Local photographer takes his photos to the third dimension

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2016

While some are happy with regular photos, one photographer wanted to take things to the next dimension.

Ron Curtis is a Nicholasville native who owns and operates a computer repair business that has clientele in Nicholasville, Danville and Lexington.

Curtis said when the digital age hit, a lot of his clients began bringing their cameras in and asking him to help transfer pictures from the cameras on to a computer, and then edit them.

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“Somewhere along the line I realized that looked like a lot of fun,” Curtis said. “So I started going out and taking pictures myself.”

Curtis started off his photography endeavor by experimenting with taking 3D photos.

With great ambition comes great research. Curtis said he searched through countless articles online, and only came across a few.

He found an article about a photographer with Sports Illustrated who took 3D photos of the Olympics and what equipment he used.

He also found articles from NASA about a 3D class kit that would enable teachers to show students 3D images of Mars and allow them to measure distances between objects such as rocks.

Though the articles found showed the equipment that was used to take 3D photos, none of them showed how it was actually done, Curtis said.

So, he self-taught.

He bought a pair of disposable cameras and glued them end to end. He then went to a bridge in Jessamine County and took pictures of the creek below it.

He quickly figured out how to merge the images together after several attempts.

“Everything was very much trial and error,” Curtis said.

He said for every good image there were probably eight or 10 bad ones.

From then on, Curtis worked on his skills. As he improved on his craft he, also improved on equipment.

He moved from disposable cameras to two Sony cameras that were side by side, and he had to press both buttons at the same time to make it work.

“I got very good at it,” Curtis said. “I could take images of not just still pictures, but also moving objects and catch the motion in 3D.”

Over the past nine years, he has gone through seven sets of cameras, upgrading each time. On his most recent pair, he used his computer and electronic background to electronically link the cameras together. Though he still uses two cameras, he only has to click on button to take a picture.

He strives to take two simultaneous pictures because that is how a 3D photo is made.

Once the two photos are taken, Curtis said he uses the program StereoPhoto Maker, to blend the two images and make them the appropriate colors to be seen in 3D.

While Photoshop and other software can be used to make 3D images, Curtis said StereoPhoto is the easiest one to use, and it takes him about three or four minutes to put a 3D image together.

After two years of honing in on his craft, Curtis began taking pictures of people and selling them. Six years in, he bought his signature business card — a pair of 3D glasses — for his business pictureky.com.

“So far I’ve given out over 42,000 pairs of glasses,” Curtis said.

Once the glasses were purchased, Curtis took his business on the road, doing up to four to five events a week.

“In the last six years I’ve covered every type of event you can imagine,” Curtis said.

He can be found among the many festivities in places such as Keenland, the Equestrian Games, Civil War Days and Scarefest.

Though there is one event he said he will not do: weddings.

Curtis’s 3D and regular photos, that he has sold to customers all over the world, can cost anywhere from $9.99 to $17.99 per photo, depending on the size and finish.

He said it cost him the same amount to make a 3D photo as it does a regular photo.

“While 3D images draw the customer in, I sell mostly regular pictures,” Curtis said.

Though he admited he is very used to having the other camera hanging around for 3D pictures.

“When I go out on photo shoots with just one camera, I feel like half of it’s missing,” Curtis said.

Curtis is available for private photo shoots as well as events, he can be contacted through his website, pictureky.com.

At the moment, Curtis still does computer repairs while also taking photos and running his business.

“I eventually would probably like to sell the company,” Curtis said. “With the page views that I get now on the website, it would be a very good advertising opportunity for someone.”

Over the years, Curtis said he has taken thousands of pictures, and it’s difficult to pick his favorite one, but each shoot holds a special image.

“You go out taking pictures, you come back and look at the images, and the very least one you would expect is the one that talks to you,” Curtis said.