Photographer of the Month: JoAnn Kraft

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jul 23, 2017 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I love Instagram. I love finding new people, searching new tags, and getting new glimpses into lives, nature, the world. One such discovery is photographer JoAnn Kraft, who captures nature so beautifully that I feel as if I am right there with her, seeing through her eyes. She's got a talent for macro, for discovering small things, and for seeing what others might not. Here, in words and photos, our Photographer of the Month, JoAnn Kraft...

Waterfowl at sunset. Photographer Joann Kraft
Take your camera, even if you don't expect to use it.
Bee on sunflower. Photographer Joann Kraft
Wait for liftoff

My name is JoAnn Kraft, I am 37 years old. I have lived my entire life in many places around NorthWest Ohio. I began my adulthood with the expectation of becoming a professional pilot, however, after four years of college, circumstances beyond my control changed my plans. I quickly settled down into a career in Accounting, and turn to my hobbies to satisfy my need for adventure. I moved to rural Putnam County Ohio 10 years ago when I met my husband, and will most likely live here until we retire and run away. We enjoy all things outdoors: camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, etc. As nature enthusiasts, we are happiest when we are furthest away from all things civilized. The only time we camp where there are other people around is when we are at bluegrass music festivals. My love of nature naturally translates into my photography hobby, where I can share the incredible world around us with others. 

Bee macro. Photographer Joann Kraft
Look down
looking up at the trees. Photographer Joann Kraft
Look up

How did you get interested in photography?
I have always seen the world a little bit differently than other people. Instead of seeing a silver lining on every cloud, I saw a lavender lining. It was frustrating to me that others did not see the vibrancy in every day scenes as I do. Even now, I can show someone a picture of how I experienced something and they say "I don't remember it being that colorful." I enjoy opening people's eyes to the beauty in unexpected places.   

birds in a storm. Photographer Joann Kraft
Bad weather can make for great pictures
bee closeup. Photographer Joann Kraft
Take a chance or twenty, you may get something incredible

How long have you been a photographer?
Prior to the recent advancement in digital technology, I was unable to put much energy into photography. The cost and disappointment in film photography made it difficult for the basic hobbyist to have any real success. About seven years ago, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot with a decent zoom, and I have been happily wasting and deleting shots ever since. 

Colorful bird in the snow. Photographer Joann Kraft
Be grateful for the shots that are given to you
atop the roof!Photographer Joann Kraft
Patience and timing

What is your favorite place or thing to photograph?
I really enjoy photographing nature, especially the unexpected nature. I do not take many landscape shots, because anyone who walks the same path I am walking will see the same scene.  I enjoy looking for the things people overlook. I scan the ground for insects and micro environments, I scan the treetops for wildlife. I take my camera with me into strange places looking for the resiliance of nature. Some of my favorite shots have been taken in a machinery graveyard.

When I do get away, my favorite place to go is in the UP of Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. When I am there, I feel at complete peace. My second favorite place is in Hocking Hills Ohio, in the formation called Rock House. It defies everyone's expectations of Ohio.

The beaches of Lake Superior. Photographer Joann Kraft
The beaches of Lake Superior
Turtles sunning on a log. Photographer Joann Kraft
This was taken at a machinery graveyard

How can photographers be a part of change in the world?
Photographers show people things that they would not otherwise see, both good and bad. Through photography, we can bring an awareness of issues in the world around us that is more powerful that words alone. We can also show the everyday beauty that is in the world right where we live. One of my most used Instagram tags is #myoneacre where I post pictures from around my very average home. I use photography to show that you do not need to go somewhere "beautiful" to find beauty, it is everywhere if you only look for it.
 
Deer hiding in the woods. Photographer Joann Kraft
Look close, things are often more than they appear
Squirrel! Photographer Joann Kraft
Listen for signs of life

Do you have any trips planned for the future, and if so, what are you looking forward to?
We are planning a camping trip to the UP of Michigan this summer, to Lake Superior. I am looking foward to having no TV and limited cell service. We will most likely visit Whitefish Point, Taquahmenon Falls, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, although I would be satisfied just to sit on the beach in Grand Marais and watch the sun set every night. 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan. Photographer Joann Kraft
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Sunset in Grand Marais, Michigan. Photographer Joann Kraft
Sunset in Grand Marais MI

Any photography tips you want to share?
Practice, practice, practice. To get the best results you have to be very familiar with your equipment and its capabilities. You must also expect to throw away about 95 percent of your shots. Really great shots do not happen with one click - it takes patience and perseverance.

Bird on a flowering tree branch. Photographer Joann Kraft
Even common things can be beautiful
Bee! Photographer Joann Kraft
Don't overlook your community gardens

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Have fun with photography! Wait for animals to make a weird face, or stretch at an awkward angle. Take a miniature sidekick in your pocket for photoshoots on your travels. I have a little Gumby and Pokey set that goes on trips with me. Use your imagination! 

Gumby at sunset, Lake Superior. Photographer Joann Kraft
Gumby goes to watch the sunset on Lake Superior
Toad hidden in the fallen leaves. Photographer Joann Kraft
Be observant, or you will walk right by it

Find JoAnn on Instagram at kraftyjoann

Dragonfly at Lippincott Bird Sanctuary. Photographer Joann Kraft
Dragonfly at Lippincott Bird Sanctuary
Fall leaves, reflected on the lake. Photographer Joann Kraft
A day outside is never wasted

 

All photos courtesy and copyright JoAnn Kraft