Brad Nordlof enjoys venturing through forest preserves during the summer, when everything is abloom. Here, he captures the sweeping prairies at Byron Forest Preserve, in Byron, Ill., on a warm summer morning. (Brad Nordlof photo)

It’s a Wild World! (A Photo Journey)

The wilderness that surrounds our urban landscapes is a source of inspiration and peacefulness for many photographers. Their work reveals a glimpse of what we can experience while exploring this magnificent planet.

Brad Nordlof: Blooming Colors

Professional photographer Brad Nordlof has traveled the world in search of beautiful landscapes. His high-definition portraits capture a wide array of natural beauty, from aurora borealis and Colorado mountains to glowing cities and searing Arizona deserts.

Brad Nordlof enjoys venturing through forest preserves during the summer, when everything is abloom. Here, he captures the sweeping prairies at Byron Forest Preserve, in Byron, Ill., on a warm summer morning. (Brad Nordlof photo)
Nordlof captured this blooming redbud tree in Rockford during the early May bloom. He fittingly titled it “Color of the Day.”

Nordlof: The Fashion of Water

Water is a sustainer of life, and it’s a powerful attraction for both flora and fauna. It also has a way of drawing people, as it tantalizes our senses with the sounds of gentle trickles and rushing rapids, the sights of vivid sunsets, and the feeling of cool breezes and mists on our cheeks. Indeed, water plays an important, if sometimes understated, role in many of the world’s most beautiful, serene natural escapes.

The iconic Babcock Mill in south-central West Virginia sits among 4,000 rugged, rolling acres of state park.
“I looked forward to visiting here for some time, and to see it and spend time capturing images made it even more worthwhile,” says Nordlof. (Brad Nordlof photo)
The falls at New River Gorge, in West Virginia, located near Babcock Mill, provide a backdrop for a group of fishermen. “I came across this group of older men fishing while chasing waterfall photos in the New River Gorge,” says Nordlof. “I think the photo speaks for itself.” (Brad Nordlof photo)

About Brad Nordlof
Photographer Brad Nordlof captures many large-scale, panoramic scenes of the natural world. Using a high-powered, medium format DSLR camera, Nordlof carefully pursues his subjects. Guided by more than 40 years of experience, he composes his photos in vivid colors and textures.

Landscape and fine art photography have long been a passion for Nordlof, whose studio, Northern Leaf Imaging, is based in Rockford. There, he prints and frames his artwork for display in professional and residential settings. Visit to learn more about his work or to contact him.

David Olson: Call of the Wild

Professional photographer David C. Olson produces wildlife images as he explores wild, sometimes remote places, at times risking his life in pursuit of his subjects.

David Olson followed this wolf pack in northern Minnesota for more than a week, documenting how wolves raise pups. The alpha male was close to a young pup as it was attempting its first howls.
“It was breathtaking,” Olson says. “It was like a parent watching their child speak for the first time. What a truly wonderful moment captured. I have seen lots of wolf pictures, but none that evoke this type of emotion.”
Just after the pup howled, the adult came over and rubbed heads with the pup as if saying “Great job.”
(David Olson photo)
Olson often sets up before first light in order to capture his wild subjects, like this bull elk bugling at sunrise inside Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming.
“Photography is all about using light and knowing how to use it on your subject,” Olson says. “Getting consistently great images time and again in the wild is not luck. Patience, perseverance, knowledge of your subject and great camera skills are crucial.”

Olson: The Secret of Trees

Our forests are an essential part of our landscape. They provide not only beauty and respite, but also cleaning for our polluted air and habitat and food for mammals, reptiles and birds of all kinds.

“Rest is something our children, and all of us, need in order to be happy in our souls,” says Olson. “We have lost our connection to the natural world with an overdose of electronics, I think.”

The morning light peaks through the canopy of a forest in Winnebago County, Ill.
“We are so fortunate to have our protected preserves and rivers in this region,” says Olson, who lives in Rockford. “Our forests and rivers are under constant threat from urban sprawl, pollution, poaching and more. It will take all of us to help protect and keep these natural, wild spaces for our generations to come. If we save wild places and their inhabitants, we ultimately save ourselves in the process.” (David Olson photo)
During a family vacation this past fall, Olson paused along this country road within Great Smoky Mountains National Park in southeastern Tennessee, right near the North Carolina border. The road crosses through Cades Cove, a history-rich Appalachian valley where Cherokee Indians once hunted and where some of the area’s first homesteaders settled. (David Olson photo)

About David C. Olson
Photographer David C. Olson learned an appreciation for nature and photography as a young boy, guided by books and photographs about wilderness as well as parents who taught him to respect, love and preserve nature.

Today, Olson travels the world to capture the flora and fauna of our scenic landscapes. His works have been featured in many publications, including National Geographic Magazine and its 2017-18 Christmas cards.

Based in a full studio at 5643 E. State St., in Rockford, Olson and his wife, Adrienne, together capture a wide variety of subjects, from families and high school seniors to weddings and wild wolves.

The couple are planning several photography workshops during 2018. To learn more about the Olsons’ work, visit