The man behind the camera, Mike Shafer

The man behind the camera, Mike Shafer

I first picked up a camera out of curiosity - taking pictures sounded like a fun thing to do.

It didn't take long to a passion to begin to unfold. I found myself out shooting at any excuse I could come up with; and soon, I realized photography is much more than just taking pictures - it’s an art form.

For me, photography fulfills a need only creativity can satisfy. The constant desire for something greater and the pride that comes from hard work are what cause me to brave South Dakota blizzards and stay out into the wee hours of the morning, all in the pursuit of art.

A friend once asked my what I chose photography instead of drawing, painting, or sculpture. I thought it a curious question - I can hardly imagine my life without photography now - but I think it's a profound one. Photography forces me to see the world differently, finding beauty in both the ordinary and the extraordinary. It's the finding beauty part that resonates with me, especially in landscape photography where so little is under my control. There's a gratification that comes from besting mother nature and discovering her secrets.

So landscapes became my passion project, and I found a serenity and clearness of mind when I'm alone in the elements. I practice other forms of photography because creativity is as essential to me as breathing (and it’s an enjoyable way to pay the bills). I love finding new ways the experience the calm satisfaction of creating a good image.