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Spelling out nature

November 18, 2006|By Joyce Rudolph

Teachers and avid hikers, Krystina Castella and Brian Boyl focus on letters in their book of photographs, "Discovering Nature's Alphabet."

While hiking with their cameras, the husband and wife came up with a game — to find and photograph as many natural objects shaped like letters. It took them five years and many retakes, but they have chosen the best from some 3,000 photographs and placed them in their first book.

Heyday Books of Berkeley, a nonprofit publisher that supports California artists and culture, published it.

The Glendale couple will conduct book signings and story-time events over the next few months at local bookstores. Storyopolis, a children's bookstore and art gallery in Studio City, has framed lithographs of photographs from the book on its walls, said Courtney Collins, the store's art director.

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The authors took the images of letters from the book and lined them up and spelled out the words Discover, Explore, Play, Love, Smile and Live, Collins said.

The couple also booked a signing and story time and brought a slide projector to show images on the library wall, Collins said. It was an interactive experience where the children got to ask the authors questions, she said.

There has been such an interest in purchasing the book and the lithographs, the store has requested more images.

"It's extremely creative because all the letters are taken from nature," she said. "The parents attending were impressed with that. The whole concept of the book is creative and original. We don't sell anything close to this."

The idea was born during a trip to Joshua Tree in 2001, said Boyl, 44.

"We took a picture of a Joshua tree, and when we looked at the picture, the trunk was shaped like the letter Y," he said. "We made a challenge to each other to see if we could shoot the whole alphabet in nature."

They set up rules, like they couldn't touch or re-arrange any of the things they photographed, it had to be completely built by nature.

The V and Y are the easiest letters to find in nature, he said, while the most difficult to find are the Q, R and K.

The couple found other people were just as intrigued by finding letters in nature, Castella said, and that gave them the idea to create the book.

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