Outdoors inspiration for Callear

Adam Larck Woodford Times

Storms — something many people would want to be away from — Bre Callear wants to be closer to.

After all, that's how some of her best photography gets shot.

"I'm a storm chaser and I'm studying meteorology (at Northern Illinois University)," said Callear. "I've always loved the sky. That's where a lot of my photography started."

Callear, a Metamora native, said she chases a lot of storms in the plains of Kansas during the summer to get some of her best shots.

In fact, last summer, she took some of her most memorable shots of a supercell storm over the state.

"The whole day, I have tons and tons of photography from that," she said.

Callear started taking an interest in photography in high school, but she had been interested in art since grade school.

When she went to high school, she said Steve Danner was a big inspiration in getting her started down this path.

"I was doing a lot of drawings and he helped me get into the Mentor Art Apprenticeship program in Peoria," she said. "I did that my junior summer. That's when I realized I really liked photography."

After the program, she started taking photography classes back at the high school.

However, this was not the only thing she learned how to do at the high school.

"My senior year, Mr. Danner taught me how to do scratchboard," she said.

Last year she decided to pick scratchboarding back up.

"It's a black board with white underneath," what looks like a pencil with a metal tip and you scratch the black away and the white comes through. Then you can get a special kind of paint after its white that you can paint over and it dyes the white."

She said a lot of her scratchboards are of animals.

She is currently doing an eye series using paint of a wolf, mountain lion and owl, and has done a series on wildcats, along with eagles, dogs, sharks and donkeys.

She just started doing tornados and lightning themes, and plans to start doing buildings soon.

She said the amount of time each scratchboard takes to complete varies.

"I have an 18x20 bear that's a full face that's huge, and that took me two months to do," Callear said.

Other scratchboards can take up to a month depending on how much time she has to work on them.

She said she normally tries to work on them between breaks at college.

Callear has been showing her photography and scratchboards at area art shows.

She has shown her photography for three years and her scratchboards for two.

Callear shows at Washington, Peoria Heights and the Galesburg show in September.

After college, she plans to continue doing photography and may even move closer to the plains, depending on where she can find a meteorology job.

"I hope to really expand my chasing scenes and really make my atmospheric photographs more of a part," she said.

Even if she does move out west, though, Callear plans on coming back to the area and showing because her family is located here.