Kitzenberger has had a success going it alone and has led photos to a number of animal magazines and humane societies. She has taken photos of animals both wild and trained. “Now I’m putting together the photographs with the story,” Kitzenberger said, adding that she’s garnered some interest from a publishing representative. It took a few attempts, but Kitzenberger finally found and recorded the beavers herself. She’s made it an effort to observe the animals as often as possible. Local wildlife, pets an inspiration for Campbell photographer
The inspiration for the first unpublished children’s book came out of a cat named Coco that Kitzenberger’s mother adopted from a shelter. While staying with her mum, she chose to teaching Coco simple tricks, which prompted a blog about Coco’s life. Kitzenberger has taken to writing about her experience photographing character, which has inspired stories she’d like to see printed one day, including her adventures with the beavers.
A piece she did on a ranching family that herded cattle through the Sierra Nevada was featured in the magazine, which she stated afterwards won an award for both writing and photographs from the American Horse Publications in 2014. It received an additional award in 2016. Photography is second nature for her, as she has been snapping pictures since she was 7 years old. She explained rehabilitation following surgery this past year is what brought her into the creek trail. “There have only been a few times I couldn’t make it down there to see them,” she explained. For the frequent walkers, cyclists and runners on Los Gatos Creek Trail in Campbell, seeing Julie Kitzenberger early in the morning along with her tripod and camera is a frequent event.
Kitzenberger says her work has been exhibited in local galleries, marketed as well as featured in Western Horseman, a monthly magazine specializing in horses and ranching. “I always thought I could do more when I retire,” Kitzenberger explained. Kitzenberger was advised to shoot her photography severely by a National Geographic photographer who appeared through her photos in 1998 on a cross-country plane ride to meeting Cisco. She ended up working at Cisco for 11 years, but continued to attend writing and photography workshops and classes in her spare time. The 59-year-old Campbell resident can often be seen photographing wildlife in the vicinity of the creek. Her occasional inspiration would be that the family of beavers spotted there. When the company downsized, she decided to start her own photography business. “Someone told me about the beavers. It’s like this rumor; everyone has seen a paw print or evidence of it, but no one has really seen it,” she explained. Kitzenberger credits her passion for storytelling and photography to “timing,” something that has been in her favor when it comes to meeting people. She states she’s good at creating quick business cards to pass on to people she meets.