Morganton woman captures nature on note cards [The News Herald, Morganton, N.C.]
(News Herald (Morganton, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 27--MORGANTON, Nc -- Sandy Whisnant Sisk's bucket list doesn't include jumping out of an airplane or traveling to some far away land.
Instead she has on her list places within driving distance to visit and photograph.
Sisk has turned her hobby of nature photography into a side business with Notecards by Sandy.
She uses a basic Kodak digital camera, photo quality paper, her own printer, lots of ink and a paper cutter to make note cards depicting familiar scenes from Burke and surrounding areas.
"I love where we live," said the hometown girl and 1988 Freedom High School grad. "I love Morganton and Burke County. In a few minutes you can be at the lake and in 30 minutes you can be on the Parkway. And I love history and keepsakes."
Sisk has been married to husband, David, for 22 years, and they have two children, Laruen, 17, and Alex, 10.
David's family's farm, off Fish Hatchery Road, boasts one of the best views of Table Rock and inspired Sisk to take her first nature photos.
"The first time I saw it, it took my breath away," Sisk said of the view.
While fall is Sisk's favorite season, she enjoys watching the changes in the view of Table Rock from day to night and from season to season.
Sisk's day job is being the office manager for Burke Outdoor, where she has worked since 1997. Her photography hobby became a business when David, who works at Western Youth Institution, fell ill with cancer.
"With him being sick," she said, "(photography) was an outlet, an escape for me and a way to earn some extra money."
Sisk packages her note cards in stacks of 12 for $10. The inside of the cards are blank and envelopes are included.
"With technology today," she said, "email and texting, not many people send handwritten cards. Not only is the picture a keepsake, but you get something handwritten."
In addition to Table Rock, the pictures on Sisk's note cards include downtown Morganton scenes such as the old courthouse and train depot; landmarks such as the old Broughton barn and water tower at North Carolina School for the Deaf; close-ups of flowers and fallen leaves on pathways; and landscapes of Shortoff Mountain and Lake James.
Sisk prints inspirational quotes and Bible scripture on some of the cards.
She said the business venture is a family affair as her husband and children travel to photo shoots with her and get involved in the printing and folding process of making the cards.
"It's family time, and we get to be outdoors," Sisk said.
The photobug has rubbed off on daughter, Lauren, who did her senior project on professional photography and won a local photography contest Burke Weather sponsored.
To enhance her own photography skills, Sisk networks with professional photographers on Facebook and took a continuing education class at Western Piedmont Community College under Marv Higgins, known for his car photos in The News Herald's Foothills' Ride section.
While she likes taking photos of her kids, she would rather photograph nature than people.
"I'm a whole lot more comfortable taking pictures of a tree or a trail or a flower," Sisk said.
Sisk has sold her note cards at church bazaars and Blue Ridge HealthCare's Lady Fair plus takes online orders through her email (email@example.com) or Facebook (Notecards-by Sandy Sisk).
She also enjoys giving her cards as gifts, plus occasionally receiving them.
"When I get one back in the mail, it's fun," she said.
As for that bucket list, a trip to South Mountain State Park is on Sisk's.
"I've lived in Burke County all my life and have never been," she said.
(c)2013 The News Herald (Morganton, N.C.)
Visit The News Herald (Morganton, N.C.) at www.morganton.com
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