Life got in the way of Christine Peck’s photography career. But she always had her art in the back of her mind. When her last child went off to college, she toyed with the idea of returning to it. Peck recalls a friend telling her flat out to … well … “(you-know-what) or get off the pot,” she says. So she did, combining her photography with another of her passions — travel.

She’s unsure as to which feeds which — does traveling inspire her to take pictures or do taking pictures motivate her to travel?

“It’s give and take — I love to do photography and seeing new things,” says Peck, a Cape May Court House optician by day. “But the travel probably feeds the photography. As I get closer to retirement, I’m looking for supplemental income (through photography). But boy, do I love to travel.”

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Peck admits that we live in a photogenic area, but that she wanted to see new places — California, the South, but mostly Europe, with a particular interest in France and Italy.

“Honest to God, an amateur could take an excellent picture in Italy,” she laughs, offering this advice, “If you want to explore and take some good pictures, go to Italy.

“The ‘old-ness’ … is just outstanding.”

On her most recent trip there, she took more than 5,000 photos. Less than 20 comprise her artist-of-the-month show titled “Ciao! Snapshots of Rome and Cinque Terre” at Cape May Artists’ Cooperative Gallery now through May 31, with an open-to-the-public reception 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7.

When shooting, Peck claims that there are those that she just knows will be the “money shot” — those that will make the cut to an exhibit — created mostly by instinct and a good eye, and occasionally a little luck.

Peck shoots and produces natural photographs, but likes “to have a little fun” with them, using different filters or shooting in high-dynamic range (HDR).

“Technology now is so amazing that you can take a photograph and (then) take it totally different direction,” Peck says. “I don’t like to do that, but I do like to enhance what’s in the picture.”

For her subject matter, Peck says that she shoots what appeals to her rather than the masses, and keeps reproductions to a minimum.

“I don’t mass produce my images. I’ll produce them in one or two sizes, maybe a feature piece and move on,” she says. “I like to keep them scarce. That’s how I would like my art.”

The images in “Ciao!” have all been digitally manipulated, with some on canvas and others on paper, matted and framed. Peck also created note cards and 2017 calendars for the show.

“There will be a wide range of images,” she assures. “So if you like something and don’t necessarily want a large framed piece, there are options.”

CIAO! SNAPSHOTS FROM ROME AND CINQUE TERRE

Where: Cape May Artists’ Coop Gallery, 122-124 Sunset Blvd., Cape May

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

How much: Entrance is free. Art prices vary.

More info: CapeMayArtistCoop.com; 609-435-5253

Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief, MainStreetMarlboro.com,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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