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Aurora veteran now puts passion into photography

The 812's Conor Geary spoke with photographer Toby Mroz

(AURORA, Ind.) -- It's common to see talented photographers share their work on social media, but are you ever curious about the person behind the lens?


I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Aurora photographer Toby Mroz on the front patio of

Spire Books and Coffee Co. in Aurora.


I sat drinking a delicious cup of French vanilla cold brew while listening to Toby tell me his story.


He began with telling me about his military experience. Toby, joined the army when in 1984 he

was stationed in Germany during desert storm. While in Germany, he repaired generators with a contact team where he travelled around all the radio sites and missile sites and have to do

preventative maintenance.


Once home, after his deployment in Germany, Toby began a career driving trucks. After some

years and thousands of miles behind the wheel, Toby wanted to spend more time with his family and took a job at a factory in Aurora where he worked in maintenance.


Toby’s passion for photography began long before there was the internet, especially social

media. While taking his family on vacations, Toby began with simple pictures of his family. The

love for photography began to kindle. Years later, Toby Mroz, now 61 years of age, spends

almost every day taking pictures.

Courtesy: Toby Mroz

Now retired, Toby spends quality time with his wife of forty years, three children and four

grandchildren. When Toby was raising his children, he encouraged limited technology and

preferred taking his family on vacations. There, he was able to begin a lifelong journey

developing his talent in photography.


However, the perfect picture does not always come easy. Toby told me that he spends time on the internet searching for his next picture. From covered bridges, to wildlife, and sunsets, Toby likes it to be an adventure, one that will be memorable.


As I sat talking with Toby I found his smile to be contagious. He explained that it isn’t for the

money but rather to see people smile and brighten the much bleak posts made of social media.


“I get so tired of the negativity of social media”, Toby said.


He wants to bring joy to people and make them feel happy.

Courtesy: Toby Mroz

My conversation with Toby was a breath of fresh air. His outlook on life was very much different than what you see and read on social media. He easily became more than someone I was interviewing but a friend. As we talked about the functions of the typical camera, it made me want to get one of my own and try to resemble anything close to his.


With fifteen years of photography, Toby certainly knows the workings of a camera. He shared

details about how the shutter speed and aperture both worked together manipulated the light,

either letting in more light or less depending on the setting around you. He explained a new

feature cameras had, a mirror-less lens, something I’m still quite not sure how it works. I do

know it’s how the camera processes the picture being taken.


Smart phones have been able to replicate and compete with some DSLR cameras, however,

Toby enjoys the fun of a DSLR where he can play with the various sensors and settings on the

camera to get the right balance in color along with the best angle to frame each picture.

Courtesy: Toby Mroz

“It has taken several years of practice to understand how each feature of the camera works

together”, explained Toby, but it is something that brings enjoyment to his pictures. Toby has

opportunities to capture wonderful scenic and wildlife while exploring much of southeastern

Indiana.


His pictures have captured the hearts of many on social media from the literal, “heart” emoji

along with hundreds of likes. The comments comes by the dozens as local residents rave about Toby’s pictures. It is all well deserved as he takes many hours out of each day ready to capture his next picture to be posted on Facebook.


For now, I can scroll through Facebook and enjoy Toby Mroz’s pictures and smile as I remember our conversation on a cool November fall. One piece of advice Toby gave me and for any aspiring photographer was, “it’s not about the cost of the camera equipment, you have to have a good eye.”


He educated to me the golden hour, which is the thirty minutes before a sunset or sunrise them the thirty minutes after a sunset or sun rise. This special hour window makes for remarkable photography.


So as we parted ways, I thought to myself, maybe I won’t be the best photographer but I can

always go out and have fun. As Toby explained, the best pictures you’ll ever take are the

memories you get from vacationing with your family.


You can follow Toby and his photography by clicking here.


Conor Geary is a contributor for www.812now.com and focuses on unique people who call Southeast Indiana home

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