I started taking pictures at the age of 11 with my Kodak disc camera. The farm I grew up on provided many "models" for my early photo shoots including my brother, 2 horses, lots of pigs, my dad with his International tractors and my dog Mittsie. In 11th grade I took "Media Tech," the photography class offered at Hutchinson High School. The class taught us how to load and process film and print black & white pictures in the darkroom. I knew photography was going to be my lifelong career, so I started researching my options. I chose Willmar Technical College (now Ridgewater College) and that is where I learned about photography for two fun years. The classes were very well rounded and I learned a lot about lighting, posing, indoor and outdoor portraits and commercial photography. This was all done in the film days from 1992 to 1994. We had plenty of darkroom time trying to master and hone our skills. I graduated in June of 1994 with my Professional Photography Technology diploma. Then I got married and started my career at a high volume studio in Waite Park, MN. I worked there for 5 years and was taught many valuable lessons that included working with people, marketing, managing and photography. I also became a Certified Professional Photographer. On April 1st, 1999 Country Gallery opened and I haven't looked back since! At first I worked out of my home and in 2001 my 6000sq.ft. studio was built. During that time I was very active in the Central Minnesota Photography club, the Twin Cities Professional Photographers, Minnesota Professional Photographer's Association and the Professional Photographers of America. In PPA I earned my Certificate of Business Management, Master and Craftsman photography degrees and I also became a Certified Business Instructor. In MNPPA I earned my Service, Accredited and Fellowship degrees along with many award winning images that I entered through our state and regional competitions. As the times have changed, so must I to keep up with the times. I've always kept the same core values of honesty, dependability, and producing a keepsake product for my clients to treasure for years to come. My love for pets, people and charity work is the heart of my photography business.
Back in 2012, I gave myself the "self assignment" to "photograph Minnesota." I always brought my girls; Nora age 7 at the time and Sophie at 5½, along with me. Nora and Sophie would use my old Canon cameras to take their pictures with. (Always nice seeing low angle perspectives of things.) We really enjoyed learning about our state's history along with photographing all of Minnesota's beauty, oddities, festivals, parks and waterfalls. We love traveling all the way from the north shore down to beautiful bluff country. In September of 2012 my friend Sue and I headed up the north shore and my love of photographing Minnesota waterfalls began. It became a fun activity to do and got me away from the studio for a while. As I began accumulating all the Minnesota images, I thought it would be fun to compile some sort of a book. In January of 2015, I met with Adventure Publications up in Cambridge, Minnesota and they hired me to do the book, Waterfalls of Minnesota. At that time I only had 33 waterfalls completed. My goal was to get 100 and I needed to have all images and wordage to them by August 31st, 2015. Now fast forward to January of 2016. I had photographed 140 Minnesota falls, put on many miles on my vehicle (and on my feet) and we began to wrap up the book project and send it to press! On April 25th, 2016 my first shipment of Waterfalls of Minnesota arrived. I enjoy doing book signings, programs and waterfall education. If you have a group that is in need of an interesting and entertaining program, send me a message. I must say the most fun concept that has come out of this whole book project has been the waterfall safari trips up on the north shore. Some groups have hired me to take them up to my favorite waterfalls. I have thoroughly enjoyed that!
Happy hiking and have fun exploring our beautiful state of Minnesota!