Former Navy Pilot Combines Passion for Photography and Writing to Create Commemorative WWII Calendars
In March 1987, Dieter Stark Strong of Nashua, NH, decided to leave the corporate world where he was a Director of Communications to see if he could put his passion for art, writing, and photography to work.
Once he made that important decision, he set about placing his art in exhibits and using it to create calendars and greeting cards.
"Because of my military background, I also got the idea to do a calendar that was more of a history book," said Strong, a former Navy pilot who served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. The result was a special 2002 publication featuring World War cemeteries and memorials called "Gardens of Peace."
Strong started learning Paint Shop Pro 6 when he began working on the calendar back in 1999. "Thanks to Paint Shop Pro, it was a one-man show combining all my writings in three different languages, my photos and creative graphic designs," he said. Some of the calendar images, he further explained, even had up to 100 different layers.
"Most of my calendars, art books, and greeting cards are based upon my original photos," Strong states. "But, Paint Shop Pro allows me to enhance them beautifully, especially Version 8. It provides me with relatively easy-to-use artistic effects, brushstrokes, and various background textures."
Therefore, a "one-man-show" continues to work pretty well for Strong. His 'Gardens of Peace' calendar sold over 4,000 copies. And, with the help of Paint Shop Pro 8, he's already started working on a 2005 calendar called "Honor & Peace" that commemorates the 60th anniversary of the WW II "Battle of the Bulge."
Besides creation of the 2005 calendar, Strong is designing a new coffee-table book called "Serenity by the Sea” that features his photos of the New Hampshire coast. This past summer, he was also commissioned by the German War Graves Department to take photos of the French Normandy coast, site of the historic 1944 “D-Day” Invasion. There, he spent ten days roaming along the scenic coastline, shooting over 30 rolls of film. His favorite shot, "Pointe de Hoc," was taken during a dramatic ocean sunset behind a rugged cliff where a crucial battle was fought between American GIs and German soldiers. With Paint Shop Pro 8, he was able to put a “lovely, soft focus” on the image. That photo, along with 17 others he shot, were thus published in the German War Graves Commission's 2004 "Return to Normandy, Return to Peace" calendar.
With thousands of images in photo archives, "Pointe de Hoc" isn't his only favorite. "Will to Win" is a picture Strong took of the Merrimack College (MA) 1992 basketball team, huddling during the final time-out of a championship game that had only 30 seconds left in the 3rd overtime. He used Virtual Painter to elevate that photo as a colored pencil drawing and still calls it one of his “slam-dunk” favorites.
Claiming to be Paint Shop Pro’s biggest fan, Strong has a lot of fun playing with the artistic effects. For example, another of his favorite pieces came about while experimenting with brushstrokes.
"'Rhineland' emerged suddenly and was a big surprise to me," he said. "I was using Paint Shop Pro 8's brushstrokes but nothing seemed to be working well for me with this German vineyard photo. Until, whammo, I must've touched something by mistake and the photo exploded into dramatic color strokes – just like Vincent Van Gogh. . . well, somewhat like him."
"With Paint Shop Pro, I’m free to experiment and make beautiful photos even better," Strong said. "I love Paint Shop Pro and plan on staying with it forever."