As a child, Jan Kepley didn't always color inside the lines.
As an adult, that fun and mischievous personality continues to shine through into his career and passion: photography.
Kepley is, by no means, your "typical" photographer.
Self-taught, Kepley makes up his own rules about what's right, wrong or other. When it comes to portraits, he doesn't strive to capture "perfect" pictures; rather he tries to freeze real and honest images. And when it comes to nature shots, he's known to combine elements from different scenes - a digital image of two birds flying over the strait, a drawing of tall, sturdy trees and the color of the sky when there are no clouds in sight. All of which is made possible by technology and a graphic arts brush.
"A lot of the work I do right now is half and half," Kepley said.
"It's more like painting than photography; I just go out and collect the elements."
When the mood strikes, Kepley still shoots "true" photos. Whether it's the clouds in the sky, "ice trees" on a frozen car windshield or a beautiful sunset, Kepley always is searching for beautiful images in nature.
A variety of Kepley's photographs will be on display at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave., through September. A special First Friday celebration is from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, with live music and refreshments. The exhibit is the first time Kepley's work has been on display in years.
Transplanted Oregonians, Kepley and his wife moved to Sequim in 1980. Originally a painter, "mid-life changes" caused Kepley to put down his paintbrush and pick up his wife's camera.
"She had a Kodak Instamatic, so I started playing with it," Kepley recalled.
"Before long, I bought a decent camera and got swept away with photography."
That was 28 years ago but the Kodak Instamatic is still on the shelf as a reminder of how his passion was ignited.
The library exhibit features 13 of Kepley's nature images but he also specializes in wedding photography. One year he shot 46 weddings all over the region, four of which took place within a span of five days.
In an effort to capture the true spark between couples, Kepley avoids traditional "stiff" or "phony" poses. In fact, he manipulates people as little as possible.
"I think good wedding photographs should do more than just look like you, they should also represent you," he said boldly.
"We like warmth in our images. We like affection. We like laughter and we like tears."
Kepley is friendly and enjoys striking up conversations with people. Whether it's on the trail in search of a striking photograph or at a wedding celebrating marital bliss, it takes only a handshake to initiate friendship.
For more information about Kepley or to see examples of his work, go online to www.natural-light-photography.com.