Behind The Scenes With Heckel.

Go behind the scenes with a 5 foot 6 and 7/8 inch commercial and travel photographer fueled by espresso. Read blog posts infused with a little humor, a whole lot of caffeine-laced sarcasm, some deep thoughts and even a few photography tips added to the mix.

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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The Tree By My House

The first home my wife and I owned was a tiny three bedroom in an older Sioux Falls neighborhood. Built in 1931, the story and a half was modest but well constructed. The house was positioned on a small hill that accentuated the steep pitch of the roof. More than one passerby mentioned that it reminded them of a gingerbread house.

Additionally, it wasn’t constructed with traditional siding. Granite stone accents began at ground level and worked their way halfway up the front, where off-white stucco continued to the gutters. The front steps were cobbled together from granite blocks left over from the house’s construction and led you to a solid wood front door

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A Public Hanging

With my advertising career in the rear view mirror, I traveled to try my hand at landscape photography for the first time in March of 2018. I became an instant addict.

My next photo adventure took the form of a 7,000 mile, 30-day road trip with my 20-something daughter riding shotgun. Camping mostly in a rooftop tent (and a few hotels because we stunk and needed a hot shower), we visited 11 states, 12 National Parks and photographed 25 sunrises.

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My Favorite Instagram Comment

Despite owning a small business for the last 14 years, I’ve never had a legitimate Facebook account. And I’m proud of the fact. However, when I began photographing landscapes, I knew Instagram was a necessity to promote and sell my photography. Traveling is expensive and I have to keep the bank account funded or my adventure venture will end prematurely.

So, acting on the advice of my 20-something daughter, I created an Instagram account and @HeckelOutside was born. Before that time, I honestly thought Instagram was a new Polaroid camera.

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Photography Espressofied

I became a certified coffeeholic‌ when I began living on my own just out of high school. Basically, because I was broke and coffee was less expensive than Coke. It was 1990 and it was still considered perfectly acceptable for teenagers to drink four cans of soda daily. The “drink lots of water” craze hadn’t taken hold yet and my generation was still guzzling sugar and caffeine fortified Coke, Mello Yello and Jolt by the case.

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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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Bored In Miami

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I had just spent the past 10 days traveling solo driving from Miami to sunny Key West and then back again along the Overseas Highway. I know, rough life – but I swear it was a working trip and I had to apply sunscreen at least twice a day. Anyway, I’d dropped off the rental, checked some luggage and had made my way through security with my rolling camera bag.

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Rooftop Tent Review: The Tepui Kukenam 3

This my honest review, opinion and experience camping with the Tepui Kukenam 3 Ruggedized rooftop tent. I’ve used it extensively in my home state of South Dakota and traveling as a landscape photographer in more than a dozen states.

I officially began my landscape photography business in May of 2018. As a result, I needed to quickly and efficiently build a landscape photo library so that I could offer prints that people would hopefully buy. Those sales would fund subsequent trips. Or at least that was the theory.

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