Since this is the first installment of “Through the Lens”, it is only prudent to begin with a proper introduction.

Ryan and I currently call the small town of Tyndall, SD, our home.

We have been a couple now for 11 years and are the proud parents of four children, two girls and two boys. For the past nine years I have been employed by the Missouri Valley Shopper as a media consultant. My husband, Ryan, is an independent contractor.

Prior to working for the newspaper, I was a professional photographer and was the co-owner of a Yankton-based photography studio. Having taken so many pictures as a portrait photographer, I had really lost my desire to pick up a camera much less take a picture. However, one year for my birthday, Ryan gave me a digital camera with interchangeable lenses.

I started out just shooting (taking pictures) of the sky, landscapes and flowers, then moving on to wildlife stills and in motion. Then when we started out in our hobby of photography as a couple, it was simply to spend time together.

Early on in our relationship, my husband took a job that would keep him on the road for a month or more at a time. Needless to say, we didn’t get to spend much time together, except when he came home. (So in some future issues I may be featuring my husband’s work.) Anyway, on the weekends my husband was home we started “going for drives” just to see what we could see” he would say. In the early years, we never planned our locations or really looked at a map. We learned quickly that taking an unplanned route could be a bust or a blessing in disguise, because we often happened upon out-of-the way places that we didn’t know about. This former prairie farmstead was one of those pleasant surprises. When I come across places like this, I can’t help but think about the days gone by when the settlers traveled by horses and covered wagons and there were no roads. It makes one appreciate the hardship those settlers endured, and in contrast, you sometimes feel a longing for those simpler times and the adventure of going somewhere new to start a life from the ground up. I think that is how we first got bitten


by the bug to keep doing what we do, telling a story with our photographs.

Most abandoned structures have at least one thing in common– disrepair. But there is beauty in the eye of the beholder. Have you ever walked through a doorway and seen, out of the corner of your eye, a spider web and thought, “yuck”, I have. But I also could not help but wonder how long had that cobweb been hanging on that door frame. So I would pick up my camera and through my lens zoom in and see intricate design and beauty as the light through the broken window dances on the web. Ultimately that is our goal. As those old buildings disappear, some being torn down or others, falling down under the weight of winter’s snow, we try to capture those that are left before they too are lost to the pages of history, a memory in time. Dilapidated, run down, overgrown with weeds and garbage. But through the lens, we see there once was beauty and life.