Photographer Spotlight: Juanita L. Ruffner

Every month about this time I introduce you to another photographer that I have met either on the internet or in person.  In the time that I have done this feature, I have covered all walks of photography whether it be those that do it for pleasure to those that do it for their living.  We have seen landscape, sports, portraiture, and even journalistic photography in the Photographer Spotlight.  That is the main reason for me wanting to do this feature...I want to show that anyone can have fun with photography, and there are different types to appeal to everyone.

The photographer that I will be introducing to you this month is Juanita Ruffner.  I have known her for a little while through two different photography forums.  Since first meeting her at the I have watched her mature as a photographer.  It seems from the images that I have seen her post at she has really come into her own as a photographer.  She experiments with lots of different styles, and never ceases to intrigue others with her images.

Into the Forest    Photo Copyright © J L Ruffner

Juanita was born in Oregon, but managed to come a pretty good distance to settle down.  She has spent the last 16 years in Pennsylvania and Ohio with her husband.  In addition to her own family, she has picked up two daughter-in-laws, a sister-in-law, two grandkids, with another on the way.

Her love for photography stemmed from gardening of all things.  It was a new hobby for her at the time and she wanted to photograph it.  It wasn't enough just to garden, "[she] wanted to share too."  She also joined a photo sharing forum which inspired her further.  In the later summer of 2005 Juanita purchased her first point and shoot camera.  While using this, she quickly realized that there was a whole world outside of flower gardening.

Much like a small child discovering the world in which they live, Juanita's eyes were opened up to anything and everything around her.  She concentrated on becoming better and better, and did so through teaching herself.  Her growing passion for photography challenged her to excel and to continue learning the craft.  Along the way she met many other photographers who helped inspire her to try different things, although it was the support of her family that really kept the momentum going.

Lusk Rock Road, Fall    Photo Copyright © J L Ruffner

For Juanita, photography is not just about the photograph.  It is more a time for refreshing, the renewing and reflection of God and life.  It is this aspect that drew me to photography in the first place.  There is a certain calming element to the photographic where the photographer really does become one with nature.  "Yes, the world becomes oblivious-the oblivious-my subject..."

Her favorite subject to photograph is the natural landscape.  However, she is by no means limited to this genre.  Juanita will try any subject matter once, or until she has accomplished the learning process.  She has found that the way the light and shadows play on the landscape is one of her favorite elements.  Dealing with water, woods, reflections, as well as monochromatic images round out her repertoire.  Post processing has become a new fold in her photographic process.  She has discovered ways of mimicking certain types of film through software.  I have seen the results of this, and she is getting better and better at it.

Some other new areas of photography that Juanita is getting interested in are wildlife and the moon.  As you can see, she appreciates many different types of photography, as well as appreciating the photographers themselves.  She has found that each and every photographer has something different to contribute to the art.  She has learned a lot from these artists in her quest to become better.

Old Fredricktown Rd    Photo Copyright © J L Ruffner

Juanita runs two different cameras, a Nikon D300 and a Nikon D40.  She usually has a wide angle lens on one while a telephoto zoom can be found on the other.  She caries with her a bag of various lenses as well as accessories and tripods.  She keeps all of this close at hand because she never knows what situation might present itself and she doesn't want to unprepared.  Her gear fills the front passenger seat of her car, and sometimes she just has to laugh at herself.  She pictures herself carrying both cameras around her neck, and recalls her kids saying that she looks like Rambo with all of the gear.  I can relate to that, and know exactly what she is talking about.

Ultimately Juanita would like her photography to be a source of income for her.  "What better way to make income than doing something you enjoy!"  Currently though, her photographs are not for sale.  However, her photographs can be viewed through a site called  She has nearly 90 photographs in her album.  You can also see many of her newer photographs being posted at

Juanita has received some recognition for her body of work through multiple websites.  She was a featured artist at in 2008.  She has had 46 winning POTD (Picture Of The Day) entries at the Photography Voice.  Many of her photographs in have been awarded Editor's Choice.  A new site for Juanita, Today's Photo, has also yielded a few wins for POTD. Last but certainly not least...she has had several of her images appear on WKBN, which is a Youngstown, OH, television station.  These images can be seen at My Valley Weather.

It certainly looks like Juanita is well on her way to reaching her goal of earning some income from her photography.  She certainly is getting a lot of exposure in a lot of different venues.  As I said before, she is really starting to come into her own behind her camera.  While her self education will always be continuing, I think that she has officially arrived as a photographer.

Written by Greg A. Kiser