Patience, perseverance and persistence are the keys to getting the perfect shot.
Eagles, herons and cormorants sharing the same tree in an unconventional rookery. A painted turtle squaring up against a green heron to stake its claim for a log. A warbler balancing on a lilypad. These are just a few of the fleeting moments captured by Scott Mohn’s Instagram account.
A quick scroll through the colorful feed shows that the Plymouth photographer has the eye—and patience—for the perfect shot. The images embody life in Minnesota and each of the four seasons that come with it.
“It’s something I really enjoy,” Mohn says of photography, adding that most of the images he captures are close to his home in Plymouth. “We’re fortunate to have so much wildlife in this area … It makes for some great shots.”
Completely self-taught, Mohn has won several local awards for his work, including the 2018 Picture Plymouth Best in Show award.
“There are endless opportunities with digital photography,” he says. “All you need is room on your card and batteries in your camera, and you can just go.”
And go he does.
Mohn says there are very few days he won’t venture out into nature looking for his next subject. In fact, there are times he’ll get so lost in his surroundings that he walks 5 miles before having to turn around and walk 5 more miles back.
“Photography requires a lot of walking or sitting,” he says. “Sometimes, you just need to choose a spot and let the image come to you … It’s a good peace of mind.”
Tips From Scott
If you’re looking to spruce up your Instagram page, or just wanting to improve your skills behind the camera, Scott Mohn offers the following advice.
- Go outside and find a quiet place you like. Be mindful of outside noise and other factors that can screw up the perfect shot. Patience plays a key role here.
- Learn your camera and take it off the auto settings. Mohn says cameras are smart and will take good photos for you, but better results can be achieved once you learn the settings and how to change the dials.
- Only try one new setting at a time. See what works for you.
Photography has been a lifelong interest of Mohn’s, but it wasn’t 2017 that he began taking the hobby more seriously. Inspired by a group of swans near his home, Mohn was hooked.
“I got some really good shots,” he said of the first time photographing the swans.
Now, he watches that same flock year after year.
“They come back every Memorial Day weekend to lay their eggs,” he says. “It’s a cultural event for the area.”
Mohn says he enjoys taking photos of birds, referring to them as the most plentiful subject. Still, they can also be challenging.
“Sometimes my subjects aren’t very cooperative,” he says. “But there’s always some kind of bird somewhere.”
Mohn says he makes it an annual goal to learn something new about his Sony camera every year. While he’s taken a few beginner courses in photography, those sessions have solidified what he already knew or inspired him to try new things. “Taking those classes gave me confidence I was going in the right direction,” he says.
Using others’ work as inspiration, Mohn encourages up-and-coming photographers to do the same. “I’ve learned a lot by talking to other photographers and looking at their work,” he says.
Mohn says patience, perseverance and persistence are key to getting the best shot. “Do it for yourself,” he says. “Go out and take photos. Don’t worry if they’re good or not. Do what makes you happy, and go from there.”
Learn more about Scott Mohn’s journey as a photographer in this segment on Minnesota Live.