The Short Story
Crazy Leaf Photography is the work of Benjamin and Carrie Pogatshnik, Minnesotographers who specialize in unique, natural images from the North Star State.
The Not-So-Short Story
Nature is amazing, it's more than amazing, it's crazy-amazing. A fragrant field of delicate wildflowers, the cool shade of a grove of pine, the fiery brilliance of an October maple, the prayerful play of a creek as it slides silkily through the wood. Why does the scent of spring rain awaken our deepest memory? Why does the kiss of summer sunlight delight our hearts and hands when we feel its warmth? Why does the taste of the first apples of autumn make us yearn for cozy campfires, blowing leaves, and woolen blankets? And why does the soft sound of the first snow have a magical air, as though we are the only ones who can sense its voice? Isn't the power of nature… crazy?
Crazy Leaf Photography is a small nature photography business in Chaska, Minnesota. We specialize in unique nature photos from around our beautiful state. Yes, all of them; all from Minnesota. Photographing “L’Étoile du Nord” or “the star of the north” is, and will forever be, a grand adventure. My wife and I share a love of the outdoors and the arts. For years we zealously collected images from our adventures across the state, honing our skills and learning new techniques. Eventually, we couldn’t keep all of our artwork to ourselves, and decided to share our passion with others. As they say, there is a thin line between hobby and obsession; this is the latter, in the best sense of the word. We started Crazy Leaf Photography in 2008. Our subjects usually fall into four categories: landscapes (or, Minnesota-scapes), wildlife (when it's cooperative, lazy or patient), macro (close-up photos) and what we call "impressionistic photography" (the dreamy, abstract, painting-like photos).
We handle the entire process and creation of our products ourselves. We shoot digital, but our images are not “Photoshopped”. We believe that digital “film” saves time and money, but that often times photographers cook or tweak their images to extremes. This is certainly not a crime, but we believe that you can achieve beautiful color, vibrance, and even special effects through the taming of light, lenses, filters, and good old fashioned technique. We are very picky about color (okay, I am very picky about color—my wife will say) so we print all our own images. We cut our own matboard, as we believe that choosing the exact right colors can make or break an image. We also frame many of our images and use photographic canvas stretched over stretcher bars (just like a painting) to create gallery wrapped prints that literally pop off of the wall.
My wife and I spend the summers traveling around the state sharing our photos at art fairs. We spend our nights, weekends, and vacation time hiking, canoeing, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors. The rest of our time is spent at our "real jobs". My wife and I are both teachers and love educating youngsters as much as photography. I think that’s the reason we love participating in art fairs so much, we get to meet all sorts of people who share our love of the outdoors and photography and get to teach them about our work, our techniques, and about the places we’ve seen and the things we have experienced. We get to teach mini-lessons in art appreciation, beginning photography, wildflower identification, and naturalism, among others. My favorite thing is when we have young photographers who spend hours in the tent pouring through every image soaking up inspiration. What they don’t realize is that they inspire us to keep working, to improve our craft, and to get out there and make more great photos.
If you have time, please take more than a moment to savor the beautiful, inspiring, and quirky images that we have captured for you on our website. Each one owns a special place in our hearts and inhabits a unique corner of our lives and memory. Our only hope is that as you take a stroll through our idyllic collections, that the photographs will claim a piece of your heart, or will conjure a sacred memory from your past. We love photography, but do not claim to be experts; it is simply that we found these crazy-cool pictures, and would really like to share them with you. Enjoy!