Mike Wetzel | About

I’ve loved photography for as long as I can remember, and I’m passionate about my subjects.  I've slept for a week in my truck while chasing storms.  I've camped out in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from the closest hint of civilization, in order to shoot a unique landscape.  When I’m fortunate enough to experience a prolonged pocket of good weather, I’ll work from sunset to sunrise because that’s what’s needed to capture the Milky Way at its most vivid and celestial.  Whatever it takes to secure that one perfect image, angle, moment—that’s the challenge of photography and what I’m driven to do.  

My tinkering began with the purchase of my first camera in the mid-80s.  I was serving in the U.S. Army, so I had a variety of scenery to shoot wherever I was stationed.  However, with no formal training, I struggled to remember which settings I’d used, and was unable during those years to improve upon the flaws I saw in my prints.

Moving forward, I pursued a degree in Architecture.  School taught me the principles of form, texture, color, light, function, paths of the sun, composition, and how all of these elements affect our environment.  These lessons reignited my fascination with photography and fueled my drive to learn more.  Enter smartphones… 

What a difference 30 years makes in technology! 

Playing around with photos on an early-model iPhone gave me an opportunity to further study the characteristics of design I worked with daily as an architect.  This intersection of creativity—where three-dimensional entities and panoramas become fixed within the layers of two-dimensional media—held my imagination.  My desire to capture and tell these visual stories became the catalyst in 2013 for my investment in more sophisticated camera equipment.

Digital technology enabled me to adjust settings and see the affect within an image instantly, fine-tuning color, texture, and light to solidify the tone and mood of each photograph.  A whole new world opened up for me!  I started reading and learning as much as I could, as quickly as possible. I was hooked!

Today, I travel as often as I can to workshops around the country. My goal is to continually learn and expand my knowledge in the art of photography.  I try never to focus on any preferred photographic style because I don’t want to frame myself within a specific genre. Whether it’s a landscape panorama, a glamourous portrait featuring a fitness champion, or a combination of these which produces my favorite contrast of soft against rugged, I remain loyal to my instincts.  When I’m clear with myself, the outcome is always amazing to me and well-received by others!