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Wisconsin Editorial Photographer and Wisconsin Commercial Photographer Mike Roemer’s blog.

Hi, I'm Mike Roemer, a commercial, corporate, industrial, agriculture and editorial photographer based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

 

I've lived the photography business since childhood, first tagging along during my father's long newspaper photography career before ever carrying my own camera gear. My interest grew as I watched the fascinating process of my dad making black and white images appear while shaking trays of chemicals under the red lights of a developing room.

 

My professional career started with a ten-year stint as a newspaper photographer meeting tight deadlines, adapting to curve balls and making the famous and not-so-famous comfortable in front of my lens.

 

I returned to Green Bay in the mid-1990s to start my own business, and now regularly travel around the U.S. and internationally for my clients. I enjoy the creative challenge of combining unusual angles, lighting and lens options to produce the perfect commercial image.

 

I've won first place awards in Pictures of the Year International, National Press Photographers Best of Photojournalism and National Headliners, along with being a three-time winner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame photo contest.

 

I love the variety of projects I get to work on, from healthcare organization and foundation annual reports, high-energy casino and gaming shoots, industrial projects at locations as diverse as cheese manufacturers and steel plants, to corporate culture assignments and documenting the Green Bay Packers.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Mike

Wisconsin Sports Photographer • The Greatest Tradition In All Of Sports

I may be biased since I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and I cover the Green Bay Packers as a Wisconsin sports photographer, but one of the greatest traditions in the NFL and maybe in all of sports is players riding kids bikes to practice. Here are some of my favorite photos from covering the tradition on the first day of trying camp for the 2019 season. One news report said the first kids lined up their bikes before sunrise today for the mid-morning practice.

When players come out of locker rooms at Lambeau Field to head to practice they are greeted by a swarm of kids and their bikes anxiously waiting for a player to pick them and their bike to accompany them down through a line of fans the few hundred yards to the practice field. Some players will pick out a player early on in camp and go with that kid every day. Some players will pick a new kid each practice. Not all players take this route to practice like some of the star players like quarterback Aaron Rodgers since he would be swarmed by fans and never make it to practice, but before he became the star he is today he was out there enjoying this great tradition like all the lesser-known players are today.

The event has become more corporate and more organized over the years, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the huge smiles on not just the kids’ faces, but also the players’ faces.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

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    Wisconsin Manufacturing Photographer • Real People In Real Situations

    I’ve said it before, but I like to brand myself as a “real people in real situations” photographer. A photo shoot I recently did in Illinois for a small manufacturer of fasteners was just this type of job. The plant wasn’t sexy or high tech, but it was real people taking pride in what they do and what they make and my job was to document that. The client wanted a clean simple look with minimal lighting. Luckily I was able to scout the plant before the shoot and was able to pick up on a couple of challenges that we would run in to on shoot day, but with the help of the facility and my assistant we came up with a game plan for shoot day that allowed the shoot to go smoothly.

    It’s not always easy to drop in on a person at work and make them comfortable with you taking their photo. That can be even tougher when it’s a hard working person in a manufacturing situation, but I think over the years of shooting jobs like this I’ve become pretty good at winning people over with just a couple words and a friendly smile.

    Here are some of my favorite photos from the shoot.

    Thanks for looking!

    Mike

    Midwest Travel Photographer • Visiting Cuba On A “In Support Of The Cuban People” Visa

    For this blog post, I’ve asked my wife Judy to be a guest blogger. Judy and I took a trip to Cuba to celebrate Judy’s 50th birthday, so I thought it would be great to get her thoughts and insight on our trip and Cuba. Judy usually lets me sway her into indulging my travel desire to include schnitzels, pilsners and visiting my family in Germany, but this being her 50th birthday trip, our destination was up to her. Judy is fluent in Spanish and has a strong desire to learn about other cultures. With only a long weekend available for our trip, Cuba rose to the top of the list. Being a photographer, taking pictures is always important to me and Judy is nice enough to allow me to bring along some gear and spend some time behind the camera. But she has also taught me to put the camera down and live in the moment. It also helps that Judy is visually friendly and is nice enough to pose or walk through a photo when I ask her (that’s Judy in the top photo)

    Thanks for looking and thanks Judy for being my first guest blogger!

