Getting distracted: Sue Boettcher’s love of nature shows in photography exhibit

Photo of trail

On her hikes through the Kettleson Hogsback Complex north of Spirit Lake, photographer Sue Boettcher often gets distracted.

“I go to Kettleson Hogsback a lot on hikes, and it’s a whole lot more about picture-taking than it is hiking,” the Spirit Lake resident said. “MapMyWalk talks to you, and I’ve had it say, ‘One mile, not moving.’”

She gets sucked in by the beautiful sunsets, reflections in the shallow lakes and the gorgeous trails. You can see photos from Kettleson Hogsback as well as from Boettcher’s acreage in her photography exhibit on display April-June in the eARTh exhibit area at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

This is Boettcher’s first public exhibition since she started taking photos in 2010, although people have encouraged her to sell her photography when they have seen her pictures on her Facebook page or showing at the Clay County Fair in Spencer.

An exhibit opening will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the nature center. Appetizers and wine will be served, and Boettcher will give her artist talk at 6 p.m. during which she will discuss her love for Kettleson Hogsback, where she grew up riding horses.

“It’s been fun now exploring deer trails and getting off the beaten paths,” she said.

Photo of a lake reflection

Even for people familiar with the park, Boettcher’s photography might give you a different viewpoint, as she loves to take photos of reflections in the shallow lakes. She said she is often looking down instead of up at the sky.

“I’m taking pictures of the reflection most likely,” she said, adding that she loves reflections because sometimes it’s difficult to tell if it’s a reflection or the actual sky.

Boettcher’s photography has changed throughout the years as she has moved from a point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR to now most of her photos being taken on her Samsung Galaxy S8. She loves to take sequences of photos to capture the best possible shot, because she does minimal digital manipulation, only increasing brightness if necessary.

“That’s why I’m taking multiple pictures, changing colors and settings,” Boettcher said.

The point of her photography is to show people the natural beauty all around them, and that’s what she hopes viewers will see in her exhibit.

“I love being out in nature, looking for details, the beauty, the little details in nature,” she said.

The photos in her nature center exhibit will be for sale, and customers can contact her to get prints in the sizes they desire.

Photo of a painted lady butterfly on a flower

Exhibits in the eARTh exhibit area at the Dickinson County Nature Center change quarterly. Hannah Habarecht’s fish paintings will be on display July-September, and Danielle Clouse Gast’s paintings will be on display October-December.

For more information about the exhibit area or other Dickinson County Nature Center exhibits and programs, visit or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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