Heather Tianen has turned a hobby into a passion for photography
At first, her hobby took her to the sideline of a football game.
Now, it has taken Heather Tianen out of this world.
Known around Union High School as the school’s unofficial, official sports photographer, Heather Tianen has been taking online courses, trying to improve her skills.
Her talent was on display Tuesday night when she captured Comet NEOWISE along with the famous Vista House in Corbett, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge.
“Photo rush!” she described it.
“I saw it. Oh, this is the one.”
It has been a wild July for Tianen. She took a vacation to national parks Yellowstone and Grand Teton. She has shared a few of her photos on her facebook page, including a shot she took of the Grand Prismatic Spring.
“It was so amazing,” she said of the largest hot spring in the United States. “I knew that is what I wanted to go see.”
Four days at Yellowstone, and a couple days at Grand Teton.
“I really wish we had more time there. The mountains are so spectacular,” Tianen said. “I have so many photos. I haven’t even looked at (most of) them. Non-stop go, and taking photos, then we came home and went back to work.”
A couple days later, she went about chasing a comet. Her son, Ethan, drove her to Vista House on Tuesday. As soon as she got her perfect shot, she wanted a different angle. It was around midnight.
“Take me to Battle Ground,” she told her son.
“No Mom. You said I only had to take you to Vista House,” was the reply.
Heather Tianen and those just like her, photography and/or astronomy buffs, have a few more nights to get a view of NEOWISE. Experts say an hour or so after sunset is a good time to start looking into the Northwestern sky, low on the horizon.
While it can be spotted from Vancouver, it is recommended to get away from city lights.
Tianen will keep looking up until she can look at sports through her camera lens again. She is hoping for a football season. That is how she got her start, after all. Interested in photography, but never serious about it, she was in awe of great sports photos.
“So I studied, got better, got a different camera, and got a sports lens,” Tianen said. “Each year, I feel like I’ve gotten a little better.”
She became such a constant at her son’s games. Plus, she was giving away her photos of other athletes.
“I just wanted the kids to have cool memories,” she said. “I love it. It’s a hobby for me. I get off work, and I get to go have fun. It’s fun for me.”
That fun led her to being on the sideline in the fall of 2018 when the Union Titans won the Class 4A state football championship.
From sports, to mountains, to the stars, her focus changes, yet stays the same: She just wants to keep improving.
Which is why she is proud of her NEOWISE photo with the Vista House. She said it was about a 15-second exposure.
“You’ve got to know what you’re doing to get it the way you want it to be,” Tianen said.