Sunday, January 26, 2003

Tom Alber


Allure of animals

It was the family dog, Alex, who motivated lifelong photographer Tom Alper to develop his skill behind the lens. "I wanted to take a portrait of my dog," Alper says. "I took a lot of pictures, but most of them didn't come out too good."

Nevertheless, Alper took such pleasure in photographing Alex that he decided to pursue animal photography. Five years later, after two classes at Kaimuki High School's continuing education program, membership in three photography clubs and countless visits to the HonoluluZoo, the results are stunning.

Djelita, a female Sumatran tiger at the Honolulu Zoo, finds Tom Alber and his camera as interesting as he finds her. It was Alber's beloved golden retriever, Alex, who introduced his master to the joys of animal photography.

"You really must have patience in animal photography," Alber says. "I hung around the tiger cage for about 45 minutes before I could get my shot."

Still, he finds the results worth the effort.

"I love the animals' postures and facial expressions. Especially the big cats. I find such beauty in the colors and patterns on their bodies."

A vibrant gecko lies in wait for its next meal, while a butterfly adds interesting contrast to the magenta of a bougainvillea plant.

Scar, a 7-year-old male cheetah at the Honolulu Zoo, relaxes in green surroundings. Alber says he enjoys photographing the big cats best.


Artists and photographers are invited to submit portfolios of their work. Send photocopied samples to Portfolio, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813; or e-mail jpeg images to

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