BEAMAN — Ben Neff, a 2014 BCLUW Excessive College graduate who lives on his household’s farm close to Beaman, stays a lot busy throughout the day working for the John Deere Clever Options Group in Urbandale, however in his free time, you may catch him prowling central Iowa along with his digicam and looking for the following nice shot of a wild turkey, a fox, a deer or no matter different creature he can discover.
Neff stated he first started to find his ardour in highschool when he participated within the Digital Actuality Training Pathfinders (VREP) program, and though he’s all the time had an inventive aspect, in his personal phrases, he “can’t draw to avoid wasting his life.” Pictures was the following smartest thing, however as a school pupil, he couldn’t afford a high-quality digicam that he would wish to actually take top-level photos.
After largely utilizing his cellphone by his years at Iowa State, the place he graduated with levels in Agricultural Techniques Expertise and Industrial Expertise, Neff discovered a sensible purpose to spend money on some new tools. He was going to do some video and pictures of his household’s farms round Beaman close to the Marshall/Grundy County line, so he purchased a digicam in 2020.
He ultimately acquired a lens for wildlife and has run with it ever since then. For the final six months, he’s been pursuing it “critically” and plans to compete at this yr’s Iowa State Honest whereas additionally promoting prints by his social media pages and an internet site that’s nonetheless in growth.
His mother and father, Scott and Mary Beth, have been nothing however supportive of the brand new endeavor, and Scott stated it’s one thing Ben and his spouse Suzanne can get pleasure from collectively.
“It blends his love for know-how with all the advantages that come from being out in nature, and it makes use of his love for know-how and stimulates artistic aspect as nicely — utilizing his left and proper mind,” Scott stated.
Whereas Iowa isn’t typically regarded as a haven of pure magnificence, Neff has discovered it throughout him — even with out leaving his household’s property.
“Lots of it’s simply in our woods and acreage. My mother and father have about 60 acres of outdated development timber, after which we farm the fields round it additionally,” he stated. “After which my uncle lives close by with pastures and fields round his home too, so I get numerous my images there.”
A few of his different spots inside comparatively shut driving distance embrace the Union Grove Lake between Gladbrook and Garwin and the Neal Smith Nationwide Wildlife Refuge south of Altoona. To date, his private favourite shot that he’s captured was a wild turkey within the rain — the picture accompanies this story — particularly as a result of these particular animals are skittish and fast to run away once they discover people.
“I received actually fortunate someday they usually had been simply within the discipline beside the street as I used to be pulling up, and I used to be capable of cease shortly and get a burst of images within the 5 seconds earlier than they took off into the woods,” Neff stated.
Together with hopefully making some more money to assist fund his pastime, Neff needs to advertise conservation efforts, and the Iowa DNR has already utilized a few of his pictures of their social media posts. He’d additionally prefer to see his images wind up in magazines like Iowa Open air and Our Iowa, however whether or not this pursuit results in fortune and fame or not, it’s a secure wager he’ll be exterior along with his digicam and his monopod on the hunt for the following nice portrait.
“Lots of the Instagram reels and picture posts are all stuff of photographers in like, Yellowstone or Alaska or wherever, and there’s not a ton of the posts from Iowa,” he stated. “There’s a small variety of actually good photographers that I additionally observe in Iowa and every thing, nevertheless it’s not fairly as widespread because the bear picture in Minnesota. So I simply attempt to share some cool wildlife right here so that individuals can see that you just don’t should be in a type of areas to exit and see it or attempt to take images or something like that.”
Past his ardour and ability for the craft, Neff, a former highschool basketball heart for the Comets, enjoys a sensible benefit over different photographers. He stands a towering 6’9″, and he admitted that a few of his shorter colleagues typically categorical jealousy over his peak.
“I can nonetheless crouch down or lay on the bottom to get these angles, however they don’t have any approach of getting among the angles that I get,” he stated.
Samples of Neff’s work might be discovered on his Fb web page known as Ben Neff Pictures or his Instagram web page @themrneffels. He’s nonetheless ending up his web site, which isn’t stay but, however he plans to announce when it’s up and operating.
Contact Robert Maharry
at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or [email protected].