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Student-athlete makes time for photography

Stormie Sickler1 / 2
Photo by Stormie Sickler This photo is titled “The Big Dance” because during March Madness, the final game is called The Big Dance as well as the focus of the photo being the players shoes as if the shoes were their ballerina. 2 / 2

Dickinson State University junior Stormie Sickler looks for the raw emotion of athletes when she takes photos at DSU games. As part of her scholarship agreement, Sickler shoots the games for DSU and for the athletes on Facebook.

“Photography is like a part-time job for me, but a hobby for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Sickler juggles her work as a photographer with running cross country and track, and pursuing a degree in exercise science and ag business.

This time of year, she’s also preparing entries for the upcoming Badlands Art Association art show. She chose prints of buffalo, farm scenery and a waterfall in Minnesota.

“I typically get honorable mentions, but this year I’m after a blue ribbon — that would be awesome,” she said.

Sickler was raised on a farm northeast of Dickinson and is the daughter of Shane and Jana Sickler.

Jana thinks of Stormie with a camera in her hands ever since was a little girl.

“She’s taken her camera with her to events all the way around the world,” Jana said. “She has captured some amazing pictures. I think the big thing about Stormie is she sees beauty in the ordinary. She’s passionate about pictures that tell a story.”

Autumn is Sickler’s favorite time to take a camera and explore outdoors.

“I love the fall colors,” she said. “I like shooting on my farm, but the Experiment Station is good for close-ups. I shoot whenever I have free time,” she said. “Honestly, if I could take a week off the school, I’d travel in a heartbeat. This last summer, Mom and I took a road trip to Duluth, Minn. I photographed a lot of cool stuff, a lot of lighthouses on the coast.”

Sickler works with a Nikon 300 camera, a zoom lens and a wide-angle lens. Her next investment will be a fish-eye lens for art work.

“My friends tell me all the time that I see pictures just driving down the street,” she said.

Her portfolio includes a mix of color and black-and-white photos.

“I use black-and-white for fun — it brings out the details sometimes,” she said. “With a black-and-white photo, you see a football player with sweat and dirt on his face. It makes almost more of a story.”

People may think that sports photography is all about action when there is so much more to it, she said.

“The thing I like about sports photography isn’t about capturing the best play of the game, or the winner of the race. It’s about capturing the raw emotion that an athlete holds in their eyes at the time of triumph or the time of defeat.”

While Sickler has worked in the darkroom, she prefers digital photography.

“I can see what I did right away,” she said. “I can shoot with different angles and different lighting. Digital opens up a lot of ranges,” she said. “I have one computer that’s almost maxed out with so many pictures.”

Photography is an art that continues to offer opportunities to learn, she said.

“Sunsets are fun, but they’re tricky,” she said. “You have to get the exposure and white balance right.

Sickler has several career options after she graduates.

“I’d love to coach track and cross country, with photography on the side,” she said. “I want to keep it in my life — it’s so creative.”

Sickler has posted her photography on Facebook. See with Stormie Christine Photography.