When nature photographer Dan Ruf was working toward his degree in biology and art, he spent his summers working for the U.S. Forest Service.
The Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, the Boise National Forest in Idaho and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington all helped to inspire his passion for immersing himself in the outdoors through photography.
While working in Washington, he would spend 10 days at a time doing trail work in the forest.
“We camped out in remote areas in Washington. It was a good experience,” he said. “You get pretty immersed in nature that way.”
It’s a few years after college, but Ruf still loves to get outside and work with his camera. He spends time traveling to capture different scenes, and most of the time just wandering around helps him find his perfect shots.
Ruf’s photography is on display July-September in the eARTh exhibit area in the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji. His exhibit features landscape, wildlife and wildflower photos taken in Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Ruf loves that the United States offers so many different places to capture amazing images.
“Within a couple days’ drive, you can be in a lot of different ecological systems and animal situations,” he said. “We’re very fortunate.”
He hopes that people will have a sense of peace as they look at his photos and that some scenes, like storms and landscapes, will show the immenseness of nature.
A reception will be held in Ruf’s honor 5-7 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Stop by to see Ruf’s work on display and to hear from him about what goes into each photo. Hors d’oeuvres will also be served.
In addition to his exhibit, Ruf will also teach a beginning adult photography class 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, at the nature center.
The beginning adult class will focus on the essential elements of how to use a digital camera and will feature some hands-on outdoor experience in Kenue Park in Okoboji as well.
“I hope they learn a little bit more about their camera usage, a way to use it as an artistic tool not just a snapshot tool,” Ruf said. “Photography, when taken seriously, is not a one-click deal. It takes thought --- forethought and afterthought.”
The Nature Photography class costs $50 per person, and a minimum of six students is needed for the class to be held. Register with Ruf by calling 712-330-1378 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on any Art & Nature classes or other activities at the Dickinson County Nature Center, call 712-336-6352 or visit the nature center website. The nature center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.