Lower Burrell fireman, 911 communications officer has an artisitic side
James Sabulsky's drive to create began at a young age.
“I started drawing in second grade, and it has not slowed down. I have a talent that I enjoy sharing with others and helping others anytime I can,” says the Lower Burrell resident who takes multi-tasking in stride. He lived for a time in Forbes Road, a tiny community at the southern end of Salem Township, before returning to his native Lower Burrell, where he grew up.
At the age of 30, it seems like he has already “been there, done that.”
The Westmoreland County 911 communications officer, based in Hempfield, is assistant chief at Lower Burrell No. 3 Fire Department, a former animation tour artist at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and he serves clients nationwide with his James Joseph Fire Designs.
The company provides designs for all fire, EMS and police services, including patches, decals, website banners, ads, vehicle lettering and other services needed by a department.
Sabulsky pursued a degree in web design and publishing at Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood campus, and is now studying business marketing there part time.
To relax, the Burrell High School and Oak Bridge Academy graduate is a passionate and dedicated photographer. He also is developing a new blog, “History Photog” (historyphotog.com), exploring his family history, his love for history in general, and his photography.
“I grew up in an atmosphere with my family being involved in a good bit of things,” he says. He finds firefighting and working at the call center a satisfying way to serve the community.
“And photography is fascinating because its possibilities are endless; there are so many techniques you can learn and you also have the opportunity to just go out and experiment,” he says.
Sabulsky one day would like to make a career as a photographer, and fulfill his dreams to shoot in Ireland and our national parks (he is a fan of Ansel Adams and other landscape photographers), but for now takes satisfaction in sharing his art in local exhibits.
A month-long, one-man show of his regional photography opens March 2 in the “Art in the Valley” showcase at Allegheny Valley Hospital, Natrona Heights.
“I hope it brings some enjoyment to those that are in the hospital and those visiting,” he says. “I hope they see the beauty that I see when I photograph something.”
Many others do.
“He loves to let you see the world though his eyes, and his camera is just a tool to help with that. His creative mind is what makes him unique and produce such vibrant images,” says his photographer friend Patrick Yusko of Greensburg, a member of the Forbes Road Fire Department. “James will never turn down a chance to go and capture something he hasn't seen before, and even things he's seen a million times. He's always learning and trying to be better.”
Danny Keslar of Plum, a paramedic with Lower Burrell No. 3, finds his work “amazing.”
“Some of those photos give you a sense of peace. They take you to those places and you lose yourself in those photos,” he explains.
When it comes to photography, Sabulsky says he has always been patient. He will set up for a sunrise shot, for example, an hour or so beforehand. He gets interesting results when he uses a process called HDR (high dynamic range). “It is taking three to seven different exposures and combining them into one image,” he says. His photo of the Greensburg train station in the hospital exhibit is an example.
He has become an integral part of the New Kensington Camera Club, says member Tami Sudy of Brackenridge.
“His ideas, logical thought process, creativity and personality spark the creative flames in many of us,” she says. “He's able to see what others don't and capture it.”
Sudy says his shots of downtown Pittsburgh take her there.
“Through his photos, I've really seen downtown, as well as other things, differently: they are more vibrant, I notice more details, I look at things I wouldn't necessarily have paid attention to before.”
That's because Sabulsky has a “great eye,” adds New Kensington's Don Henderson, a founder of the camera club. “His work strikes a nerve with me. I gain so much from his fresh perspective, I feel that you are never too old to learn.”
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.