New calendar captures Howard County


Many of the photos that illustrate Gunther Noal Miller's 1994 Howard County calendar do not exist in real life.

Taken during the past five years, the images have either been eliminated by residential growth or were created by photographic tricks.

Mr. Miller, a 23-year-old Savage resident, chronicles the county's growth through a new calendar he produced and had printed that includes images of the Patuxent River near Historic Savage Mill, daffodils along Pindell School Road and a church on Ten Oaks Road in western Howard County.

vTC "Once you have lived in Howard County for an extended period of time, you may begin to take for granted its natural and man-made features," Mr. Miller says in the calendar's introduction.

But the entrepreneur and photographer hopes county residents will find the pictorial history of their own backyard more captivating than other calendars.

He especially hopes longtime residents will find his black and white images more interesting than calendars distributed by national companies featuring exotic locales.

Mr. Miller said the calendars are "definitely geared towards the older people in Howard County because they've seen so many changes in the county.

"Not everybody can relate to [a calendar featuring dramatic color photographs] but they can relate to the Howard County calendar."

Using black and white film he developed at home, Mr. Miller took photos that are impossible to reproduce today. For example, two years ago he photographed a solitary tree on a grassy knoll on Kennard Drive in western Howard County. Today, a home stands next to that tree.

Other images never existed at all.

When the weather was too bad to take photos outdoors, Mr. Miller created them at home by fusing together two negatives.

One image, for instance, was produced when he combined a picture of light rail tracks with that of high voltage towers near Oakland Mills Road and Dobbin Center, making it appear as if the tracks lie at the foot of the towers.

Mr. Miller said he chose the photographs based on their history, technical difficulty, or striking appearance.

"The stark line and contrast between shadow and light caught my attention," said Mr. Miller, referring to a photograph of the Savage Meeting Place at Fair and Washington streets.

Mr. Miller's interest in photography began at Hammond High School where an English teacher encouraged him to enroll in a film arts class. After only a few months, he began experimenting on his own and soon found himself ahead of the class.

"Each roll I shot was totally different," recalled Mr. Miller.

He also enjoys photography's solitary nature.

"I'm used to doing things by myself," said Mr. Miller, who works as a mechanic's assistant at a Laurel auto body shop.

Mr. Miller said he decided to create the calendar because it was a challenge.

"I wanted to see if I could actually do it," he said. "I may not have a chance to do this again."

Mr. Miller spent about $3,000 to publish 1,000 calendars. So far, he said he has sold about 100 and has learned a lot about marketing and entrepreneurship. If he breaks even on the calendar, Mr. Miller said he may try other photography or publishing projects.

"It's all been a learning experience," he said. "It's on-the-job training."

The calendar is available at several county stores, including Noah's Art at The Mall in Columbia, Celebrate Maryland! in historic Ellicott City, and at Historic Savage Mill.

The calendar also is available by mail. To obtain a copy, send a check for $9.40 made out to Gunther Noal Miller, P.O. Box 351, Savage 210763-9619.

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