Get to know these talented local photographers and learn their insider tips!


Name: Kayla Lindquist

Photography specialty: Birds, wildlife

Where to find her work: Website, Facebook and Instagram: Kayla Lindquist Photography

Advice for nature photography: Having good lighting and patience is important, but so is composition. Everything I’ve learned about photography was by studying the work of other artists and photographers. Overtime, this gives you an eye for detail and subject placement. With composition in mind, you have more options. You could do anything from tell a story or make something completely abstract. 

In terms of phone photography, it’s all the same to me. Camera quality doesn’t determine the range of a photographer, it doesn’t define you as an artist. I started out with my phone. First, I learned about it and realized what worked and what didn’t (mistakes are very valuable). After that it was just practice, practice, practice. I found that my phone is truly best for close up (macro) and landscape shots!

Favorite place to shoot: Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve

I have spent at least 100 hours there, probably much more. My favorite time of year to shoot is spring. I enjoy seeing everything come back to life and watching all of the color appear. Spring migration for birds is the most exciting time for me. Every day there is something new to see.

Favorite time of day to shoot: Sunset/Sunrise

Frankly, my least favorite time of day is mid day (11am-3pm), the lighting is harsh and most subjects are overexposed. I prefer to get out very early morning or as the sun is going down. This allows the whites to be toned down, which makes the images smoother and brings out the color. Wildlife is also more active in the early morning and evening, especially on warmer days.


Name: Robert Clark

Photography specialty: Although I have started experimenting with nighttime photography (lunar detail, star trails, etc.), my main photographic interest is macro photography, particularly nature macros. That said, I’m rarely outside without some sort of camera, even if only my phone. I love being out in nature and I love trying to capture images that will show others its beauty.

Where to find his work: I wish I could report that I have a big fancy showcase website. All I can point to is my Flickr account that contains only a small portion of my photographs.

Advice for nature photography: (1) Shoot a slightly wider field of view than you really want to give yourself space to straighten horizons, crop, etc. Those things can all be easily done on phone cameras, and often turn good shots into great ones. (2) Always tap on the most important part of your shot on the screen to get the best focus and exposure. Without that, your phone camera is trying to do the best it can with everything it sees in the shot. This screen-wide “averaging” is what turns snow gray and silhouettes subjects that are backlit. You can avoid it!

Favorite time and place to shoot: I love the challenge of shooting year round in a wide variety of conditions. However, if pressed to name a favorite season for photography, it would be spring. My favorite location in this area is, without a doubt, Nygren Wetland Preserve.


Name: Trisha Wilks

Photography speciality: Landscape, prairies and forests

Where to find her work: Instagram: Trisha Wilks

Advice for nature photography: The best camera is the one that is with you. My professional camera is large and heavy and not fun to hike with, so I often find myself making the most of whatever I have with me. Sometimes that is my iPhone camera or a lightweight, high-quality Leica that I picked up for hiking. I always like to encourage people to try to look at their subjects in new ways and explore all of the options- up above, below, close up, far away, etc. Be patient, creative, and follow your wonder!

Favorite time and place to shoot: Two of my favorite places to shoot are J.Norman Jensen Forest Preserve where I serve as a volunteer Trail Steward and the farm where I work, Angelic Organics Learning Center.

I have a deep connection to the prairies, forests, and rivers of our area. There is something so very awe-inspiring about the way that the morning light filters through the prairie. There is no better place to enjoy the sunset or night sky than Jensen. I love shooting year-round because every season is unique and special, but if I had to pick one, it would be winter. With the absence of leaves, you are able to capture the silhouettes that are otherwise hidden.


Name: David C. Olson and Adrienne Olson / Olson Photography

Photography specialty: Nature and Wildlife Photography, studio and commercial

Where to find his work: Website, Facebook: David C. Olson Photography

Advice for nature photography: 1. Image composition is key to have great visual impact. 2. Use the golden hours of light (first and last hours of sunlight). 3. Understand your gear and know how to use it, read your manuals. 4. Patience isn’t a virtue; it’s a necessity. 5. Don’t always take your pictures while standing upright, try high and low angles. 6. For phone cameras, shoot horizontally unless you are photographing a vertical subject. 7. Adding a filter or effect does not always make a better image. 8. Study your subjects, the more you know about your subject, the better you can anticipate, find, and document them. 9. Respect wildlife. Making an animal or bird flee when you try to get closer for a photo is not ethical, give them space and let them be. 10. Learn about ethical photographic practices in the field. The wise say “take only pictures, leave only footprints.”

We teach and lead nature photography workshops and tours around North America and locally. These workshops are great places for all levels of photographers to learn photography, ethics and how to find wildlife. Most of all we come back with pictures of a lifetime you will be happy to share.

Favorite time and place to shoot: We are so fortunate to live in our 815 region. With four wild rivers and forest preserves and parks in abundance, we have a variety of places to create great outdoor images. Spring and fall are my favorite time to photograph here. Spring brings blooming wildflowers and trees. Also, thousands of birds migrate through here to breeding grounds in the North– our region has documented 350 different bird species! In fall, the palette of colors changes daily and animals prepare for winter, making for great behavioral shots.


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