Plattsburgh State junior and magazine journalism major Tim Behuniak grew up hiking with his family in the Adirondacks. Though originally from Albany, Behuniak said for his family, hiking was an “escape.” Behuniak said he’s always cared a lot about different topics, such as environmental protection, conservation and nature.
It was in 8th grade when he started getting more into photography. Behuniak said his mother was always taking photos with her camera when they went hiking, and he thought it looked like a cool hobby to take on.
“I really liked capturing a moment and saving one specific moment,” he said. “My mom told me to buy my own and stop stealing hers, so I did. I worked throughout high school and saved up birthday money.”
Behuniak bought the camera equipment and has flourished with photography ever since.
He also continued his passion for hiking as he had already completed the 46er before attending PSUC. Behuniak said when he was in high school, he was one of the only people in his class who hiked, so he expected the same at PSUC. However, when he saw there were an abundance of students who were equally passionate about the outdoors, it was “relieving.”
“Coming to Plattsburgh, meeting other people who are into the outdoors showed me a whole new world to the outdoors because I was mostly hiking and taking photos,” he said. “But I discovered climbing, skiing and platty slack since I’ve been here.”
Marketing major and PSUC alumnus Kevin McAvey said he remembers one of the first times meeting Behuniak.
“He came to my apartment that I was living at on South Catherine Street, and it was a whole bunch of guys from the Adirondacks Trail crew,” McAvey said.
McAvey said he found it funny how goofy and quiet Behuniak was at first.
“To me, he is an old soul,” he said. “I got this impression when I first met him too. You can have a real conversation with him, and it’s like this guy has it together.”
McAvey and Behuniak both discovered their love for the outdoors and photography and hit it off.
McAvey has also worked with Behuniak during their time at PSUC magazine practicum DoNorth magazine. McAvey said Behuniak, in his opinion, is the best landscape photographer in the Adirondacks right now. They’ve been also working with each other on a professional level as they shot two different weddings during the fall.
“It’s amazing to see what he’s able to do and the following he’s
pulled in,” he said. “So you see that in his work, and it really shines. And
he’s one of my favorite photographers, period.”
Even though the outdoors is a passion of Behuniak’s, he also manages to incorporate that into his magazine journalism major and photography minor. His photos have been the front cover for DoNorth magazine for four issues in a row, including the upcoming winter 2017 issue.
He additionally wrote a photo essay for the magazine. His photos were also featured in the 46er based magazine Peeks Magazine and Visit Adirondacks. He has also freelanced for I Love New York and the Press Republican. Behuniak was also the photo editor for Cardinal Points during the fall 2016.
Behuniak said he works for Local ADK, and he’s been able to get connections to freelancing through different editors and coordinators. Though Behuniak is busy focusing on his major, he also knows how to have good-natured fun. Back in September, he hosted a “pond party” at Hawkins Pond, where several students wore swimsuits and jumped into the fountain for a quick swim.
“A couple of my roommates and I were sitting at our house, and we were talking about going down to the lake to swim, and we remembered we have a perfectly good spot here on campus, so why don’t we go for a swim?” he said.
Behuniak said it started out as a joke, but people started telling their friends, and it turned into an event on Facebook. Though University Police put a stop to the excursion due to safety reasons, students, who participated or simply watched, thought the idea was fun and spontaneous.
McAvey recalled the first time he learned that Behuniak didn’t bring a sleeping pad with him when they went on overnight trips while hiking.
“He always slept on the rocks. He was sleeping on rocks all the time, and we were like ‘what are you doing?’” McAvey laughed.
Behuniak said his dream job would be working for National Geographic, but he does want to spend his last semester making the most of his time at PSUC. He said his biggest advice for journalism students is to do as much as possible and start getting involved as early as they can with publishing work.
Journalism professor Steve Howell has taught Behuniak in travel and magazine writing and has worked with him with last year’s issues of DoNorth. Howell said he’s been very impressed with his photo contributions and writing.
“The bike photograph of DoNorth from spring 2017 is one of my favorites,” he said. “It’s a great angle. And I know that he took a 100 of those to get that one shot so that says a lot about Tim.”
As a professor, Howell said one of the hardest tasks is getting students to participate in group discussions.
“He was one of my go-to students to ask me questions,” he said. “Tim is courteous, friendly and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and would do anything for anyone. You just get a good vibe from him, and he laughs at my jokes.”
“Make yourself known,” he said. “You shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come your way, you should reach out to people and get yourself known in the industry.”
Behuniak said something he’d also recommend is making sure students make the most of their classes. He said in classes, sometimes people act like they don’t care about what they’re learning.
“If you don’t find something that you truly care about, then leave and don’t pursue it, and do what you’re passionate about,” Behuniak said. “That in itself can be challenging.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org