Sedona Arizona Doe Mountain sunset photograph with agave plant in foreground. Photographed by Sioux Falls SD based landscape photographer Paul Heckel of Heckel Photography.

Ramen Noodle Broke

When my wife, Nora, and I were first married we were broke. 39 cents in our checking account broke. Ramen noodles as an entree broke. Consequently, we spent our honeymoon in Cincinnati, OH – close to our home in Louisville, KY – where my wife grew up and where we lived at the time. It was a quick, cheap trip for we, the moneyless.

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Zeppelin the German Shepherd

They say life is lonely on the road, so on my third multiple-week trip to photograph landscapes, I thought it would be a good idea to bring Zeppelin, my German Shepherd, along for the ride.

He’s been my travel companion ever since.

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Photograph of a prairie sunset near Mobridge South Dakota photographed by Sioux Falls based landscape photographer Paul Heckel.

Windshield Time.

Recently, I found myself on a solo landscape photography trip exploring South Dakota. My goal was to capture some of my home state’s more obscure landscapes. I was on travel day three, so my thoughts were still relatively normal. Let me explain.

I travel alone a lot. Which leaves me alone with my thoughts. A lot. The more miles, the more strange those thoughts become.

A few hours from home, my thoughts are fairly mundane. Did I pack enough coffee? I hope the linebacker that the Cowboys picked up in the draft works out. What’s that noise? Sounds like my rear wheel.

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Sioux Falls South Dakota Frost

South Dakota Cold

As a photographer, I love living in Eastern South Dakota. In the summer. Winters, yeah, not so much. I mean come on – NEGATIVE 30 degrees? And that’s the actual temperature. When it’s that cold, wind chill doesn’t even matter. It’s just bone-chilling, snot-freezing cold. Makes me wonder what crazy Sioux Falls city founder said, “Hey guys, let’s build a city here.”

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A fine art sunset photographt Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota by Sioux Falls SD based travel and landscape photographer Paul Heckel

Sylvan Lake Sunset

Although I grew up in the same state, it wasn’t until I was exactly 10 that I visited Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the first time. I say exactly because I took the trip to the Hills with my Mom who is a country music diehard. And I wasn’t. We spent all six plus hours of the 55 mph drive listening to AM country radio stations. Elvira, a song by the Oak Ridge Boys, was popular and was getting a ton of airplay in the summer of 1981. And for whatever reason, I made it my theme song for the duration of the trip. Yes, I was a weird kid.

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Motion Blur Photo of Redwoods in California Redwood National Park

Looong Exposure In Redwood National Forest

I’d like to tell you that this photography effect that happened in The Redwood National Forest was intentional. Or even a cool Photoshop action I developed over years of hard work. But it’s neither.

My daughter and I were visiting the California Redwoods for the first time. It’s a location that we both really, really wanted to photograph. We spent a good part of the day driving through the winding roads of The Redwood National Forest and State Park near Orick, California. We were surround by trees that were over 2000 years old.

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Photograph of a desert from Father Crowley Overlook in Death Valley National Park California. Photographed by Paul Heckel of Heckel Photography.

A Is For Ansel

I was a weird little kid. Essentially an only child, 11 years separating me from my youngest sibling, I spent a lot of time alone entertaining myself.

Fortunately, my family owned a complete set of encyclopedias. That should give you some indication of how nerdy I really was. I used “fortunately” in the previous sentence.

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Fine Art Photo of a Full Moon Over The Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Heckel Time

Those of you who know me, have read some of my other posts or have had a photo session scheduled with me are well aware that I am constantly late. For everything. It’s not that I don’t value what I’m about to do next, it’s that I get caught up in what I am doing now. That, and I always think that I can get someplace quicker than I actually do. My friends and family in South Dakota have created a term for this syndrome. Heckel Time.

Friend: “When will you be over?”

Me: “At 7pm.”

Friend: “Is that CST or Heckel Time?”

Me: “Heckel Time.”

Friend: “OK, see you at 7:45!”

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