Algonquin resident Paul McFadden is sharing some of his favorite photos in the Harnish Main Library gallery through September. Paul and his wife Beverly have lived in the Algonquin area for 48 years and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
After graduating high school in 1955, Paul went to work at a newspaper photo processing lab in Iowa. “I immediately determined that it would be more fun taking photos than processing them, so I asked for a camera one
day when the chief photographer was on vacation,” Paul says. He took the camera home and started taking photos.
One of the very first photos he took was of three baby owls in a little tree in their rural Dubuque, Iowa, farm home. “They were snuggled up close together on a branch and one of them blinked just as I shot the picture,” he says. “I gave it to the photo editor the next day and was immediately promoted to a photographer’s position,
which I held until joining the Air Force two years later.”
Paul tested well and was able to go into the Air Force as a photographer assigned to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base in Oklahoma. “I was a base photographer, which meant I took a lot of boring, mundane photos of officers’ wives clubs meetings, airmen, officers club’s events, etc.,” he says. “It also meant that I spent time on the flight line taking pictures of B-52 bombers and Kc-135refueling aircraft. I even got to go up in the refueling aircraft and take aerial photos of B52 refueling missions. What a kick that was!”
Two years later Paul was moved to France to an aerial reconnaissance unit, where it was strictly photo processing for three “boring” years. “But I got to tour Europe in my Volkswagen and photograph it as I toured,” he notes. After the Air Force, Paul went back to The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa for one year as a news photographer. After he moved to Chicago Area, Paul worked as an American Airlines Passenger Service agent and retired from there in 1995 after 31 years of service. He married fellow employee Beverly in 1966.
“I have stayed in photography all that time as an avid amateur,” he says. “My computer has more than 20,000 images on it.” Paul enters area photo contests (mostly those sponsored by area conservation districts) and has won several awards. “My primary subjects are birds, butterflies, beasts, and blossoms as well as scenes,” he says. “The Fox River is great for scenic photography.”
Paul and his wife Beverly make about 50 calendars every year for extended family, friends and “the good doctors who keep my engine running.” Each calendar uses about 48 of his photos from the previous year.
Aside from the Algonquin area, Paul’s favorite places for photography are Dubuque; La Crescent, Minn.; and the ocean front area around Huntington Beach, Calif., where his son lives.
Animal and bird close-up photos shot with Canon 400mm to 600mm lenses.