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As a mom, Kim Norris of Bel Air quickly learned that parenting often requires digging below the surface.

Doctors diagnosed her daughter, Lindsey, with White Sutton Syndrome — an extremely rare genetic condition that causes developmental delays — a few years years ago. But Norris said it took a while for specialists to identify the problem.

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“She’s my hero, honestly,” Norris said about her daughter, now 14 and a competitive horseback rider recently crowned champion in the beginning levels by the Maryland Combined Training Association. “She didn’t walk until she was 2-and-a-half years old.”

A girl with her favorite pony.
A girl with her favorite pony. (Kim Norris)

Norris, the director of communications at Harford Day School, channels the same attention to detail in her photography, a hobby she’s resuscitated from her teen years. She’s inspired this month’s SunShots photo contest: “Details.”

A self-described wildlife and animal lover, Norris, 47, enjoys getting up close and personal with creatures and critters of all varieties. Her photo, “Red Heads,” taken of Lindsey and her horse, Double Dutch, handily won the November SunShots contest, “Portraits.”

Read more about Norris below and be sure to enter a photo in the SunShots contest for a chance to be profiled and featured on the @baltimoresun Instagram account. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite photo entries.

1) How long have you been taking photos? While living in England, I took a photography class in my early teen years and learned how to develop my own black and white film and prints. I continued that through high school but kind of gave it up in my teenage years. Life had me taking a hiatus, and I recently returned to photography in the summer of 2016 with a great kit camera from Nikon (Nikon D5600). It’s a way of me doing something peaceful outside of my family life.

2) What kind of camera do you shoot with? Currently, I am using a refurbished Nikon D850. I would love to add some professional quality lenses down the road. A lot of people think that the better the camera, the better the photograph. While there is some truth in that statement, you can still get fantastic pictures with a kit camera. My Barred Owl photograph was taken with the Nikon D5600. I’ve even gotten some great shots on an older iPhone.

3) What is your favorite type of photo to take? (i.e. portraits, landscapes, nighttime, black and white, etc.) I love animals, so I typically use any critter I can find as my subject matter. I love to get as close as possible, and I am working on perfecting my macro photography skills. I love the details in the feathers on a bird, for example. We live in a really cool area — there’s woods behind us and we have bird feeders, so a lot of birds come to our deck. I have a thing for birds, but I’ve photographed amphibians, snakes, etc.

4) What inspired your photography hobby? I love learning and have attended some great workshops recently. I am truly inspired by all the amazing photographers out there. Local professional Joe Subolefsky inspires me to learn more with his amazing captures of birds in flight. I’m so blessed and excited that I’m going to Africa this April where I’ll be working with a National Geographic photographer. I’ve been watching this trip [online] for years. It’s been a dream for me to go to Africa since I was a kid. My goal is to get up-close eye images — like, of lions and zebras from the eye, rather than getting the whole animal.

5) What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? First, get out and enjoy nature, and take lots of pictures. Second, learn every day. I still have so much to learn, and I look forward to many more seminars in my future.

6) What do you do for a living? I’m the Director of Communications at a wonderful independent school, Harford Day School. HDS believes in teaching the arts, along with a rigorous curriculum. I am fortunate enough to teach photography lessons to middle school students during a week-long study of the arts.

7) Where can people look if they want to see more of your work? https://www.facebook.com/loveallthecritters/ and https://www.instagram.com/loveallthecritters

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