    Mike

    _________________________________________________________________________

    For my 50th birthday, Mike took me to Cuba, which has been on my bucket list for years. Maybe he wanted to make his wife happy, but the colorfully preserved 1950’s cars, and tropical old-world images definitely tilted the scales.  

    In order to travel to Cuba, American citizens must visit with a designated purpose; travel purely for the reason of tourism does not qualify.  We travelled under the category of ‘in support of the Cuban people’, which means the majority of our time should be spent in activities directly benefiting the Cuban people.  Cubans who have extra space, or can offer a unique experience to visitors advertise their services through platforms such as Air B&B, and we either connected with them directly or with family members living in the US who helped serve as intermediary.  

    From the moment of our arrival, it was clear we weren’t in Green Bay anymore.  From the absence of billboards pushing goods or services, the spotty internet service, and buildings sporting propaganda laden verses from its adopted son, Che Guevara, Cuba was unapologetic in its stark relief from its neighbors 90 miles to the north.

    The first home we stayed in was located in the heart of Old Havana; this is the oldest part of the city exemplified by ornate but crumbling buildings mixed with beautifully restored structures.   We stayed in Havana for the first half of our trip, and enjoyed the sounds of salsa and abundant rum cocktails.  The family with whom we stayed was friendly and accommodating, and while our room lacked the comforts of American standards – imagine a 6’2 man in a 6’3 room – Doña Elena made up for this with her warmth and concern for her guests. This was definitely true of all of our hosts: they welcomed us into their homes, made delicious breakfasts and were generous with assistance.

    The second half of our trip was spent in Trinidad, which is a UNESCO Heritage site.  This beautifully preserved colonial city offered stunning views from bell towers, colorful buildings and all night dancing, which sadly was past our bedtime. It is also home to a national park which boasts a 200 foot waterfall and cave swimming.  One of our most memorable experiences was a tour of this park with a young man who was a doctor, but could support his family better by giving daily tours of the park to nature lovers from all over the world.

    Cuba was an adventure, and while it wasn’t without challenges  (i.e. lack of seatbelts, difficulties finding household items, two currencies to keep track of, did I mention spotty Internet?), it definitely was worth the effort to go.  I’m grateful to Mike for being willing to experience life outside of his comfort zone. I think we were rewarded with some phenomenal photos.

    As Mike would say “Thanks for looking” and I promise our next adventure will include bier and schnitzel.

    Judy

    Midwest Commercial Photographer Mike Roemer’s Best of 2018

    Wisconsin Agriculture Photographer • Wisconsin Industrial Photographer • Wisconsin Editorial Photographer • Wisconsin Lifestyle Photographer

    Since I started this blog back in November of 2009, I’ve put together a best of blog from that year’s work.  I always start out with more images than I should probably post and painfully work hard to narrow down that number.  For me it’s tough to keep my emotion out of my decisions as to which shots are the best.  My favorites aren’t always the ones that get the most likes on social media, but the ones that mean the most to me personally or the ones that I think help take my business and my vision as photographer in the direction I want to go.  

    This past year I’ve tried to push more into the area of agriculture photography so I assigned myself a couple of personal projects, with the main one of documenting daily life at a family dairy farm.  A number of those images made it into this best of blog and that makes me very happy.  I also tried to shoot more for my stock photography submissions as I push more into that realm.  A number of those photos not only are included in this best of blog, but also rose to the top.

    Shooting personal work, self assignments and stock work are important to me and to most photographers since it helps keep the portfolio fresh and maintains a consistent vision; shooting images one likes also makes for a happy photographer   It can be tough to make time to shoot this personal work if you’re busy with commissioned work – I’ve been guilty of this in the past.  However, after seeing the images and experiencing the joy that work brought to me and others in 2018, I know I need to make time for it going forward and I’m excited about that.  

    I’ve been working on it already, but one of my main goals early in 2019 will be to come up with a list of personal projects to work on for the year.  I’m always up for suggestions; if looking over this body of work inspires any ideas from  viewers – from interesting agriculture situations to unique portrait ideas – please let me know.

    Thanks for looking!

