KODIAK — People love puffins — this is what photographer Dake Schmidt has learned through his years of photographing Kodiak wildlife and scenery.
“When it all started as an idea in my head; I thought bears would be it,” Schmidt said. “But it’s not. People go psychotic for puffins.”
Schmidt’s photographs are printed on canvas and feature unique images of Kodiak wildlife or scenes on the road system.
“I lot of it is what I fall upon,” he said. “I keep a camera with me 24/7, and what I really like photographing is all the stuff that everyone sees almost daily. If I capture something just right, people look at it differently.”
Schmidt started taking pictures with a disposable point-and-shoot camera about 10 years ago in Colorado. When he moved to Homer and then to Kodiak he slowly started to upgrade his camera. He initially started taking photos to show his parents the beauty of Alaska.
“It’s hard to explain 100 bald eagles in front of you to your parents without a photograph,” he said.
Over the years he’s turned his photography from a hobby into a business, and his photography has filled a niche for locals.
Last summer, one of Schmidt’s photos was used as the 2011 Crab Festival poster.
“Now I’ve hit this crazy niche that Alaskans love,” he said. “More locals buy my photography than outside people, and that’s a huge compliment.”
This year Schmidt and girlfriend Kadie Walsh put together a 2013 calendar featuring his photography.
“We did a calendar in 2006,” Walsh said. “Ever since we did that one, people have asked consistently if we were going to do another one. We’re hoping to do it annually.”
The calendar features local Kodiak dates like Crab Festival, the state fair and the rodeo.
Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com