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This tractor was photographed north of Lander, Wyo., on a trip to Montana.
Shutter Bug

by Clare Coppa

Breathtaking color and design—these are the trademarks of self-taught photographer Dennis Poffenroth of Castle Rock, Colo., a newly retired federal Mine Safety and Health Administration electronics engineer. His 40-year interest in photography is progressing with the sale of slides to Colorado greeting-card firms, not surprisingly named Timberline and Blue Sky.

Poffenroth’s scenes of the American west reflect the
magnificent landscapes of his childhood in Washington state and Montana. He learned his craft through trial and error with various cameras; his latest is a Nikon N90 to which he attaches magnifying diopters.

He started taking pictures while hiking to over 14,000 ft. (4,270 m) with his wife, Vida, an insurance representative, and Dreyfus, their late Shepherd/ Samoyed. “I’ve been hiking quite a bit of my life, since my teenage years and I’m 62 now,” he says. “My wife enjoys it too. Years ago, my interest was just getting to the top of a mountain. Eventually, as I got involved in taking pictures on hikes, my interest was looking around to see what I could photograph while we were climbing the mountain, so actually the photograph was just as important as getting to the top of the mountain.”

During his career, Poffenroth evaluated coal, metal, and non-metal mining equipment such as steel wire ropes that hoist personnel in and out of mines. “I got involved with ASTM to develop a standard for testing the ropes,” he says, referring to E 1571, Standard Practice for Electromagnetic

Examination of Ferromagnetic Steel Wire Rope, that he developed with Committee E07 on Nondestructive Testing. On the job, he used macro-photography to record rope conditions for his reports. “I got used to doing work in-detail like that and maybe I naturally did something similar to that taking close-up pictures when I was hiking.”He plans to create a book of his photographs. //

Copyright 2000, ASTM

Dennis and Vida Poffenroth on Grays Peak in the Colorado Rockies. Their hike from the timberline (11,300 ft. (3,440 m)) to the top (14,270 ft. (4,350 m)) took about five hours round trip.