    Mike

    Ryan Schlies bottle feeds calves as part of his morning chores,

    A brave Addie Beauchamp jumps in to the water while tubing with family on the Fox River.

    Portrait of New Holstein, Wisconsin firefighter Scott Schmitt.

    A mom and her daughters take advantage of a fresh snow fall for an afternoon of sledding at Pinecrest Historical Village near Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

    Green Bay Packers defensive back Bashaud Breeland celebrates his interception for a touchdown with a Lambeau Leap.

    Izzy Kellner plays with puppies in St Anne, Wisconsin.

    With late day storm clouds rolling over farm land near Denmark, Wisconsin a trucks headlights light up the road.

    Jeremy Schlies gets a loving nudge from one of his cows as he washes another in preparation for the county fair.

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison prays before a game.

    One of my favorite photos from a personal project focused around Brad Allen and how he is trying to hand down a family tradition of maple syrup making to his sons. That’s Brad’s mom and brother taking a ride around the sugar bush near Suamico, Wisconsin.

    Rolling hills of corn near Denmark, Wisconsin.

    Executive portrait for Bay Tek Games.

    Caleb Griswold, the “Mayor of Muttland Meadows”, a private dog park in Grafton, Wisconsin.

    Tyler Selner fills a bowl with fresh milk for a group of barn cats after milking.

    Inspection of concrete pipes at County Materials in Marathon, Wisconsin.

    Casey Tisler and Jeremy Schlies do a deep clean of a tractor in preparation for Take Your Tractor To School Day at Denmark High School.

    Dust kicked up by a combine in late day light as corn is harvested.

    Tractors caravan down main street in Denmark, Wisconsin as they head to the school on “Take Your Tractor To School Day”.

    Corporate culture photos for Immel Construction in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

    Slot machine action at Ocean Down in Ocean City, Maryland.

    Chaz and Megan Self at their farm near East Troy, Wisconsin.

    A happy cow tosses feed in the air.

    A car breaks tough a bank of low lying early morning fog near St Anna, Wisconsin.

    Jeff Wunrow works on an afternoon feeding at his farm near Potter, Wisconsin.

    Sunrise at Horicon Marsh near Horicon, Wisconsin.

     

    Wisconsin Agriculture Photographer • Daily Life In Pictures At Old Settler’s Dairy

    One of my favorite photography personal projects this year was an agriculture photography project recording daily life at Old Settler’s Dairy near Denmark, Wisconsin.  The farm is run by David and Donald Schlies and the brothers were nice enough to allow me access to hang out and record their daily life.  I tried to get out to the farm as often as I could, but with other shoots on my schedule and just daily life, I was only able to visit them twice a month or so. Still, my time there was filled with unforgettable and beautiful images; with my ten year stint as a newspaper photographer in South Dakota, I’d shot plenty of agriculture stories, but I don’t think I saw the beauty that I currently do on the farm. 

    My interest in agriculture photography has grown after meeting my wife Judy twelve years ago and hearing her entertaining and heart-warming stories about growing up on a dairy farm.  Her family gatherings are often filled with reminiscences of farm life – from chasing wayward cows to delivering calves in less than ideas conditions.  Sadness and loss are also part of the farm story, whether it be the loss of a beloved pet to wild animals or the loss of a crop due to a drought.  This range of emotion creates a deep connection between farm families and their land and animals.  My goal was to try and record those moments with the Schlies family.  

    Growing up a city kid, I thought mowing the lawn and helping with the dinner dishes was hard work.  The Schlies kids put that theory to rest as I saw them get out of bed as the sun rose to put in a few hours of work before school.  After school included more farm work as well as homework.  Despite this, these kids impressed me with not only their strong work ethic, but the joy in which they carried out their day to day tasks.  Even the youngest Ryan had responsibilities to the farm, with the older twins, Jeffery and Jacob stepping in to help when the job became too big for an 8 year old.  Watching the boys bomb around on their 4 wheelers in between chores made me think there might be some perks to all that hard work.

