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Welcome REI Co-op Members! We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community, click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

Hello from Illinois

Hi, my name is Hank, I try to be an landscape / nature photographer.

I am here now because I decided to take some REI outdoor classes, so I could go deeper into the woods for my photography, and it never hurts to have a little adventure in your life. who knows might  meet some like minded friends here.

some of my images are here:

5 Replies


Hi Hank - Welcome to the community! We are so glad to have you here. It's amazing to hear that you are getting a little farther into the outdoors for photography. There are certainly many like minded folks here in the community to talk about all different kinds of outdoor activities and photography. 

I was a photographer for many years and still continue to bring my camera along on many of my ventures outside, so love talking about this stuff! Your work is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your portfolio. I really loved the passion fruit flower and what you created with steel wool! Long exposure night shots have always been a favorite of mine as well. 

If you want to share, what's is your camera setup? I'm constantly tweaking mine to be better for a wide range of outdoor activities, so it's always fun to see what other people are using and what they like/don't like about their own. There are many photographers here in the community. @bryndsharp@Serenity_Luna@forrestgump@Vince@CajunHiker - do you all have any tips about getting a bit farther into the outdoors with cameras? 

We look forward to seeing more of your photos, hearing your stories, answering lots of questions, and getting into some good conversations about the outdoors. Again, we're glad you're here!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you for the kind words about my images, that's always nice to see.

the heart of my kit is a Canon 7D with a Canon 10-22 f3.5-4.5. Tokina 28-80 f2.8 and a Tonkina 80-200 f2.8 not the most up to date kit but it gets the job done.

My goal is the backpack the Shawnee National Forest with my camera gear, but the rattlesnake and copperheads make me think twice. but it will be fun working up to that. 


@Keeys the Shawnee National Forest is great! I actually lived in Southern Illinois for 8 years when I was younger. Although there are snakes, you just have to be careful, and choose your time of year wisely. However, the trail is definitely doable!

As for photography, I have been doing photography professionally for about 5 years now (although it's not my main gig haha), and have been doing photography in the backcountry for about the same amount of time.

When I go into the backcountry with my camera gear, I always make sure to have double or triple batteries for each camera that I bring. I also always make sure that everything is water-proofed. If temps will drop below 45 F, I sleep with my camera batteries (and all other batteries) inside my sleeping bag to prevent the batteries from losing charge. It can also help to bring some sort of protected/padded case for your camera (and I usually store my camera on top of the rest of the items in my pack, unless it's around my neck!). I also like to try to travel light but versatile. I usually carry two lenses for a single camera and a go pro for shot versatility. I don't really take tripods into the backcountry, but I know people that do. Also make sure to bring plenty of memory cards.

Those are just the main things I thought of off the top of my head, but if you have specific questions you'd like me to answer, let me know!

@bryndsharp  Thank you for the reply, I just might take you up on your offer.

I take my first REI outdoor class in April, maps and compass, thinking it might be good not to get lost. I have sold a couple of images, I give more away then I sell. For me its for fun and to get outside, but I do need to find new places to take photos.

Looked at your website very nice images, you have a good eye for pictures. This spring the plan is to check out Indiana Dunes National Park, only about an hour or so ride for me (no deadly snakes) and go on from there. 

@Keeys How exciting! I hope you have fun at your REI class (yes, it's a good idea not to get lost haha) and I hope you have an amazing experience at Indiana Dunes NP! Sunsets are always amazing opportunities for photos, especially when there are dunes. The lighting that's created is almost otherworldly. 🙂

Thanks for the compliment about the photos!

Let me know if you have any questions about anything,