TARPON SPRINGS — Sue Thomas of Palm Harbor has loved photography since her parents first gave her a camera when she was 9.
"There's something about when you put that camera in your hand," she said, "and you know something wonderful is going to happen."
Like the hawk that flew down and landed less than 10 feet away. She clicked until the film ran out.
For others, like Don Naumann of Crystal Beach, the magic moment is a bolt of lightning illuminating the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the night.
Naumann's work is featured on a poster and a T-shirt for the 34th annual Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Craig Park on Spring Bayou. He will be among 225 artists exhibiting from across the United States and Canada.
"It's a great show," said Thomas, president of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, the show's organizer. "It is amazing the quality that is here, and the prices are very reasonable."
Even though Thomas is a photographer herself, she buys photos.
"You have to have the right equipment, but you have to be there at the right moment," she said.
And that can be difficult.
Naumann scopes out scenes in advance and then visualizes the composition he wants to capture there.
But first he needs stormy weather and lightning, the common thread to his work. So he sleeps next to a lightning detector, jumps out of bed when it goes off and checks the weather on his computer. If it's popping at one of his sites, he's out the door with his 1959 Hasselblad.
Capturing the image featured on the festival's T-shirt and poster, The Wreck, took nearly 50 attempts over two years. And Naumann had to make those photos while most of us were sleeping.
"This was by far the hardest one to get," he said. "But I got exactly what I wanted."
Thomas especially appreciates that photo because others locally considered the boat an eyesore.
"He's turned it into an art form," she said.
Many other artists who have poured just as much into their art will be exhibiting in a broad range of media. Thomas said the space available means organizers have to turn away about half the artists who apply, but they bring in new artists every year.
Those who don't make it often try again, she said, including one who applied nine times.
"He was just thrilled to be included this year," she said.
Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4170.