JOHN DAY - When Acynthia Sanford and her husband, Phil, moved their family to Grant County, they both worked in the woods. Acynthia did forest service hand-piling contracts and Phil was a logger.
"Not many people know that about me," she said.
Acynthia always had an interest in photography. Phil bought her a camera and some film and people noticed right away that she had a talent for it.
Sylvia Crowell, a photographer here at the time, encouraged her to pursue a career in photography and even loaned her a medium format camera for about six months. Ernie Sharp, also a photographer here for many years, saw her talent, as well.
"Everyone thought I had a talent for photography and a camera is a lot lighter than a chain saw," Acynthia said.
Her first professional photos were taken at Sonshine School, where she photographed preschoolers and their classes.
Acynthia credits her artistic talents from her father's side of the family. She used to do pencil sketches, and wrote poetry and short stories, but photography is her favorite art form.
She doesn't have a favorite subject to photograph.
"I enjoy everything," she said.
Her favorite way to photograph people is when they're just being themselves, natural, and don't know they are being photographed.
Her top five tips for taking a good picture are lighting, location, composition, enjoy what you're seeing and visualize from different angles to get the best shot.
After about 23 years in the photography business, Acynthia closed her shop Nov. 30.
Radio Shack bought her color copier, and she sold her lighting equipment and several backdrops to Lindsey Wyllie, who just opened his own photography shop in the same building she vacated.
Phil always backed her in her photography, Acynthia said. He died in a logging accident April 19, 1990, a week after celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.
She has three children. David lives in Spangle, Wash., Tressa lives in Mount Vernon, Wash., and John lives in Dallas.
Acynthia plans to spend some time with her grandchildren and family. After she has a little break, she will go back to doing what she loves, photography. She will do wildlife and scenic photography, and family portraits.
"A big thanks to the folks of Grant County for sharing their lives with me in all different types of settings. I will miss the people the most. That's why I stayed in business for so long, for the people and their encouragements to share in their lives and their relationships with God," she said.