Mr. Mike Maslar

Mike Maslar in the foreground, taking action shots at an RV football game.

Mr. Mike Maslar has taken photos for Redbank Valley High School for years, but did you know he used to teach 7th grade science here? While interacting with him recently at a football game, I wanted to learn more about him and why he started his photography hobby.  I invited Mr. Maslar in for an interview.

Q: How long did you teach here at Redbank Valley, and what year did you retire as a teacher?

A: I taught here twenty-six years, and I have been out of the teaching about ten years.   I miss the people, the teachers in the seventh grade wing, but I do not miss the paperwork.

Q: When you were a teacher, what sports or clubs did you sponsor?

A: I coached girls track and cross country.  We had an Outdoors Club for a little while, and I took pictures for various activities.

Q: What do you miss most about teaching and coaching?

A: The people, just interaction with the people.  I think that’s why I enjoy coming back because I get a little bit of that, but I am just not teaching.

Q: When did you start getting into photography?

A: I did a little bit in high school. My father did a little bit of photography, and then I really got into it big time in my early twenties when I started teaching.   When I started taking pictures at school, in Ohio then, was when I really got actively interested.  That is when I really started to learn.

Q: What drew your attention to the photography sports genre?

A: The school, because I was taking pictures of people I had in class and now many of the parents are my former students.  Plus, I get to meet people, like you, and then I want to watch them go through and graduate and see what they accomplish.

Q: When did your sport photos start being published in the newspaper?

A:  I had already retired, so it’s been the last six or eight years.  Journalists are getting more and more stressed. The one sports writer covers Brookville, C-L, Union, and Redbank.  He cannot be every place, so he is asking people in various towns to do a little bit to help out.

Q: Why did you chose to continue to take photos for the school?

A: I enjoy it.   It is good practice.   If you’re going to photograph, you need to work with the camera a lot, so I need that practice.  I enjoy the people, the photography, and the games.

Q: Where have you traveled to take your nature photos?

A: All over the United States.   I have been in every state except Hawaii, and it is on the list to get there.  I have been to Galápagos Islands, the rain forest of Peru, Machu Picchu, the Ruins in Guatemala, Africa–so I have been a little bit of everywhere.

Q: Where do you share your photos? Do you have a social media site?

A: I do not use the internet very much.   I put a few in art shows and I show some of them at various galleries occasionally.  I put them up here at school, but I do not use social media or the internet at all. I don’t want to get to involved with selling things.   It is too much of a hassle to keep the paperwork.

A note from the author:

Before my interview with Mr. Maslar, he gave me some photography tips on backgrounds.  “I like nature photography. You have to put yourself in their (animal’s) environment, and you can’t predict what they are going to do. So you just have to be patient and wait for them to do something photographic. It’s a little different from the sports (photography) because I can predict a little bit on what is going to happen, but they are two very different types of photography. In both cases you have to pay attention to light, you have to look at your background as you get into journalistic photography.   One of the biggest problems is trying to get a clean background, and I don’t get that often with sports because you got crowds, the sidelines, buildings, posts, fences. It is hard to get the clutter out and the same is true with nature photography–you got to get rid of the clutter and get a good background, and you always try to get the eye of the animal focused. Now in nature, I like to look for the eye and try to get some type of movement. In sports photography, I try to get both teams involved if I can.   You can’t (do that) in volleyball very much, but it’s nice if you can. And it’s a learning process: the more you photograph, the more you use the camera, the better off you are.”