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Photography career will be the focus of this Lindbergh High School senior


May 11, 2005 - A lifelong fascination with photography will take a Lindbergh High School senior to the School of Journalism at the Univer-sity of Missouri-Columbia this fall.

Christy Siebert, daughter of Kathy and Jim Siebert of Fenton, remembers thinking of cameras staring out the back window of her parents' van as they drove from St. Louis to Chicago when she was a small child. She credits those moments of reflection as her first lessons in composition.

"I would often compose images using the car's window as a frame,'' Siebert wrote in an essay explaining her career choice.

"I had to be patient and move around a little to get the right angle and image, trying to avoid seeing too much sky or too much grass, or to banish telephone poles and other man-made items that would ruin the view.''

Now she's winning awards putting those images on film. She recently won four at Mizzou's competition for high school students. Lindbergh High journalism teacher Ed Donnelly said she had similar success at a Webster University competition earlier this year.

"I'm telling you this because I know she won't,'' Donnelly said. "She's been a consistent contributor. I haven't had an organized (yearbook) photo editor for several years. She is so organized that we could have gone back to giving photo credits for the first time in several years.''

Being photo editor of the yearbook is a lot of work, Siebert said.

"Essentially, I take most of the pictures,'' she said. "Sometimes I'm out there five days a week shooting. Being the photo editor, it's not what I expected. People don't always listen to me. It's kind of frustrating.''

Siebert just bought a Canon Rebel with a 100-300mm zoom lens and a 17-35mm close-up zoom lens. The best thing about digital photography, she said, is being able to shoot unlimited images without "wasting film.''

"I went to a Mizzou summer course last year and the instructor didn't like taking pictures with a flash,'' she recalled. "He wanted us to mess with ISO, meter and shutter speed.''

Despite being exposed to the basics of sports photography, Siebert said she finds it challenging.

"Sports is really hard to shoot,'' she said. "I do not want to be a sports photographer when I grow up. It's too hard to catch. I prefer watching people waiting until they look their best.

"I'd really like to take pictures for a travel book,'' she said. "I like to travel, but I have a tendency to over pack. After a period of time, I'd like to settle down and maybe get a job at a magazine or maybe open up a studio. I'd have to take business classes for that though.''

Siebert said she chose journalism knowing that the jobs aren't that high paying.

"I'd rather be happy doing a job that I like than unhappy with a job where I make a lot of money,'' she said. "I want to go to Miz-zou and do the study-abroad program. We'll go over to London and they'll let you work on a newspaper over there.''

So far her toughest assignment has been on a cold and rainy afternoon at Lone Elk Park.

"I had one of my friends stand over me with an umbrella,'' Siebert said. "I wasn't too satisfied with the pictures because it was so nasty and gray. We needed pictures for the environmental club.''

"She has gone out and shot like that in the fall and winter,'' Donnelly said.

And she says her friends are used to getting their picture taken by now. Her sister, on the other hand, gets really mad and hides her face from the lens.

"One time my sister and brother were picking on me and I ran and got my camera and told them: 'Watch it, I have a camera and I know how to use it.' They turned around and walked away. It was great,'' Siebert said.

Her teachers always have known her as a straight-A student, but this year they are remarking about her self-confidence.

"I had Christy in freshman biology and then had her as a senior in environmental science,'' said Steve Tomey, a teacher and a photographer in his own right. "One of the neat things now that she's taken photography, she used to be really quiet and shy, but now not only is she an A student, but a confident student who is able to express her views. That's a great thing to see when they're go-ing on to college."

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