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A vibrant look at Lake Junaluska

By Paul Viau | Mar 20, 2013
Photo by: Allan Zacher BURSTING WITH FALL COLOR — Not surprisingly, fall provides Allan Zacher with nature’s most colorful imagery

These are exciting times for Lake Junaluska Assembly — this year celebrating a century of contribution to the community, and looking forward to a bright and promising future, following the incorporation as part of the city of Waynesville.

In light of all that is happening, it is fitting to take a closer look at Lake Junaluska — in its most positive light. And in my opinion, there’s no better way to view Lake J than through the creative eye (and lens) of Allan Zacher, M.D.

Many know Dr. Zacher for his Interventional Pain Services medical practice in Clyde, where he also serves as medical director of Mountain Radiance Medical Spa. To both practices, Dr. Zacher brings more than 25 years experience as a board certified physician. More importantly for the purposes of this column, Dr. Z. (as I will refer to him from now on) has enjoyed a life-long interest in photography, and has finely honed his skills around Lake Junaluska.

Did you know? — Dr. Z. is a long-time resident of Lake Junaluska. His home offers a commanding view of the community and easy access to its many trails and roadways.

“My own neighborhood is a rich resource of visual feasting, but you have to be at the right place at the right time,” Dr. Zacher said.

Dr. Z devotes a great deal of time to his photographic efforts. If you’ve walked Lake Junaluska or driven visitors through the area, chances are you have seen him, tripod and camera equipment in hand, carefully capturing the panoramic views. But composing and crafting the images is just the start of the creative process for Dr. Z.

Like so many of us who enjoy photography, he found it frustrating to see a wonderfully colorful image through the viewfinder, only to have find a dull, and flattened image when viewed on the computer. This was less of a problem back in the day of film photography, because film renders images much closer to what the human eye sees, mirroring both the depth and infinite dynamic range of colors.

Dr. Z uses a digital camera, with a photographic technique that captures much more depth and reality in the images, but it is delicate and time-consuming.

First of all, Dr. Z starts with a bracketed series of exposures of the same image — from slightly under exposed to over-exposed. This, of course requires a tripod, but results in more complete sampling of the shadows and highlights.

Then using a proprietary software called Photomatix, Dr. Z is able to boost the dynamic range and combine the tonal values of all exposures with almost infinite control. Based on a number of parameters, he can choose ‘slices’ of the dimension from the many exposures and combine them. As you can see, even reproduced here on newsprint, the results are dramatic and spectacular. I call them nothing less than ‘eye candy.’

Dr. Zacher’s images are reminiscent of the brilliantly colorful postcards of the 1960s and 1970s, and are in his own words, “…as much art as photography.” Over the years, he has amassed several thousand images, and has chronicled his favorites in a beautiful hard cover (dare I say, coffee table) book.

To see Dr. Zacher’s book, visit the lobby of Mountain Radiance Medical Spa, 24 Haywood Park Dr., behind/above Coffee Cup Café, in Clyde. It is available for sale in two sizes — with 8.5-by-11-inch images for $60, and a larger version with 11.5-by-15-inch images for $120.

If you are a fan of Lake Junaluska, these books will delight and inspire you.

Dr. Zacher also offers custom prints of individual images, in a variety of sizes, suitable for framing. You can contact Dr. Zacher via email at anzacher25@gmail.com or visit zacherphotography.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Carol Viau | Mar 21, 2013 14:45

Kudos to Dr. Zacher for capturing the visual beauty of the treasure that is Lake Junaluska.

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