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Hannah Kelling

The atmosphere of Risman Plaza at 7 a.m. Friday was cold enough to chill shutter fingers, but that didn’t keep about a dozen photographers from walking with Kent State President Lester Lefton.

“Understandably, the horrendous weather on Tuesday kept all but a few hardy photography buffs from joining me,” Lefton said in an email, after chilling rain the previous week lowered the attendance of his first walk.

Bundled up to withstand what was an unseasonal wintry breeze, more than a dozen gathered for a second go at it. Walking past the nearly empty Hub, the group made their leisurely way up to the front campus green space where the trees were alive with color.

A mix of students, faculty and off-campus visitors each had a unique aim for the morning. For Christina Stanek and Salma Benhaida, members of the Office of Global Education staff, it was a chance to gather new expertise and perspective for marketing brochures.

“It’s a good opportunity to take pictures with people who know more about photography than we do,” Stanek said.

This appreciation was echoed by Brian Katona, senior aeronautics major. Though he considers himself an amateur, he said he couldn’t pass up the chance to capture his favorite season with other photographers.

One of only a handful of people without a tripod, Katona was snapping photos with an old film camera that once belonged to his grandfather, giving an old-fashioned flavor to the antique art.

The group played a sort of casual photography leapfrog as people first wandered ahead and then remained back a few paces, trying to achieve the best angle of buildings, greenery and construction. While familiar to some, others were looking upon this scene with fresh eyes.

“Everyone takes the exact same pictures in Hudson, so we’re looking for something new,” said Mary Lauletta, a Hudson High School senior part of teacher Tim Naujoks’ photo class.

Naujoks, a friend of Lefton’s and a Kent State graduate, met the president at Campus Camera and found the walk to be a great opportunity for students interested in Kent State.

“How many times do they get to brush shoulders with the president?” Naujoks said.

Lauletta soaked up her new surroundings by lying on the leaves for the sake of an original shot.

To these students and to those who stride across the campus more regularly, Lefton expressed hopes that they would “appreciate the visual world and the gift of sight” in his weekly “In A Flash” message sent Friday morning.

“It takes a little practice to view everyday surroundings with new eyes,” Lefton said, “but I think it’s worth the effort.”

The group began plans to post the results of their photo walk creativity on a Flickr page in the coming weeks.

Contact Hannah Kelling at [email protected].