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Photographer Vldn Taylor took his first photography class in high school and has been hooked ever since.

PIONEER PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - Vldn Taylor pauses for a photo at Spiral Gallery where he is a featured artist for January.Local fine-art landscape photographer, Vldn Taylor, is one of this month's guest artists at Estacada's Spiral Gallery, 341 Broadway Street. Jan. 5 was the small town's monthly first Friday celebration, and the art gallery was filled with art lovers. Taylor, who went to school in Estacada from third grade through his junior year, was greeted by old friends and those admiring his work to discuss his photography skills.

Taylor says in his biography on his web-page that he took his first photography class in high school, bought his first Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera in 2011 for a trip to Alaska and has been obsessed with photography ever since.

"I love sharing the natural beauty this world has to offer through photography, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live," Taylor said. "I like creating photographs that draw you in and make you feel like you are there standing on the edge looking at the valley below and the mountains on the other side, smelling the flowers, hearing the waves hit the shoreline, watching the storm clouds pass by or hearing the roar of the waterfall and watching the water flow over the cliff in front of you."

SUBMITTED PHOTO: VLDN TAYLOR - Pictured is 'The Time Before' photo by Vldn Taylor on display at Three Rivers Artists Guild Gallery at 623 7th Street in Oregon City.

In 2013, after he had shoulder surgery and had to sit in a physical therapy chair for three hours a day, Taylor said to pass the time he watched YouTube photography videos and still is always pursuing knowledge of photography and post-photography by reading articles, listening to podcasts, taking workshops with top landscape photographers and watching a lot of videos. He also explores printing with different mediums including aluminum and acrylic.

Taylor is a member of the Oregon City Camera Club where he is a lead on some photo outings. Over the New Year's weekend he hiked into Tamanawas Falls to scout photo locations for the group. He is also a member of the Three Rivers Artists Guild where his photographs are displayed in their gallery at 623 Seventh Street, Oregon City.

SUBMITTED PHOTO: VLDN TAYLOR - Prints by Vldn Taylor are for sale at Three Rivers Artists Guild Gallery.

Taylor's best seller is his "Stages of the 2017 Eclipse." His photo of the Weeping Walls before the Eagle Creek Trails wildland fire, entitled "Hidden Jewel," has more than 200,000 hits on social media.

Taylor explains that his name, Vldn, is pronounced Veldon. He explains he was born into a religious cult in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri where names were based on Sanskrit, the first written language. His parents left the cult when he was two and moved to Oregon. They moved to Estacada when he was eight years old. He and his wife, Jewli, met at church in Eagle Creek, and after marrying, moved to Colton in 1988. He discovered through genealogical research that he is related to many Colton residents. Mildred Axmaker helped him put names to pictures he had of old family members when they discovered she had some of the same photographs.

In the past, Taylor has coached wrestling in Colton at both the high school and middle school levels. He has worked at Precision Castparts Corp. for 30 years.

"I view photography as a tool to artistically recreate the scene that was in front of me," Taylor writes. "My goal is to create photographic art that inspires and evoke emotions."

You can view his photographs at his website.

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