• Wis Outdoor Explorer

An Eye for Photos

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

How My Journey into Photography all Started

Before I started Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer, I struggled with which platform I would use to start this journey.  I kicked around the idea of a half an hour show to try and sell to local television stations, but the cost and time commitment was just too much.  I then toyed with the idea of starting a show on YouTube, but again the time it takes to produce I high quality show that I would be proud to put to associate with my brand was not a good fit for me.  I work a full-time job and have a family with three young girls, so my time is very precious to me.  Finding time to write produce and edit a show just wasn’t in the cards.

I hymned and hawed about how I would introduce Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer to you and just couldn’t figure out a good way to do.  It had to be something that I would enjoy doing as well as do it on a consistent basis.  I wound up talking with a co-worker about his Instagram page and how much he was enjoying the process.  I had dabbled in Instagram with a personal page a little bit but never really got serious about it.  But after our conversation, I realized that Instagram was the perfect platform for Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer.  It allowed me to highlight the things I love about Wisconsin’s outdoors while not taking up a great day of my daily schedule.  But what I loved most about Instagram is the photography.

Instagram allowed me to combine something that I love doing with my new venture. 

Photography has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.    My first camera was a Keystone XR308 Everflash 110 film camera.  It was given to me on my birthday, I’m not sure which one, but most likely around the age of 10.  I loved that camera!  It had telephoto lens that was actually just a slide on top that would magnify the image x2.  It took 110 film that was cheap to purchase and cheap to develop.  I took that camera everywhere.  I took pictures of vacations, family get togethers and nature.  Then my parents signed me and my sisters up for 4H.  I was so excited to learn that I could enter my pictures at the county fair.  I took more pictures and focused on certain categories that would challenge me.  I took that little 110 camera as far as I could and did pretty well.  I received quite a few blue ribbons, but never got the purple grand champion ribbon.  

I was just starting high school when my parents bought me my first 35mm camera.  The Canon Photura 135 35mm point and shoot.  This camera was so cool!  You held it like a small video camera and it took fantastic images.  I had moved into the 35mm world and loved it.  I got my first purple ribbon with that camera and took as many images as I could afford.  A couple of things to remember is that you had to buy film, you didn’t have a card that you could shoot, save, delete and reuse.  With film, you were usually able to take 12, 24 or 36 images per roll.  You couldn’t take endless amounts of shots hoping for one good one.  You had to make sure you did everything you could to make sure you were ready to take the shot.  But the worst part was that you had to send your film in for processing.  I didn’t have my own way to develop film, so we would take our film to the local grocery store, fill out a paper sleeve with our information on it and wait a week to get our pictures back.  It was like Christmas morning every time you opened that envelope and looked through your latest set of pictures.  The good ones made you extremely happy and the blurry ones left you disappointed.  It was a process that was long and cost money that I didn’t always have at such a young age.   But I made due and took some great pictures.

It was also around this time that I joined my high school yearbook staff.   I was introduced to my first real 35mm slr cameras.  I loved the flexibility of the slr!  Changing lens and settings to fit my needs was what photography was all about.  But perhaps the biggest lesson on received was in developing film and processing my own pictures.  Taking a negative and creating and image was amazing.  Even though it was only black and white, it was still such a cool process to me.  I learned so much about photography during those years. 

During my college years and all through my twenties, I put photography on the back burner and concentrated on video.  I took the occasional pictures, but I was focused on learning to shoot and edit video.  Having a background in photography definitely helped me become a better videographer.  I understood composition and what made for a good shot thanks to all the experimenting I had done during my 4-H and yearbook days.  

It wasn’t until I my 30th birthday that I was gifted my first digital camera from my fiancé and current wife.  The Canon Powershot s3.  It was my first camera that looked like a professional camera, except that you couldn’t change lenses.  But I fell in love with the digital world of photography.  I experimented more with lighting and angles.  All the things that I wanted to do but was afraid to because of wasting film and money.  If I didn’t like a shot, I deleted it.  I could now print the shots I wanted to or share them electronically.  I found myself taking more photos and digital renewed my love for photography.

Fast forward a few years, I finally made the move into the world of DSLR cameras.  I purchased a Nikon D7200 and a couple of lenses.  This was my dream camera!  I could take great photos as well as incredible video.  It basically does everything that I need it to do.  I enjoy the challenge of learning more about how the camera works and am always experimenting and testing new ideas with it.  

Being able to capture lightning was a dream come true!

But photography is more than just the equipment, it’s about capturing the moments you don’t want to forget.  It’s about sharing those moments.  Looking back at those moments and remembering them.  The world of photography is always changing.  The gear gets better and editing images has become an art in itself.  But the one thing, in my mind, that stays the same, is you’re still capturing those moments.  That’s what I love about photography.  Capturing moments, freezing them in time and sharing them with you. 

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