Photographer comes to Lyon Hall

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sometimes, stuff just happens. You build the perfect sand castle and some kid accidentally throws a ball right into it. You’ve written the most beautiful poem that you’ve ever penned, and knock over a full coffee cup, spilling coffee all over your masterpiece.

Noted photographer Farrell Eaves had a similar thing happen to him on a trip to New Mexico in 2001. He dropped his digital camera into the Pecos River, but instead of ruining his camera, it caused him to produce photos with extra color that would otherwise not appear.

Eaves will bring his photos to Lyon Hall at 102 S. Main Ave. in Demopolis on Sunday, May 30, at 2 p.m. He will spend a day photographing Demopolis with his “magic camera,” then exhibit those photos with some of his other works.

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In Pecos, N.M., during August 2001, Eaves attended photography master classes taught by Bruce Dale, a former National Geographic photographer.

While he was taking pictures near the Pecos River, Eaves accidentally knocked over his tripod and attached Nikon CoolPix 990 digital camera. They struck a large rock and then splashed into the water. The camera’s memory card compartment snapped open, allowing even more water to enter the delicate electronic assembly.

“It’s not supposed to happen,” Eaves said. “A lot of times, when this happens to a camera, the sensor has to be replaced. Sometimes, it happens across a corner of the image of half of the image. This is the first time it’s ever been known to affect the total image.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s all composition, which is what photography is about, anyway. I will leave there (Demopolis) telling people that the most precious pictures that they’ll ever take are on their refrigerator door. I can assure you: that’s the truth.”

In the nine years since the mishap, Eaves has taken more than 82,000 photos with the camera.

Eaves can control the color by controlling the amount of light allowed into the aperture.

“Oddly enough, this camera performs best in dim or overcast light,” he said. “I can get more hues — I can make the grass blue, I can make it pink — just by changing the amount of light I let get to that sensor. I use the exposure value to control the light, and it changes the hues immediately. It ranges from +5 to -5, and without moving the camera, I’ve got 10 different shots.

“I was talking with this photographer in Pecos, N.M., and she said, ‘Do you think God pushed the camera in the water?’ and I said, ‘No. I did, and I retrieved it.’ But I said, ‘He had a lot to do with drying it out.”

Eaves has a large 4,000-square-foot shop in Walden, Tenn., where other artists come in to teach their crafts to others. One of those people who takes part in those workshops is Jeff Couch of Linden.

“Our main feature has been J. Christopher White from Loveland, Colo.,” Eaves said. “He is a two-time world champion carver, and he does a one-week course here, and this guy, Jeff, shows up, and he won’t leave.

“He stays with us when he comes; he’s part of the family. He’ll be back in October — we do this in February and October — and it will be his fourth or fifth time to take the class. He’s going to be assisting the instructor this year.”

Farrell’s visit to Lyon Hall is sponsored by the Marengo County Historical Society and the Two Rivers Arts Council. For more information on the event, contact the Marengo County Historical Society at 289-9644 or e-mail More information about Farrell Eaves at his Web site at

The next time you accidentally spill ketchup in your quiche or drop your watch in a full kitchen sink, don’t be so quick to throw it away. While you may think you have made a fatal mistake, you may have created a unique work of art.