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Shooting Around
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 07/10/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This is the first in an occasional series profiling Arizona student-athletes' lives and interests away from competition.

Like many of his fellow student-athletes, senior Arizona basketball center Kirk Walters isn’t seeing much more than the inside of McKale Center during these dog days of summer.

 

“There’s going to be no road trip home this year, which has kind of been a tradition,” Walters said. “I just need to stay around here and work out and take classes.”

 

The 6-foot-10-inch returning starter does have a quick trip planned to see friends and family in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., in August. But jumping onto a plane to steal some time back home isn’t anything like the rambling, coming-of-age road adventures he’s taken in past summers with his childhood buddies, when they would take extra time to visit the great outdoors on the way.


A basketball tournament gift introduced
Walters to photography.
 

It was just such a trip after his freshman year that gave Walters a new way to look at the world: through a camera lens.

 

An inexpensive, 2-megapixel camera included in a basketball tournament gift bag from Walters’ first season as a Wildcat gave him a power he had never had on family vacations.

 

“When I was a kid we always went on big family vacations to different places ?- national parks mostly,” Walters said. “Having five kids in the family, I never got to take the pictures.

 

“I always wanted to, but I think one of the reasons was I was really young and my mom never really thought I would take good pictures, and then she would have to pay to get them developed.”

Kirk Walters' Photo Exhibit

Slideshow | Video Commentary

 

With his modest digital wonder, the now-college freshman had the freedom to explore what quickly became a new passion. If a photo didn’t come out just right, all he had to do was hit the delete button and try again. He was hooked.

 

He put his skills to the test that summer, when three of his friends drove down to Tucson and the group explored national parks on the road trip back home. At Rocky Mountain National Park, Walters had one of his friends shoot a picture of him standing on a large rock, arms outstretched like wings.

 

“Sometimes just walking around, I’ll frame a picture in my mind,” Walters said. “I told my friend what I was thinking of and he took the picture.”

 

Since then, Walters has continued to expand his vision and imagination, combining candid shots with ideas for photos he comes up with in his mind. He’s expanded his shooting power, too, upgrading to a 6-mexapixel camera and passing on the one that got everything started to his younger brother.

 

Walters’ range extends from breathtaking nature photography to Photoshop enhancements and alterations ?- sometimes on the goofy side ?- as evidenced by a shot of him with his niece Abbi and six Photoshop twins of her in different poses on the couch.

 

He’s looking forward to continuing to improve his on and off-court shooting as the Wildcats head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in September for a Labor Day Weekend exhibition trip. Now that Walters has become acquainted with the national parks between Tucson and Michigan, he’s hoping to make even more trips to the north.

 

“There are some national parks in the Northwest I haven’t been to, like Glacier and Yosemite,” Walters said. “I want to go back to an island off of Maine that I can’t remember the name of, too.”

 

This summer isn’t likely to yield many more breathtaking shots of the outdoors, but in between workouts and class, Walters still enjoys reviewing his photo exhibition of past summer vacations.

 

“It’s nice having the photos on your computer so you can set it up for the screensaver showing old pictures,” Walters said. “It just reminds you of good memories from past road trips.”

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