Life Outside BIT: Keith Hemmelman

Capitol Lighting
Keith Hemmelman
You may recall a past article this month featuring Keith Hemmelman, a BIT employee, who won SDPB’s “Landscapes of South Dakota” photography contest. Today the BIT Blog gives you the background story on Keith and how he became a skilled and accomplished photographer.

Keith first became interested in photography as a teenager, an interest that came from his mother who was always taking photos of his family. Keith remembers getting a booklet many years ago published by Kodak that went over the basics of photography and had a variety of examples showing the results of various techniques. The final product that a camera is able to capture was amazing to him.

The book led him into photography. Keith has no formal training or experience with photography, most of what he knows has been self-taught. His participation in photography has varied greatly at different levels for many years, never really taking it seriously until the introduction to digital cameras approximately 10 years ago. The fact that he worked in the computer field helped speed up his transition to digital photography. Keith bought his first digital camera, and never looked back to film. Photography has become his hobby and he hopes to always keep it as a hobby and source of enjoyment.

Keith currently shoots with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera and his most used lens is a 24mm-70mm f/2.8 lens. He does have other lenses that he uses quite often depending on whether he is shooting landscapes, wildlife, events, or portraits of the family. Keith is an active member of the Central South Dakota Photography Club and also actively participates in the South Dakota Photography Facebook group. His main goal is to capture landscapes or moments in time and present it such that it catches the viewer’s attention.

Collage of Four Images:
Traveling Vietnam Wall, American Flag, Fireworks, Vietnam Memorial Statue
Keith Hemmelman

Keith has advice to other interested in photography:

1. Start small! That doesn’t necessarily mean to buy the cheapest or smallest camera, but rather curtail your desire to go out and over purchase camera equipment. You can learn the basics of photography with almost any camera.

2. Consider joining a local photography club if there is one available. If not, look to the internet, such as Facebook, to find a photography group to join.

3. For someone who is completely new to photography and doesn’t know where to start, Keith highly recommends a book by Bryan Peterson titled “Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition”. It will help explain the basics of photography, including the most important item being the “photographic triangle”.

4. Just get out and shoot. Look at your results, ask questions, and learn from it!

You can visit his personal photo website to view many of his photos. The web address is: .

Photography is what you want it to be regardless of the quality or content of your images or what someone else might think. So if you’re happy, then you are doing something right!


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