Longtime Clarendon Hills resident gets the picture
Clarendon Hills resident Mary Brown sizes up her next photograph. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 15, 2013 11:22AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Clarendon Hills has been home to Mary Brown for 58 of her 63 years. The longtime resident said she continues to love living in the same place she grew up. And Brown also loves to take photographs. It’s been an interest of hers for several years, and she has spent more time on it since retiring in September 2009 from her job as a secretary in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181.
Q. Is living in Clarendon Hills very different now than it was when you were a child?
A. A lot of things have changed, but Clarendon Hills really isn’t that different in that it’s still a great town with wonderful people, and it’s small. My dad (Lloyd Church) was the first village manager in Clarendon Hills.
Q. Have you been interested in photography for a long time?
A. I have. I started taking pictures a while back with my aunt’s old camera. We took our daughter and three of her high school friends to Sanibel Island for their spring trip her senior year in 1998. There were photo cards for sale at a shop there done by a local photographer, which gave me the idea to start doing them. I ordered blank cards from the same company and started taking photos of butterflies, flowers, etc., so I could make cards to send to friends.
Q. What do you like to take photos of?
A. I especially love taking pictures of nature, although I’m not as big on landscape pictures as I am of animals.
Q. Did you start taking more photos after retiring because not working provided more time?
A. Everyone knew I was interested in photography, so when I retired a bunch of my co-workers contributed so I could buy a new camera. I never go anywhere without my camera because I don’t want to miss a shot.
Q. Are you a better photographer now than you were a few years ago?
A. Oh, yeah. I’ve learned to be more patient, and I’m better at spotting things. I also have learned a lot by looking at photos other people have taken.
Q. You won first place in the 2011 Cantigny Park amateur photo contest with a close-up of a toad. Was it exciting to receive that honor?
A. I’m not a competition person at all, but it was a big thrill when it was picked. I’ve entered a couple of contests at Brookfield Zoo and haven’t won, and that’s fine. I entered six more photos in November for Cantigny, and one of them was chosen among the top 40. Those top photos will be on display there throughout this year.
Q. What do you most want to photograph that you never have had the opportunity to do?
A. I’d love to go whale watching and take pictures of the whales.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not taking photographs?
A. I walk every day. I take walks with my grandson, who’s 14 months old. I also like to bike, and I take a swimming aerobics class. Photography is a great hobby, and anyone can do it.