Matalyn Gardner retired at age 50 from her job with the city of Dallas, picked up a camera and began looking at the world through a lens.
"I couldn't just sit and do nothing. I had done public relations work with the city and always wanted to write, so I took journalism at a junior college," Gardner said.
When she began working as a reporter for the weekly Suburban Tribune Gardner said she found out photographers weren't always around when she needed a picture taken.
She bought a camera, took another college course and was able to take the pictures she needed for her stories.
The story was often in the faces, Gardner said.
Photography can be more work than pleasure.
"I did a wedding once. I loved interacting with the people and hated the production part of it. That's not for me, I want to do the fun stuff," Gardner said.
When Gardner's husband Bob retired in 1999, the couple moved to the Rim Country.
"I got here with the intention of writing and taking photographs," she said.
The writing she has done has been for business brochures.
Armed with her Canon 30D camera she has explored her love of landscapes and wildlife.
She captured the flight of a blue heron while hiking near her home on the East Verde River.
She watched nearly three-dozen eagles, soar, capture fish and preen on Lake Mary during an Arizona Fish and Game workshop. She looks forward to returning to the site next February with a different lens.
"There is so much beauty out there. Enjoy life -- it is so short," she said.
An experience at a recent craft show led Gardner to want to photograph individuals again.
When she overheard a mother and grandmother wishing for a camera as their children sat on Santa's lap, she offered to take a picture and e-mail it to them.
"I caught the children looking at Santa," Gardner said. The picture is not ready for publication yet.
Gardner will be part of an arts and craft show in the East Verde Park library building Dec. 1 and 2.