in the hands of kids and prepare to be impressed.
That’s a lesson learned by David Welton who recently volunteered to give a few tips to three youngsters enrolled at Calyx Community Arts School.
The private school is based out of the former ranger residence at South Whidbey State Park and considers the park’s 347 acres part of its classroom. The two dozen students, ages 5 to 11, help as park stewards by monitoring trails and completing other tasks.
The school recently received a grant to purchase new Nikon Coolpix cameras. Three students spent the fall learning how to visually tell a story. They did so well they’re getting their own art exhibit.
“There are a lot of images adults would be excited to have made,” Welton said.
Welton, a freelance photographer, said the first batch of images were mostly throwaways.
But with each assignment, their worldview shone through in creative and unexpected ways.
“I told them to paint with light and that the camera is their paint brush,” said Welton, a 69-year-old retired cardiologist. “I really didn’t have to teach them. Children have innate composition abilities.
“They see patterns, color and view angles differently than adults.”
And they’re shorter.
“Their eyes are lower to the ground,” Welton said, “and they’re more comfortable laying on the ground.”
Welton expects people will be surprised at the results of his three proteges, Arcani Robinson, 8, Tasa Mungarro-Eberhart, 9 and Aaliyah Kois Jacob, 11.
Some of the captured moments are everyday scenes of parents, pets and babies.
Others are abstract or close-ups of critters living in the school’s woods.
A month-long exhibit at Bayview Cash Store kicks off with an 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday reception.
“This is not refrigerator art,” said Welton, who’s invited local dignitaries and professional photographers to the reception. “Some of these images are really very good.”