Carl was born in Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. An “Air Force brat,” Carl moved around a bit in his youth, living in places in Arizona, California, Guam, Minnesota, and Nebraska. But most of his life was spent in Rapid City, South Dakota, at the gates of the Black Hills.
Education and Early Career
Carl took a rather unorthodox path to get him where he is today. His first formal training in photography was at Naval Activities Yokosuka Japan, followed by two courses at the University of Minnesota – all in a black and white film and darkroom environment. Not realizing that he wanted a career in photography, he majored in Political Science. For the two years following college, Carl worked as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. This is what inspired his interest in nature photography. But he still did not think he would have a career in photography.
Carl then earned his juris doctorate at the University of Minnesota Law School. Before and after law school, he started his first paid work in portraits and sports action photography. Then moved to Alaska in 1999, working for two years as a law clerk for the Alaska Court System and then practicing law for nine years, in business, property, environmental and Indian law. After leaving the practice of law, he worked as a subsistence analyst for the Department of the Interior for over seven years.
But, since 2004, Carl had run a photography business in addition to his “day job.” He first provided services for weddings, portraits, sports action and commercial photography, even working as the team photographer for Anchorage’s short-lived arena football team, the Alaska Wild. He maintained a gallery at the Fourth Avenue Marketplace for four years, which is where he met his wife, Michelle.
In 2008, he transited to focus solely on nature photography, selling prints at local shows and markets. He started providing tours and workshops in 2015. In 2018, he opened the Arctic Light Gallery at his home on the Anchorage hillside. Then, in 2019, he left his day job entirely. He and Michelle took over ownership and operations of Alaska Photo Treks, Anchorage’s premiere dedicated photo tour company.
Carl has earned numerous awards and other recognition for his photography and his first book, Where Water is Gold. You can see a full history on his Artist Resume.