    The oldest of that next generation is Jeremy who is a senior at Denmark High School. You can tell he would love to spend the rest of his life working on the farm, but Jeremy is a smart young man and he is aware of the challenges of running a family farm like Old Settler’s Dairy; small family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate with the trend toward large, corporate farms.  Jeremy has mentioned a few back up plans that which involve staying in the ag world.  With his amazing work ethic,  he will succeed at wherever he does.  

    A couple of moments that stay with me from the shoot are…

    The first morning I spent at the farm, Jeremy mentioned to me that one of the cows would soon be giving birth. I hung out near her, where I learned and photographed some amazing things about birth.  The most descriptive  picture isn’t included in this blog because it’s a little too graphic, but so depicts farm life.

    One of the other moments I will remember is watching eight year old Ryan feed calves one summer morning. Ryan wasn’t much bigger than the calves he was bottle feeding.  In the photo below, I love how Ryan is so focused on the job of bottle feeding one calf while the other curiously licks his arm.  I learned just how curious and affectionate cows can be; the photo of Jeremy washing one cow while the other gives him a loving nudge depicts this well. I also learned this first hand when I was laying along the side of a field of winter wheat trying to get some interesting details shots, and I heard what sounded like heavy breathing behind me.  I turned around and found myself looking up at the faces of my bovine investigators, who were checking out what this city kid was up to.

    Another moment I will remember was watching Jeremy and Casey Tisler, a family friend that also works on the farm, cleaning up an old tractor.  I thought it made some interesting shots, but also found it odd as to just how much of a deep clean they were giving that tractor. I mentioned that to Jeremy’s dad David, who told me they were getting the tractor ready for Take You Tractor To School day the following morning.  David also told me it wasn’t just that tractor they were getting ready, but two more so both Jeremy and Casey could drive to school. Jeremy’s mom Julie who teaches in Denmark, also planned to get in on the action with the third tractor.  I knew that would make for some great photos so I made sure I got back out that next morning.  You can find a blog post I did on that at this link.

    I had planned to just spend one planting season documenting life on this dairy farm, but after this experience I know I will want to return not only for the great photos, but also for the warmth and camaraderie the Schlies family showed me.  I’m grateful for their authenticity both in front of the lens and without it.  

    I’ll be looking for some other agriculture photography opportunities for the coming year so if anyone reading this blog has any ideas, please reach out.

    Thanks for looking!

    Mike

    Ryan Schlies bottle feeds calves as part of his morning chores.

    Jeremy Schlies gets a loving nudge from one of his cows as he washes another in preparation for the county fair.

    Casey Tisler and Jeremy Schlies do a deep clean of a tractor in preparation for Take Your Tractor To School Day at Denmark High School.

    A group of curious cows check me out as I try and get some detail shots in a neighboring field.

    Tyler Selner fills a bowl with fresh milk for a group of barn cats after milking.

    A cow licks her calf clean movements after giving birth.

    A group of expecting cows surround another as she nudges her new born calf to stand moments after giving birth.

    A happy cow tosses feed in the air.

    Rows of corn early in the growing season.

    Ryan Schlies is all smiles as he cruises around the family farm on his four wheeler.

    Tyler Selner runs in his work boots as he tries to redirect a cow as he tries to get it in to a pen.

    Jacob Schlies hugs one of the cats on the farm.

    Jacob Schlies and his twin brother Jeffrey keep an eye on the arriving competition as they prepare a cow to be shown at the county fair.

    David Schlies has the attention of a curious calf as he works on morning feeding.

    Twin brothers Jacob and Jeffrey Schlies.

    David Schlies adjusts his cap as he works on spring planting.

    The sun glistens off dew in a field of corn.

    Jeffrey Schlies works on a feeding as part of his farm chores.

    Julie Schlies arrives on a four wheeler with more food for the days crew during lunch.

    Casey Tisler and David Schlies exchange thumbs up as they pass during a harvest.

    Amazing clouds as Julie Schlies harvests a field of oats.

    The sun rises over a field of corn.

    The sun pokes through a field of corn.

    Donald Schlies harvests a field of corn.

    Donald Schlies heads back with a load of corn as he tries to get ahead of an incoming storm.

    More curious cows checking me out.

    Clouds from a late day storm.

    Dust kicked up by a combine in late day light as corn is harvested.

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