She has nature in focus

Local photographer Peggy Zane Martinet has creativity in her blood. Her father was a photographer and her grandparents were part of one of the first traveling circuses in the United States.

Using the world around her as a backdrop and adding a bit of her own style, Martinet, a wife, mother and grandmother, has taken her passion for photography and combined it with her love of nature and stop-and-smell-the-roses attitude. Her latest works are currently on display at Penelope's Café in La Cañada Flintridge, featuring images from her travels around the world and some subjects that she finds in her own backyard in Glendale.

"The first time I thought about taking photos, we were up in Victoria, Canada on a camping trip and we went to Butchart Gardens," Martinet said. "They had begonias like I had never seen and I started snapping pictures. When I got home and saw what I had captured, I kind of liked it. Over the years, I had done a little bit, but I was working. And then I retired almost four years ago and it's just been a real new and exciting thing and I just love it."

A Southern California native who grew up in Toluca Lake, Martinet's parents were both in the motion-picture business. "I was brought up in that," she said. "My father also loved to take photos, though only black-and-white ones in those days. And he was really good. He never did anything like this, but he could capture whatever it is. I was raised in a house like that."

Along with her husband of 50 years, Ken, Martinet is a member at St. Bede the Venerable Church and is actively involved with Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters. With a daughter who is a teacher at the Community Center, Martinet says of La Cañada, "Our lives are here."

Using the world around her as a backdrop, Martinet's photos capture moments she cherishes. Descanso Gardens and the Huntington Library are favorite spots for her, as is the California coastline. "I really like the macro lens and capturing the beauty inside of a flower," she says. "My favorite place is Cambria. It's absolutely paradise. We go up there quite often. I am constantly taking pictures, all along the coast. I take them over and over again, and every time I take them, they're different. So that's my spot."

Martinet credits her love of nature as an inspiration in her work, and the display at Penelope's is clear evidence of this.

"I find so much of God in nature and I think that's what keeps me going," Martinet says. "I look at something and think, God created these amazing things and I'm very taken with it. I see it and I want somebody else to see it. I'll be with friends and I'll stop and say, have you really looked at that flower? And a lot of people don't. To really look at it and see the beauty in it — that's what gets me going."

One photograph, titled "Male Deer Fawn," was taken in Martinet's backyard when a deer unexpectedly walked toward her. The photograph is an example of Martinet's use of nature as a subject in her photography. However, a trip to Ghana inspired Martinet to take rolls of film capturing the daily lives of those who live there.

"That was very unusual of me," she says of the photos from her trip. "I think the only pictures I've taken of people were my grandkids. Those people were like looking at a beautiful flower; they were so happy, they smile so big. They're just the happiest people and they have nothing."

With the support of her friends and family, Martinet plans to continue taking photographs for as long as she is able to. "People encourage me," she says. "They ask if they can buy a few photographs and it's just fun."

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