Nearly two decades ago I had purchased my first AF film SLR, Nikon’s N8008s. This was the first “serious'” camera system that I owned . It led me into a number of things. It certainly led me into the Nikon family of cameras and lenses.
That led me into a venture in getting images published. I pursued opportunities to submit my images to a number of publishers on my own, in particularly, with Wisconsin Trails,http://wisconsintrails.com, then part of the Trails Media Group. They had me for a while on their mailing list. They would send me a hard copy lists of their needs for each quarter. Some of those “needs” turned out to be like assignments, and some were in things right out of my own part of the state that I really wanted to promote.
In 1998, I joined the local Friends of the Mountain-Bay State Trail, a local citizens group that exists to promote and enhance the use of the Mountain-Bay State Trail, an 82 mile long rail-trail running from the Village of Weston, WI just outside of Wausau to the Village of Howard, WI just outside of Green Bay. Wisconsin Trails had planned to publish an article on rail-trails in Northeastern Wisconsin. That meant both the Mountain-Bay and the WioWosh State Trails. I had a photo of one of my bicycles parked on a bridge from the WioWosh just south of Eland, WI. The editors matched that with one from the eastern end of the Mountain- Bay State Trail by Darryl Beers, one of Wisconsin’s better known outdoor and landscape photographers.
My sister, Julie Walraven, was then operations manager for the Wausau Canoe & Kayak Corporation http://wausauwhitewater.org/. Julie had talked me into coming down to the course on the Wisconsin near Downtown Wausau on the east channel of the Wisconsin River without realizing that this was action sports photography which caused me to use my camera’s motor drive. That meant the expense of purchasing film and getting it processed en-mass. With film technology, this meant 35mm slides which had richer color than negative films and allowed for more selectivity in post-processing editing. Both of those factors were important to publishers. Julie was very good at feeding me connections with photo editors, and one of those editors was Kristen McClarty, then working for National Geographic’s Adventure Magazine. It was a big thrill for me to come home from my day job and find out that either Kristen or one of her partners at NGA had called for images. I scrambled to go through my files and package these things as quickly as possible to ship them out via Fed-Ex. I’d get a copy and a check for my work.
Kristen was the main factor in getting me to buy my first computer and establish an e-mail account. She simply was tired of playing phone tag and did not like to call me on my cell phone because she never knew where I was or what I was doing when I got the call.
It has been a while since I have been published in magazines and I miss that rush. But magazine publishers also change. National Geographic had closed down on publishing National Geographic Adventure about 3-4 years ago, and, Kristen McClarty had also moved on first as a free lance agent, and now with the Bonnier Corporation as an editor for an entirely different kind of magazine, Wisconsin Trails had also changed hands, and corporate headquarters. Originally owned by Howard Mead, it was sold to former Congressman Scott Klug who had the headquarters moved from Madison to nearby Black Earth, a small town just west of Madison. A few years later, Wisconsin Trails was purchased by Journal Communications http://www.journalcommunications.com/ and the magazine’s headquarters was also moved to Milwaukee. Wisconsin Tails is currently staffed by Journal-Sentinel personnel.