Growing up a few blocks from the Indianapolis 500 in Speedway, Ind., photographer Pat Laskowski spent her childhood snapping pictures of race cars. Now settled in Sun City Center, Laskowski captures slower paced creatures, such as the black-bellied whistling duck.
Laskowski said she spotted the duck at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County. The duck is considered unusual among North American waterfowl because of its long pink legs and distinctive white wing patch.
"He was intriguing sitting up in the tree," said Laskowski, a member of the Sun City Center Photography Club. "I am primarily into nature, cityscapes, and landscapes. I really don't get into people except for the occasional picture of the grandkids."
A wine-and-cheese reception as well as the opening of her photography exhibit, "Sights of Florida," is scheduled for 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Her work will be on display through Oct. 11.
She became more interested in shooting Florida nature scenes about six years ago when she started wintering on St. Pete Beach. She took "photo walks" with other photographers who met through meetup.com, a social networking site that connects people with similar interests.
"It's not all sunsets and palm trees here," she said. "The wildlife is here year-round because of the migration. We get an assortment of birds that come in. You can go to swamps. You have areas that if you didn't know you were in Florida, you would think you were up North because of the live oaks."
A baby boomer who is turning 56 this month, Laskowski still works full time as an administrative specialist at the Diabetes Center at the University of South Florida.
"I am probably in the minority; I don't know how many are in that age bracket," she said of living in Sun City Center. "I knew I wanted to end up there and didn't want to move again. It's a nice community. Everything is available by golf cart. When I come home on Friday evening, I don't have to use my car until Monday when I have to go back to earth."
Vicki Breaugh, the publicity coordinator for the club, said the photography club now boasts 222 members.
She said Laskowski's work is part of a series of photographic displays at the SCC Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza. Having regular exhibits at the chamber gives the club and members more exposure.
"We are starting to get some younger people," Breaugh said. "The last chamber exhibit opening we had over 30 people and then they have people that stop by during the month occasionally."
Laskowski said she likes being a part of the club because the different photographers all share their tips.
"I'm still learning," she said. "I learn something practically every time I get together with my photography groups."
Laskowski, who has six grandchildren, moved to Sun City Center from Indiana in 2011.
In addition to shooting Florida nature scenes, she has photographed her travels to Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
For information on the SCC Photo Club and its activities, visit www.photoclubscc.com or the photo learning lab at 960D Cherry Hills Drive.