Meet Bette Boren, Photographer

I have had an interest in photography since High School. I was the one walking around with a camera in hand at parties, hiking and other events. After High School I took a few courses in Photography at Fullerton College and was fortunate to have one of my photos of a Hermit Crab featured for the month of July in the College calendar. Then I took a correspondence course with the New York Institute of Photography. This was back before computers and digital cameras and I would have to mail my assignments to them.

At one point I had turned a walk-in closet of our home into a dark room and enjoyed producing black & white and sepia toned photos. I loved giving some of my photos an old time look by painting parts or all of the photo with photo oils. This was back in the film days.

I had many hobbies and interests all involving some sort of creativity. Then my stained- glass hobby turned into a business and that took me through the next 18 years of my life. I built windows for Churches, restaurants and custom homes from San Diego to San Fernando Valley in California. During this time my photography pursuit got put on the back burner and forgotten about.

During the next 20 years of my life, I became a realtor and was known by my colleagues as a hardworking top producer. There were times that I had 7-8 homes listed for sale at one time. This business took all of my life and I found myself working what felt like 24/7. In actuality, I worked until 10 or 11 pm every day of the week. I only existed to work. I had gotten sucked into becoming a workaholic. My life enjoyment was gone. With all of the appointments and deadlines that job required, I was on a rollercoaster that I couldn’t get off. My life was meaningless and my artistic juices drained. Thank God, He got me out of that rut. He had to do it the hard way, but it worked.

This is the back-story that propelled me forward and back into a life worth living, a life of beauty, enjoyment and photography.

In December of 2009, I needed a simple outpatient gallbladder removal surgery due to gall stones. I was supposed to be back at work in two days. Instead, things went terribly wrong and rather than being back at work in 2 days I ended up being admitted into the hospital and needed a total of 7 surgeries. After my 2nd surgery I almost died while in the hospital, when I hemorrhaged and lost 4 ½ pints of blood. Ironically, this was on my birthday Dec. 13th. I spent the next month in intensive care on deaths doorstep as organs failed and more surgeries were needed. It was a long slow recovery and took several years of recuperating before I finally felt somewhat normal again. But I had finally gotten off the rollercoaster and was not working at full speed ahead anymore.

God in His mercy had a better plan for me and my life. This was the reality check that I needed.

My near-death experience is what truly gave me back my life. I had to be knocked down to stop and look up and realize how I was wasting the life God had given me. Life is too precious and I was granted a second chance at it. With faith in God and His goodness to me, He rescued me and has made my life viable again.

Seeing life through new eyes and meaning, I appreciated everything living. All of God’s creatures, the birds and bees, flowers, trees – all of nature is alive and beautiful. God says, “Even the rocks cry out to Him in praise.” People don’t realize that bugs look at you when taking their photo. Mother birds are so gentle with their young. I knew I had to pick up my camera again to try to capture this magnificent creation all around us in all of its charm and mystery to share with others.

You cannot help but look at nature and see the signature of the Almighty Artist, our Creator. The earth is vibrantly alive with God, giving vivid evidence to His presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find God everywhere and come to realize He is right here among us.

A focus on God and nature keeps us in the present; it stops us from worrying about the future, regretting the past and wasting the pleasures of each day in this life. With my collection of photographs, I want to preserve a moment of time that is here and now, alive and waiting to be explored. Maybe this will encourage you to get out and enjoy nature too.

All of my photos of wildlife are taken in nature, not at zoos or wild animal parks.