When I was called into the office recently to speak with the boss, I had flashbacks of being sent to the principal’s office at Alcott Elementary School in Hastings, Neb., in the early 1970s. I was a bit of a wild child.
This office visit ended up with an assignment to be The World-Herald’s new outdoors writer. My trips to the principal’s office had never ended this well.
I currently get to spend my time outdoors with my camera covering the issues I love, like fishing; hunting for upland game, waterfowl and deer; foraging the woods for wild edibles like morel mushrooms; bird-watching; hiking and biking.
While adding my new position to my resume, I will also stay in my current position as a staff photojournalist. Below I have shared some of my favorite recent outdoor photographs to give a hint of things to come.
Growing up in Nebraska in the ’70s was a wonderful experience. My parents taught me to respect and enjoy nature with many fishing trips to area parks and summer vacations to natural wonders across the region. When I wasn’t in the principal’s office, I was outdoors.
I feel comfortable in the woods and calm on the water. There are no photos of me with bigger smiles than when I’m holding a fish or with a big deer. As I sit in a tree stand hunting, I feel like a kid in a tree house. A trip to the woods always rejuvenates my spirit, giving me the dose of fresh air and adventure I need to get me through assignments photographing politicians or in the office.
Mark Davis during a recent whitetail hunt in Mills County, Iowa.
I’m not the kind of guy that will bring brats and beans to camp. I’d rather make morel- and bacon-stuffed venison back straps, fried fish or dutch oven pot roast. I hunt and fish for food and would rather photograph animals if I have no intention to eat them. I also practice catch and release with some of the larger fish I catch.
A bighorn sheep works its way across Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
My favorite stories are following my heroes, those that dedicate their lives to saving wild places and fighting for access that gives others a chance to fall in love with nature. I love to see people enjoying nature, and I am always inspired by seeing the look on people’s faces as they beam with excitement after seeing an animal in its natural habitat or after bombing down a hill on a mountain bike.
Combining my jobs as a photographer and outdoor writing will be a challenge. One day I might be covering Husker volleyball or a high school football game, and the next I might be packing for a mule deer hunt.
I hope to write not only about hook and bullet issues, but also about conservation efforts and those who choose to spend their time outdoors on foot, on bikes, on skis and just enjoying watching the natural world unfold before their eyes.