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Outdoors: Wildlife, photography interests converge

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Updated: September 3, 2013 7:56AM



Boilermakers are going the way of newspapermen, so I have an interest in Mike Lewandowski taking up photography.

The 49-year-old boilermaker (Local 1) from Highland drew attention with his photographs of the nesting Calumet eagles. Our paths have crossed at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery in Hammond, where two Lewandowski photographs are on display and both of us have had sons perform at the famed Acoustic Jam/Open Table Potluck on Thursday evenings.

“He has a good camera, and is starting out,’’ said Dave Mueller, owner of Paul Henry’s. “He does cars, cemeteries and wildlife. I got him to do the church. He is Catholic. I figured it was a good project for him.’’

That “good project’’ on St. Joseph Catholic Church is on display at the Blue Room Cafe in Hammond.

Two of his favorite shots are “9-11,’’ a Calumet eagle, and “Graveyard Pony,’’ a Mustang by a graveyard (displayed at Paul Henry’s).

“I always liked taking pictures,’’ Lewandowski said. “A couple years ago I got a decent camera.’’

He “had’’ a good camera, a Canon. Then, while photographing the eagles in his kayak, which he bought to take better photos, he tipped. There went the Canon. He replaced it with a remanufactured Canon and has a “higher Visa.’’

“It’s cool a guy with a high-school education and no training is doing this,’’ said Lewandowski, who joined the Navy after graduating Highland High.

He continues to learn art and photography. His inspiration is local artist and photographer Lora Mercado.

The eagles draw him. The nest is only a few miles from his home. Sometimes he sees them foraging along the Little Calumet while he walks his dog.

Nature photography comes naturally enough. He loves fishing and has a fishing trailer near Webster Lake, the great muskie lake, and thinks that would be a good retirement spot.

“Beside my son, this is probably going to be my legacy,’’ Lewandowski said. “It is not a money-making thing. But it is nice.’’

Sample his work at “Lew Shots Photography’’ on Facebook.

Ducks Unlimited: Porter County Ducks Unlimited Hog Roast is Saturday at the Porter County Conservation Club in Valparaiso. Contact Lloyd Trumbo at (219) 771-7885 or Mike Opat (219) 898-8464.

Hunting classes: Spots remain for the hunter safety course at Cedar Creek Family Golf Center in Cedar Lake on Aug. 16-17. Preregistration at in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/4812.htm is required.

Fair enough: Lake County Fish and Game will have a booth through Aug. 11 at the Lake County Fair. ... The Indiana DNR has daily activities at the Indiana State Fair through Aug. 18. Go to in.gov/dnr/5524.htm for listings.

Lake Michigan & tribs: Brian Breidert, Lake Michigan fisheries biologist, noted Wednesday that it was “64 degrees in the creeks and steelhead are plentiful.’’ ... Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said there’s a good mixed bag of kings, coho, steelhead and lakers in 120-135 feet between the Ditch and Michigan City. ... Perch fishermen are trying again. The question is how boaters will do in the weed beds off Navy Pier in Chicago, since perch fishing reopened Thursday in Illinois.

Inland fishing: Rivers are in their best shape of the year for wading and floating. ... Sleziak said cooler weather has customers out fishing for anything and everything. Catfish remain the strongest bite, especially along the Riverwalk in Portage. Bluegill on ponds and lakes are a close second. ... The launch reopened Thursday at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area.

Goosed: A workshop on hunting Canada geese is Aug. 10 at Kankakee FWA. Register by calling (574) 896-3522.



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