Q: What camera do you use?
A: I shoot with a Nikon full-frame camera, either a D610 or a D700. Usually, I use a wide-angle lens like a 12-24mm. They work great for landscapes, and it’s nice when you are shooting images inside an old building to be able to capture the whole scene.
Q: Your photos have a ghostly quality. How do you attain that style?
A: A polarizing filter helps the clouds pop against a blue sky, so I use that whenever possible. I use Photoshop on most of my images, as there are usually dust spots that need to be cleaned up, and you can tweak the color and other details. I feel like each image out of the camera is a starting point, and I work on them to fit the vision in my mind’s eye of a particular scene. Sometimes an image in black and white can have a great visual impact.
Q: What draws you to the Dakotas?
A: The Dakotas are dismissed as places that are not very visually interesting, but I don’t agree. An old one-room schoolhouse set against a wide-open landscape has a visual appeal to me. The Dakotas are great because there are so many places still standing out there. Part of it is due to the drier climate, and part of it is due to the fact that there just aren’t that many people out there, so things don’t get vandalized or torn down like they do in Minnesota. Each of the places I photograph has a story. Sometimes I find out more about them after the fact, and it’s interesting to learn the history of a place. There are so many abandoned churches and schools in the Dakotas that I feel should be documented so that they don’t just fade away with no record. Each is a new place to explore and find something beautiful in the abandoned.
Q: What do you do when you’re not traveling?
A: I work for an advertising company in Plymouth as a catalog photographer.