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Meet the artist

Photographer Zach Trost witnesses media transition

This detail from “Beams of Light,” by local photographer Zach Trost, was digitally edited in Adobe Lightroom, a photo enhancement application.
Courtesy photo

Zach Trost got his start in photography as a child, working with analogue equipment. The local photographer, now 48, has witnessed the transformation of his craft over four decades.

“I’ve always enjoyed photography,” Trost said. “I worked with film in the beginning, but about three or four years ago, I got back into photography and learned about digital.”

Trost was introduced to photography and film by his father, Fred Trost, who owned a media production company and produced films for the State of Michigan in the 1970s.


“One of the bonuses for me was that I got to play around with the equipment,” Trost said. “He had some extra film and showed me how to do an animation, just clicking off one frame at a time on some 16-millimeter Canon film. We shot it in the kitchen, and I had some aliens coming out of the table.”

When Trost was around 12 years old, his father let him take a Nikon camera away to summer camp. He dabbled in landscape photography, shooting at northern Michigan’s Pictured Rocks. When the photos were developed back home, Trost’s father was impressed.

“He was like, ‘Hey, you’re actually pretty good!’” Trost recalled.

Trost graduated from East Lansing High School and set off for college in Florida. When he returned, he worked for the family business, doing video production for fishing and hunting television programs “Michigan Outdoors,” and “Practical Sportsman,” which his father hosted for many years.

Over the years, the digital revolution took hold in his workplace and eventually spilled over into his hobby.

“We converted the whole equipment setup from linear editing into digital, using Adobe Premiere,” said Trost of his video production work. “That sparked my passion to continue on in photography.”

He studied up on every book he could find at the library and got to work practicing digital photo editing, specifically using Adobe Lightroom.

“There are people out there who say you can’t duplicate film,” Trost said. “But I sure enjoy the stuff I am able to do with digital. I have the unlimited opportunity to take as many photos as I can.”

Thanks to a new job, Trost plans to travel in the near future, allowing him to shoot in diverse locations. He was recently hired by the National Center for Pavement Preservation, but he plans to continue working with Great Lake Artworks, a gallery in Old Town. The gallery also plays host to his next photography show Friday as part of Arts Night Out, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s bimonthly pop-up arts fair.

For Friday’s exhibition, Trost’s work is on display alongside the rustic oil paintings of Harlan Kerr. Trost plans to offer free tips and tricks on digital editing to any photographers who stop in. Visitors can bring a digital image on a USB drive or email the file via smartphone, and Trost will demonstrate ways to improve the image in Lightroom.

As a photographer of landscapes and the occasional abstract scene, Trost’s prevailing philosophy is that images should be pleasing to look at.

“I’m always looking for the sun peeking out, lighting up the roof of a building,” he said. “Photography is really more of controlling light and shadows. Without any contrast, an image is nothing.”

Arts Night Out 5 p.m. Friday, March 3 FREE Old Town, Lansing (See website for participating venues) (517) 372-4636, myartsnightout.com


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