In each issue and online, we like feature photos from our annual Lens on St. Croix Valley photo contest. In this issue, we asked photographer Todd Kockelman to tell us about his winning photo titled Winter Liftbridge that he submitted to our contest in 2018.
See more of Todd Kockelman’s photography on Instagram @tkockelman.
SCV Mag: First of all, congratulations Todd.
Kockelman: WOW!! I didn’t realize I won! WOW! I’m smiling because that made my day! Thank you!
SCV Mag: You’re so welcome. When and where was the photo taken?
Kockelman: The picture was taken on Thursday morning February 16, 2017 in Lowell Park downtown Stillwater.
SCV Mag: What inspired the shot?
Kockelman: … just the entire beauty of the early morning, the colors of the sky, thinking about my kids enjoying cotton candy during the summer. Morning people “get it.” Getting up early to enjoy what others may miss by sleeping in a bit too long ... Capturing such beauty is incredibly gratifying and sharing is even more so.
SCV Mag: What is your background in photography?
Kockelman: I’m a complete amateur. I just love taking pictures, trying to figure out new and different shots. I am completely self-taught, studying only on occasion by means of computer searches and videos. I am an avid nighttime photographer, again for the peace of being outside in nature alone with just the sky or surroundings.
SCV Mag: What’s your favorite thing about this image?
Kockelman: It was the final shot in a series of four that I have taken from that very spot. I always wanted to do a spring, summer, fall and winter shot of the same place. That particular place is my favorite and I like to call it “mine.” Smiling again!
SCV Mag: What type of camera did you use?
Kockelman: I simply shot it on my iPhone 6s. I also use a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot (Model DMC-ZS7).
SCV Mag: What tips would you give an aspiring photographer?
Kockelman: Just take pictures of what you love. Try different things and different settings. If you don’t like it, learn about it just a little and try again. Don’t settle. Always find a way to love what you make.