I grew up in the Midwest, in central Michigan. After graduating high school in 1989 I went on to college to study engineering at Michigan Technological University, and then completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at Eastern Michigan University. After graduating in 1996, I moved to Bozeman, MT and attended graduate school at Montana State University, studying wildlife ecology and evolutionary biology. It was during this time as a graduate student that my love of photography began.
I began serious photography in 1996 when three things happened. One: I received my first SLR camera as a gift from my brother, an old manual Canon FTb. Two: I began my graduate research project at MSU studying the impacts of the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park on the coyote populations of Yellowstone, particularly in the Lamar Valley and surrounding regions. And three, I met Dan (and later Cindy) Hartman of Wildlife Along the Rockies while I was working at a car dealership. Dan went out of his way to help me get started, providing advice on equipment and technique, as well providing guidance and support along the way. I’m forever grateful to Dan and Cindy for their hospitality and the sharing of their knowledge and experience.
The field work for my research had me living just outside Yellowstone in Cooke City and in Silver Gate, Montana, and working in the park on a daily basis. I was fortunate that wildlife and landscape photography was made more accessible by the nature of my research project. During these years I developed a deep passion for photography, fueled by my lifelong love of nature and wildlife. I have always considered myself a naturalist first, and a photographer second, and I have no doubt that my knowledge of animal biology and behavior have been a tremendous aid to me in the photographic representation of my subjects. This background not only helps me find my subjects, but I also feel that it helps me to make images that accurately represent the habits and actions of my subjects.
In those early years I began selling my work at art shows and also entered the arena of entering contests and making editorial submissions to magazines. Some of my earliest successes came with having my images published in Montana Outdoors and Montana Magazine, as well as having some images chosen and published as winners or honorable mentions in a few contests such as American Photo and Nature’s Best magazines.
But then, I went on a hiatus. I needed reliable income (it was time to start a family) and self-doubt was creeping in and I began to think photography was too “hit-and-miss” to be relied upon for an income to raise a family. So I stepped away and started a new business (piano service and restoration) and focused on doing that well and providing for my family...but I never lost the itch.
When the COVID pandemic hit, I was out of work for a couple of months, and I very quickly decided to fill my “sabbatical” time with a return to my photography. I was instantly reminded how deep my passion is for capturing images of wildlife, and I made a choice then and there to return to that love with a much stronger focus, and commitment to success.
My images consist of a diverse collection of bird, wildlife, and scenic images. And, while true wildlife can be more difficult to photograph, all of my shots carry a “Wild and Free Guarantee.” This guarantees that all the photos you see are of wild animals in their natural environments. I feel this adds to the value of my images and creates a sense of honesty and transparency about what you see.
Having the respect and concern for our Earth's wildlife and the habitats they live in, I take the time and care to better understand how and where these creatures live. In this way, I try my best not to be an intruder, but to become an observer and a recorder of the natural world. I feel that the considerable amount of time and effort that is invested in hiking into the remote backcountry to study and photograph these animals benefits not only them, but myself and my customers as well. Wildlife and scenic photography is a medium through which I hope I will inspire others to appreciate, respect, and protect the wonders of our natural world. It is my opinion that the appreciation of our wild creatures and the environments in which they live is magnified by knowing that the images you see are really "out there" for anyone to go and discover. I hope that the fine-art photographic prints I offer will inspire you to visit - and protect - some of those things I have been able to experience and capture on film, and all the rest of our wild places.
Presently, I run my business, “Second Nature Photography,” out of Belleville, Wisconsin.