Jim Harlan has been selected by the Springdale Town Council to be the citizen of the Season for Summer, 2012. Jim has become the Historian of Zion Canyon – in pictures instead of words. He captures the fun and excitement at St. Patrick’s Day, Rockville Days, the Light Parade and countless other events in the canyon. He takes thousands of pictures a year and then shares them with everyone freely!
Jim has a website that lets people view over 23,000 images which can be downloaded in several sizes or printed by the company that hosts the website. It took him over a week to upload the images using Infowest’s high-speed fiber optics system. He says the website is a practical way for him to back up his images but still keep them available to the public. If you haven’t seen his website, you’re going to be amazed when you look at it. www.zioneventphotos.com
Jim is a wonderful photographer, as his images prove. He is quick to say he is a much better ‘computer guy’ than he is a photographer. He works as a computer programmer out of his basement. He says in this digital age, he can live in Rockville, which he loves, but his work output goes out of state. He began taking digital images in 2000, and his computer skills have made his photographic work much better.
Jim and his wife Carol first saw this area in 1992; they were on a Thanksgiving vacation and they fell in love with Zion. They looked at a house in Rockville that wasn’t for sale, but they said ‘…if it ever goes on sale, let us know…’ Three months later they got a call and on Halloween day, 1993, they moved into their new house. “It’s a real pleasure for me and Carol to live in the Canyon. We live in a gem of a town, in a gem of canyon, in a gem of a state. We’re from Michigan, but this is our home now. We were lucky to move here when we did.”
We’re the lucky ones. Jim has been documenting our lives for many years. He does it without pay, even though he spends many hundreds of dollars each year on supplies and thousands of dollars on cameras, lenses, tripods and other photographic equipment. He allows people to download and use his images without paying him a fee, which is extremely generous.
Jim likes to put multiple images on a page. His collages tell great stories and capture the happy faces of many people. He often places a stack of collage images in the post offices so we can all see them. His individual shots are sometimes breathtaking. The Transit of Venus across the sun is one such image. “It took six hours to get one great shot!”
He uses a unique ‘signature’ on his images; the head of a happy orange cat. “That’s Roughie. She was a terror when she was a kitten. On the Venus transit picture, she’s wearing eclipse glasses. She gets a green top hat for St. Patrick’s Day. Sometimes people don’t remember the image, but they remember Roughie!”
Jim Harlan’s images help us remember many good times in this canyon. Be sure to thank him and congratulate him next time you see him at an event – he’ll be the one with a camera!