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2020 Community Connections - KROX Radio's Chris Fee: Seeing their photos at graduation receptions has been 'pretty cool' year after year

Jess Bengtson
jbengtson@crookstontimes.com
Tanner Janorschke - Pirates Tennis

How long have you been a photographer?

    I have been taking pictures since I was little, but I became a "professional" photographer in 2000 when we started the website.

What type of camera do you typically use? (i.e. Canon, Nikon, etc.)

    I have used two brands of cameras over the past 20 years.  A Sony for a couple of years, but a Canon for the last 17 or 18 years.

Being as a lot of the photos taken by the local media are sports-related, what is your favorite sport to take photos of? Why?

    I love taking pictures of all the sports we carry (if it isn't raining!).  Getting a great picture of one of the local athletes and you see it at their graduation reception has been a pretty cool year after year.  Tennis is the easiest sport to get really good pictures.  Swimming and wrestling duals (with a spotlight) are the hardest sports to get good pictures.

Do you like to take pictures outside of work? If so, what are some of your favorite things to take photos of? (i.e. nature, animals, people, etc.)

    I am actually not a big picture taker unless I am on vacation.  I love to get pictures of my family at the different places we go.  I love taking pictures/video at the ocean or while snorkeling.

Did you get into photography because of your job or have you always loved it? Explain.

    I am definitely into photography because of the job.  I am glad we do it because I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a handful of good pictures from each event.  Some games are a lot harder than others and you watch the game completely different than you would if you were in the stands.

Have you ever had to teach a newly-hired employee how to take photos and/or how to use a camera? If so, what is the most difficult thing about photography to teach?

    We go through a brief introduction of taking pictures with new employees.  The hardest thing to relay to people is the fact that every place you shoot is going to have a different setting.  Once the new employee understands ISO/shutter speed they are good to go.  It isn't tough, but it takes some practice for beginners. If everybody used LED lighting in their gymnasiums and arenas the photography world would be a much better place.

What location is on your "bucket list" to take photos? (i.e. Hawaii, Caribbean, mountains, etc.)

    I have been fortunate to be able to check many items off my bucket list.  I have taken pictures in Hawaii, the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, New York City, Hollywood, the Grand Canyon, at Final Fours, the 2015 NHL Draft when Paul Bittner was drafted and many others.  I love to take pictures and video while snorkeling and diving.  The coolest thing I have shot video of was while swimming alongside a sea turtle at a Nature Reserve in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  The only thing that I haven't done that I would really like to do, is taking pictures and video while scuba diving.

If you had $10,000 to spend on photography equipment, what would you buy first?

    This might be the toughest question.  I would either get a  Cannon 1D X Mark III or a Sony Alpha A9 II, along with a new lense or two.

Have your photos ever been published regionally or nationally? If so, where and when?

    I have had probably over 100 pictures published in other media across the state/region and even the nation.  The most famous "infamous" picture I have taken was the UMC Logo in the wrong spot on the football field before the victory over Southwest Minnesota State in 2013.  I posted the picture on my Facebook page and within a week it was published in newspapers across the country (including USA Today), on radio and TV station websites across the country and many other media/websites all over the nation.  I took a picture of  Governor Tim Pawlenty when he visited the Villa St. Vincent and it was shared by the Associated Press to newspapers across the region. I have also had the Star Tribune use the Mentor tornado and Crookston landslide pictures.  The Grand Forks Herald/Forum Communications and many other media has used many of my pictures.