The walls of Jorn Olsen's gallery are filled with landscapes and wildlife from across the country. Last week, we went out with the Hastings photographer as he took shots of the sandhill cranes along the Platte River. This week, NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg spends another "Day in the Heartland" with Jorn, focusing on how he turns his images into works of art.
Jorn Olsen developed his love for the outdoors long before he ever took his first photographs.
"I was always interested in nature," said Olsen.
He has hunted and fished most of his life. In 1996, he bought his first digital camera and began focusing on nature in a different way – through his lens.
"I was always dissatisfied with what came out of the camera. It was o.k. if you just wanted to record the event, but it was not anything special to look at," said Olsen.
In 2004, though, Jorn would get that "special" shot. It was a unique cloud formation left behind after a summer storm. The photo traveled across the Internet and a subsequent story on a Denver television station sent so many people to his website that his server crashed. It was then he realized the power of a single picture and he was hooked.
"I decided if I am going to get into this I need to get serious and study photography more and figure out more of the technical aspects of shooting and study a little about art and composition," said Olsen.
And that is just what he did. And the results can be seen on the walls of his gallery. Jorn focuses his camera mostly on landscapes and wildlife. From a panoramic view of a river to the annual migration of the sandhill cranes, Jorn freezes moments in time and puts a frame around nature, all with the hopes of capturing the perfect shot.
"I want the images to be special for people. I want them to be images that people can connect to emotionally, not just say, well, that is a great technical photo, great color and all of that," said Olsen.
Getting a great photo takes a lot more than just pointing and shooting. Sometimes it takes hours, even days, to get that perfect shot.
"I spent about three or four hours down there crouched and that is one of the photos I have got. He is doing his mating dance, mating ritual," said Olsen.
Jorn spends hundreds of hours taking thousands of photos. Only a select few, though, make it into a frame and onto his wall.
"You just bring up one and it just grabs you because the light was great, the pose was great where it puts the wildlife, you know, it just seems like everything fits, and that is kind of a, wow, I think this one will be good," said Olsen.
Jorn has plenty of those "wow" photographs hanging in his gallery. There is one shot, though, that is missing. One he still wants to get.
"My dream photo right now of wildlife is a picture of a pheasant rising in front of a pointing dog with a hunter, where I get everything in good focus," Olsen said.
If he gets it, that photo will become Jorn Olsen's latest work of art, another example of how he captures nature through the lens of his camera.
Jorn Olsen's gallery is located in Hastings. If you would like to see some of his photographic work, you can also check out his website at http://www.jornolsen.com
Original airdate: April 6, 2010