Retired chemist Lynn Whitmore says coming to LFCC to take Professor Rob Simpson’s Outdoor and Nature Photography Career Studies Certificate was “the best thing I ever did.”
Whitmore graduated from James Madison University in 1971 with a biology degree. She then went to medical technology school at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, and worked in the chemistry section of the hospital’s lab for 40 years.
The Broadway resident wanted to go into photography when she retired three years ago, and set up her own business.
“I wanted to take it to the next level and be published,” Whitmore said.
She attended a presentation on the career studies program by Simpson and his wife, Professor Ann Simpson, at a library in Harrisonburg.
Whitmore received her certificate about a month ago. She didn’t have to take several required courses because she had already studied botany and ecology when she obtained her undergraduate degree.
“[Simpson’s] whole program, I could not have learned anywhere else,” she said. “The basics I already knew. I still learned additional basics. The careers in photography information – that cannot be obtained from a book. It’s invaluable information that he provides his students.
“The program is set up for those who want to be published. We’re very serious photographers. It was a lot of work, but well worth it.”
Whitmore has taken photography for the town of Broadway, and it is displayed on the town’s website and new Facebook page.
“Seventy-five percent of the photos used on the new site are mine,” she said.
Whitmore also supplies numerous photos for the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University. She takes numerous photos of insects, flowers and ferns. “About a year ago I photographed about 30 different mushrooms for them,” Whitmore said.
She also presents her work to garden clubs.
About 20 years ago, Whitmore started taking short photo classes at Blue Ridge Community College.
“It wasn’t until retirement neared and I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’ and photography [seemed right],” she said. “I always, always enjoyed it.”
Rob Simpson is “wonderful,” Whitmore said.
“He devotes his time to all of the students,” she said. “He’s available outside the office. This is information that I could not have gotten anywhere else. All of us students have kept in contact with one another.”
Whitmore is sure to mention the LFCC photography program in any presentations she gives. She appreciated that she could do most of it online, but acknowledged the work was rigorous.
“[Simpson’s] responsible for a lot of good photographers out there,” Whitmore said. “He gives us encouragement, yet fair critique as well.
“The best thing I ever did was attend Lord Fairfax. There’s no other program like it. It was worth my time and energy.”