Miguel Narvaez, senior lecturer in the health and kinesiology department at The University of Texas at Tyler, enjoys photography. Ten years ago he ventured into the art, which now has become a favorite hobby. He uses his photography skills both as a personal challenge and teaching tool.
"I saw a nice picture and thought about getting into photography, and I just did. On eBay.com I bought my first camera, which was an old 35 millimeter Russian camera. I started learning how to work cameras and get the shots I wanted," said Narvaez, who teaches biomechanics courses at UT Tyler.
The Mexico native said his familiarity with cameras and photography became useful in his graduate studies at Michigan State University.
"We would use cameras to capture movement. That previous knowledge on photography helped me to analyze movement and capture it more easily," he said. "I'm interested in injury mechanics, or how injuries occur in athletes. So by observing the performances of the human body, you have a better idea of how to prevent injuries from occurring. Using photography to study body movement helps me understand it and produce materials for my students."
Narvaez's students aren't the only ones who have noticed his photography skills. Some of his work has been locally recognized. He won the 2006 Azalea Trail Photo Contest, which is an annual photography contest sponsored by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It was open to anyone who wanted to participate," Narvaez said of the contest. "I thought to myself, 'Well it's a new thing for me, and I don't have anything to lose.' I sent my photos in and was lucky enough to win it."
Narvaez also currently serves as a freelance photographer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
"Right now, I'm into sports photography, nature and landscapes, and I'm trying to go more into the portrait photography too," Narvaez added. "I still shoot with regular film. I learned how to do the process the old way. I even have the lab equipment at home. The good thing about digital cameras is that you can shoot a thousand pictures and you don't have to worry about the film. But I just like the old way - the feeling of doing something special. It keeps you thinking about how to be more efficient when you're taking pictures. It makes for another challenge, and I get excited about that."
For Narvaez, no doubt, it's all about capturing the right moments - both inside and outside the biomechanics lab.
Narvaez holds a master in science degree in biomechanics from Michigan State University and is currently completing a Ph.D. program from that university. He and his wife Xochitl, have three children, Miguel Jr., Marco and Michelle.