Donor Spotlight | Kathleen Kmet Becker

photo by Kathleen Kmet Becker

March 9, 2021

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo


“Small Wonders” are there, you just have to look.

For the past few years, Kathleen Kmet Becker has been sharing her nature photography with captured on her visits to the Edwards Preserve and other sites on the East End, with the Trust’s Amanda Abraham.

Kathleen, a supporter of this important agricultural and natural lands conservation project, has documented the “small wonders” she’s seen when walking through the fields of Edwards Preserve and up to the bluff overlooking Little Bay. 


Photo Credit: Kathleen Kmet Becker

Photo of a damselflies on flower and grasses at Edwards Farm Preserve: “To be up close and to see the way the light hits the gossamer wings.”

In past years, traveling was the main outlet for her photography. But as the pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, it has grounded her, as it did many of us to this place we call home.

From her home in Orient, Kathleen’s exploration has found a new focus – the small details of the nature all around her.

“I love the diverse beauty of the planet that I was able to see through my travels, and found that there is beauty to see anyplace you go … and that includes your own backyard.”

Photography has always been a part of Kathleen’s life – an important part of her travels around the world and with her various volunteer activities (Kathleen volunteered in the early 2000s with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s SPAT program, documenting the program through photography).

She found a new focus when she was “reintroduced” to the medium, and especially sharing online, after taking a course on “Vine” at the International Center for Photography in NYC. It provided the foundation for creating digital stories to share and Instagram became her platform of choice.


Through her travels, shifted her equipment preference for practical reasons. “I transitioned from many lenses to a simple camera because of the ease of carrying it.” That choice reduced the weight (which was helpful when traveling on small planes with baggage limitations), as well as made it easier to get into position for the perfect photo.

Kathleen donated her digital cameras and lenses to the Oysterponds Elementary School to use in their program. And today she uses a Canon Powershot SX 70.

Kathleen’s Instagram (IG) account is filled with “small wonders” close to home which she often includes with the hashtag: #DailyCommuneWithNature

Her subjects: birds, insects, water, sunsets and rises, light reflections, reeds and grasses, laundry hanging on the line or the interesting patterns of rooflines seen from her window.


Photo Credit: Kathleen Kmet Becker

Photo of the swans at Arshamomaque Pond Preserve – also known as the Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve — in Greenport: “What attracted me at first wasn’t the swans, but how the light was hitting the reeds and grasses. And then, the swans came into the frame.”

“Things that are the most obvious can be fascinating if you take the time to stop and take a look from a different perspective.” And the fun part is to share with the people you love. “I share my photos with my nephews and nieces and their children – and enjoy seeing their reactions.” For this, she set up a special hashtag: #TravelsWithAuntKathy

Kathleen purchased her home in Orient in 1993, splitting her time between the North Fork, Brooklyn, and the West Village. She moved out full-time over 20 years ago. Originally from Michigan, wandering the fields and taking photos, Kathleen moved to the east coast in the late 1960s.

What does it take to take the photo: “Patience, persistence, luck of being in the right place at the right time, and having your camera ready and with you (and your batteries charged.)”

And, spontaneity. Just getting out there when something calls you from the window. And lingering, as you never know what might walk into your lens: a deer walking through a new blanket of snow or a muskrat joining a pair of geese swimming. “Maybe just keep the scene in view a little longer, you never know what might wander into your frame.”


Image of tufted titmouse in Kathleen's backyard.

Photo Credit: Kathleen Kmet Becker

Capturing the essence of this place is important to her, especially as she has seen so many changes to the natural landscape over the years. Kathleen explores with friends, who help identify species of birds or a special scene. “I’m compelled to get out there and see things before they aren’t there to be seen.”

But Kathleen also says it’s equally important to look at nature not just behind the lens. “The lens/frame can pull you into something that you didn’t see. But it’s important to have both perspectives, and to be in the moment.”

In addition to #DailyCommuneWithNature and #TravelsWithAuntKathy, Kathleen also frequently tags #InMyOrienthood, to chronicle the same place, but at different times. “You can walk by the same place every day, but the light, the patterns, shadows change – and you are seeing it in a different way,” says Kathleen.

And we are so fortunate that sometimes she adds the tag #PeconicLandTrust and shares her image with us. Do you take photos while exploring our preserves? If so, don’t forget to tag us. We’d love to see them.

Thank you Kathleen! You can follow her on Instagram @kaidankid (named after her mom, who gave Kathleen her first camera, an Eastman Kodak folding Bellows). And, if you haven’t yet, you can follow the Peconic Land Trust too: @PeconicLandTrust

In June, Kathleen shared a series of photos taken at Edwards Farm Preserve.

Support the Peconic Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust needs your support to protect the working farms, natural lands, and heritage of Long Island.