Terrace photographer’s animal pics show their personalities

You can see Kiah Helms’ photography at an exhibit that runs through Jan. 31 at the Mountlake Terrace Library.

“Paisible,” by Kiah Helms, is a close-up of a flamingo at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona.

“Paisible,” by Kiah Helms, is a close-up of a flamingo at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona.

Kiah Helms of Mountlake Terrace appreciates animals with loads of personality, but they can be hard to photograph.

Helms, 21, had a fun challenge with a baboon. She snapped more than 100 pictures of the primate’s face during a visit to the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona. She hoped one or two might hit the mark.

The baboon moved so quickly that capturing the beast’s expressions — confusion, happiness or sadness — took some time.

“You never know what they’re going to do,” said Helms, who has been practicing photography since she was 13. “I just wanted to make sure it was perfect, not blurry, and the animal was in the right position.”

Helms’ persistence paid off. Her photograph, “The Noble Protector,” won second place in the digital art category at the Edmonds Art Festival in 2018. The close-up highlights the baboon’s vibrant nose, deep, focused eyes and vividly colored fur.

Her animal photography, including the baboon photograph, is featured in an exhibit on display through Jan. 31 at the Mountlake Terrace Library. The display was organized by the Mountlake Terrace Arts Advisory Commission.

“Kiah has a lot of talent,” said Judy Ryan, chairwoman of the commission. “She just has a way of capturing things. When you look at these animals, you see these beautiful colors.”

In addition to the critters, Helms’ exhibit includes an imposing shot of the Eiffel Tower and sweeping vistas of French countrysides. She captured the scenes while on trips to visit her grandparents, who live in the picturesque town of Argenton-sur-Creuse in central France.

Helms has loved photography ever since her parents bought her a digital camera for Christmas when she was 13 years old, Her vacations to France provide endless inspiration.

“I went on a vacation to France and I just started taking photos,” she said. “From then on, I realized I had some talent for it. It was a lot of fun to express things from an artistic side.”

Helms, a business student at Edmonds Community College, has accomplished some of her best works while traveling. She was awarded honorable mention at the Edmonds Art Festival in 2016 for “Roosters in the Field,” which shows two roosters grazing in a French countryside.

Aside from a photography class and a couple of workshops, Helms is mostly self-taught. She said she has high standards and a willingness to learn through trial and error.

But she doesn’t stress out over her photography.

“I normally just do it on vacation,” she said. “I want to keep it as a hobby, just for the fun aspect of it.”

Helms is especially excited to show her animal photography in the Mountlake Terrace exhibit.

“I hope that people will enjoy the beauty in the animals and the emotions that each individual one has,” she said.

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, ethompson@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Kiah Helms’ photography exhibit runs through Jan. 31 at the Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 425-776-8722. Find Kiah Helms Photography on Facebook.

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