About Lee Rentz

Lee Rentz Portrait


Photography has been my passion since 1970, when I had a charismatic college professor who shared his own love of photography with all of us who thought the world of him. At the time, I was an undergraduate majoring in natural resources at the University of Michigan. At the same time, the work of Ansel Adams was in the public consciousness through his association with the Sierra Club and their wonderful books and posters. I bought my first good SLR camera in 1970, and immediately started taking nature photographs everywhere I went. On trips to the California mountains, where I fought forest fires during three college summers, I took photographs that had good composition, even though I was technically a rank beginner.

In 1974, I went to Utah to pursue a master's degree in natural resources, and renewed my interest in photography while exploring the mountains and desert canyons of that beautiful state. While there, I also worked on a variety of art projects personally and professionally, and gradually improved my skills in design. My first published work came in 1977, when I won an award in a Natural History magazine contest with a photograph of my wife, clothed in red, next to a fence in a grassland with a stormy sky overhead. That was my first really good photograph, and the recognition spurred me to work even harder at my photography.

In 1978, I worked for the National Park Service in Denver for a year, exploring trails in the Rocky Mountains. Later that year, I moved to the Syracuse, New York, area to become an exhibits artist at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Photography was part of the job, and I spent a lot of time photographing the quiet beauty of the details of a forest and bog. I learned to photograph everyday subjects in lovely light, and liked the results better than I liked photographing the Colorado mountains. Later, I became director of that nature center, and found my photography falling more and more by the wayside as I dealt with administration and management details.

At that point I decided to become a full-time photographer, and I have been working as a freelancer since 1990. Some of my work is published in books, magazines, and calendars, including National Geographic, Audubon, US News & World Report, National Wildlife, and scores of other publications. I also create photographic prints and sell them on the internet and at art shows. Finally, I do some photo assignments for organizations that need my photographic services.

These days I have a quick eye for composition and the technical expertise with camera and computer that enables me to take numerous good photographs each day that I spend in the field. My work now is the best I've ever done.