Designed by nature

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Alan Bosse was at a truck stop in Long Beach, Calif., in 2009 when he made a seemingly insignificant decision. With a few extra minutes to spare, the long-haul trucker and graphic design student took his new camera out and snapped a few photos of passion flowers growing along a nearby fence.A few months later Bosse, 50, entered the photo, “Passion and Bee” in a nationwide Earth Day photo contest sponsored by the website Bing. It won first-place out of approximately 17,000 entries.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I went online and saw my photo was ranked fourth, so I encouraged everyone I knew to vote for it. And then I won.”

Bosse will display this photo and several others as the featured artist for the month of April at the Second Story Gallery in Camas.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized like this,” he said. “It feels great. I love to share my pictures.”

Bosse ended his truck driving days after graduating from Gulf Coast Community College in Florida with a degree in graphic design.

Earlier, he and wife, Sharon, had visited the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with the towering trees, mountains and ocean.

“When I was in college in Florida, I did market research on where I was most likely to be successful as an independent graphic artist, and the Portland area was one of the top ones,” he said.

So it was seemingly serendipity that the couple moved here.

They originally planned to stay at the Camas Hotel for a few weeks before continuing on to Portland, but chose to stay because of the small-town atmosphere, library, access to nature and summer farmer’s market.

“My wife and I are vegans, so there are lots of areas where that is a big drive and this is one,” he said. “We just really like Camas. It’s a neat little place. I love that it is so green and has such beautiful countryside.”

Camas is a long way from Johannesburg, South Africa, where Bosse called home for several years. He is a native of Zimbabwe.

“Sharon and I decided in 2007 we needed to move to the states,” he said. “She’s an American citizen, so it made sense.”

After spending a month in Texas, the two were unable to find work. One day, they saw an advertisement seeking commercial truck drivers and decided to give it a try.

The couple has since traveled through most of the lower 48 states. Bosse also visited all seven continents as a flight engineer before moving to the United States.

When he needs inspiration for his photography, he’ll often hike the Lacamas Creek Trail.

“My first love will always be nature and I see many opportunities to combine photography, nature and graphic design,” he said. “I will always aspire to showcase the beauty of nature in the work that I do.”

Nature has been Bosse’s focus as a photographer since he was a young child collecting spiders, insects and reptiles.

“I find that by taking a nice photograph, I can blow it up and look at the insects without having to trap them,” he said. “I have come to realize how beautiful all these creatures are and I have decided that Mother Nature is obviously the best artist and we are all trying in some way to emulate her.”