ABOUT

Present:

me-in-mirrow-Edit-EditI am a professional nature and travel photographer born with a wanderlust gene.  A gene that had driven me to embark on a search to create a perfect image from every state in the United States.  I get excited just thinking about all the places I must visit to complete this “Mountain to Sea Photo Journey”.

Along the way I write Road Trip Friday and RV Adventure blogs to document the journey, share great photography destinations as well as talk about life in an RV.   And what would a journey be without travel maps : About the Travel Maps

I hope you explore this country’s photographic destinations with me by clicking the subscribe button.  You never know when I could be in your state.

Past:

I spent over 25+ years as a “left brain” healthcare finance executive. All that time my right brain was constantly screaming “use me”.  FinallyI could no longer ignore it.  So in 2004 I left the corporate world to begin on a path as a nature and travel photographer. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done ; if a former 25+ year CPA can do it, anyone can!

I quickly discovered that my photographic interests were nature, architecture and travel photography.  These subjects thrilled me as much as presents under a Christmas tree did in my childhood.  I also learned that it was the connection to certain subjects that motivated me, not the actual technical process of photography.  

Fulltime on the Road

Once the wanderlust gene took over, I had to decide how to live on the road full time so RV life became the answer. 

Lance Trailer at Gooseneck State Park

Lance makes a great RV but there are things lacking for a full time photographer who travels in a wide variety of climates and terrain.  In fact I recently developed the following check list of features for my next RV:  The Perfect Photographer’s RV.  Based on this check list,  in 2022 I will be traveling in a different “home on wheel” to become even more mobile as I attempt to create the Perfect Photographer’s RV. This process will be documented with upcoming Youtube Videos and RV Adventure posts.

Photographic Beliefs:

Successful images should evoke emotional responses from viewers as well as provide a glimpse into the soul of the artist.  I know I have succeeded when an image touches a viewer in the same way the scene first touched me.  Just as a painter reveals themselves through their paintings, I hope my photographs not only inspire others to appreciate the many beautiful places in this country, but will also provide a glimpse into what motivates me as an artist. One of my favorite images is of a cypress swamp in the early morning.

Looking at this image, I still feel the mystery of the swamp and the warm feelings of fall.

Education:

I am mostly self- taught and have spent hours upon hours studying photography. However, there is no amount of study that can substitute for hands-on experience. Realizing this, in 2004 I decided to leave the comforts of a healthcare career to commit all my energy to photography.  As part of this process, I have braved freezing weather, suffered through scorching and humid afternoons, and eaten more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than anyone should in a lifetime.  I don’t regret a minute of it.  Well, there was the time I skipped breakfast with friends at a wonderful bakery that I definitely regret.  I am a sucker for a good pastry. 

Projects and Other: 

My photography has won numerous national and regional awards, and has been exhibited in many art shows and galleries primarily throughout the Southeast. I have taught a wide range of photography classes for over seven years including courses in digital photography, lighting, Photoshop and Lightroom.

 In 2017, I decided to take a couple years off from teaching to focus on my photography travels, redesign my website to a WordPress platform for blogging, and work on my first photography book.  My book should be out by fall of 2020 as well as the resumption of workshops and classes. I definitely underestimated the skills I needed to acquire for website design!

My Photo Assistant:

As I was planning my departure for the sticks and brick world, a black cat kept showing up at the house.  Not knowing if he was a stray or not, I began to feed him.  Although he had been very skittish, one day as I leaned down to put food in his bowl, he suddenly grabbed onto my neck and literally hugged me.  He has never let go!

His name is Boo and he agreed to travel with me if I let him post about his life on the road. So from time to time, you will see “Boo Bit” posts on this site.  Of course being a cat, he only posts when he wants to!  I also had to buy him a ClamShell tent so he could safely be outside.  

Thanks for visiting Maria Struss Photography and I hope you check in often to follow my photo travels, view new images, and read about the latest places I have photographed.