Arts & Culture

Bird-focused photography exhibits in Morro Bay help celebrate the city’s annual Winter Bird Festival

'Stepping Out,' is a photo by Ronnie Goyette, who has an exhibit running through March 13 at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay.
'Stepping Out,' is a photo by Ronnie Goyette, who has an exhibit running through March 13 at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay.

"Be a better birder" is one of my recurring New Year’s resolutions. Maybe this will be the year I get serious and take in an event at the 18th annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, set for Jan. 17-20. The 2013 festival surpassed 500 registrants who reported eight unusual sightings, including a lesser yellowlegs and a summer tanager.

Truth is, member photographers at the Morro Bay Art Association are more dedicated to watching birds than I and they’ll prove it at Art Center Morro Bay, 835 Main St. “For the Birds!” opens Jan. 16 with a reception set for Jan. 19.

Ronnie Goyette also has a photography exhibit to coincide with the festival. “On a Wing” runs through March 13 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at Seven Sisters Gallery, 601 Embarcadero No. 8, Morro Bay.

A San Luis Obispo resident and retired nurse, Goyette especially enjoys nature photography. This show will focus on the many birds from the Morro Bay Estuary and surrounding areas.

“For me, the joy of photography lies in slowing down and seeing the small things,” she says in press materials. “In relaxing to watch a bird for more than a moment, personalities are revealed: Snowy egrets dance for joy, grebes run across the very surface of the water, elephant seals battle to defend a harem. With the light changing every minute, the photographer times the shot to reveal the beauty of a fleeting moment.”

Vivian Maier, who died in 2009, found inspiration for her photos in the cityscapes and people of Chicago. The University Art Gallery at Cal Poly will show the street photographer’s work Jan. 9 through Feb. 14.

Chicago historian and collector John Maloof discovered decades’ worth of the former nanny’s photos in 2007 and Maier’s work began to receive critical acclaim. Exhibits followed in the United States and Europe. The Cal Poly show sounds like one to mark on the calendar for sure.

The Central Coast Sculptors Group has another date for your calendar: Feb. 5 through March 7 for the Phantom Valentine Show. The last phantom shows were in 2012. One of the events featured 500 pieces of artwork in the former A&R Furniture Building. Details are forthcoming and one place to get the latest is