MOSES LAKE — Jerry Kayser sees the world a little differently from most folks. Some people can gaze at a Columbia Basin landscape, not think too much about it and go about their day. For Kayser, a simple landscape is never simple. To Kayser a landscape, a sunrise or a snowy owl means potential. They mean possibility, and above and beyond all else they mean immense beauty to capture, document and share so that, if only for a little while, people can view the beauty around them the same way that he does.
“I look at almost anything anymore and I think to myself ‘I wonder how that would look through my camera.’ I notice things so much more now too,” he says.
Kayser, who owns and operates Kayser's Chapel of Memories in Moses Lake with his wife Ronda, has always taken pictures. Even as a kid he had an interest in the art of photography. He didn’t become an avid shutterbug until his college years when his wife got him a Nikon with a fixed lens for Christmas.
“You know it was nothing special. But the quality of the pictures was amazing compared to everything else that I took.”
As the years progressed Kayser’s interest in photography was put to good use documenting his kids as they grew up. His interest in photography only grew when film photography gave way to digital and a world of possibilities was opened.
“Over the last three years I have been able to get professional-level equipment and that has completely changed how I look at everything,” he explained.
With the exception of some tips from fellow local photographers, Kayser is almost completely self-taught. Thousands of dollars have been spent on lenses, gadgets, gizmos and picture processing/editing applications. He is a constant tinkerer and is always thinking about what could turn into an amazing shot. Out of that interest a hobby was born and out of that hobby a true skill for documenting the world was cultivated.
From taking pictures of the Coulee Corridor, or homesteads near Odessa and in the Almira-Hartline area, to the Northern Lights, pictures taken overhead via his drone and countless shots of wildlife, he says his photography has allowed him to go out and see parts of the Basin that he never would have seen otherwise.
The results of his skills have not gone unrecognized. Kayser’s work has appeared in the Columbia Basin Herald several times and is constantly making its rounds on Facebook and other social media. All of that is good and fun, but Kayser doesn’t pour countless hours of work into his photography for the recognition or pats on the back from his fellow local photographers, or as he likes to call them, his friends.
“I’m keeping it fun. I don’t want to be serious about it. I don’t want people to think I’m trying to compete with them or anything else.”
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.