Father-daughter 6,000-mile photography trip starts today

May 14, 2018

Sioux Falls photographer Paul Heckel, 46, and his daughter Emma, 20, wanted to carve out a little father-daughter quality time this summer.

A simple plan for an overnight camping trip ballooned into a 6,000-mile, monthlong outdoor photography adventure, starting today.

“It’s a working vacation,” said Heckel, owner of Heckel Photography. “We share a passion for travel and shooting photos, so we’re heading to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the nation.”

Their first stop after leaving Sioux Falls is Badlands National Park. Then it’s on to Colorado, Utah and California, where they’ll hit Death Valley, the Sierra Nevadas, Sequoia National Park, San Diego, Los Angeles and Big Sur. The pair then heads north through San Francisco to Eureka and on to Oregon, Seattle, Idaho and through the Grand Tetons on their way back home.

Heckel outfitted his SUV with a rooftop tent so it’s possible to camp each night in the location where they will shoot the next morning, rising before dawn to take advantage of the early morning light.

Emma, a Lincoln High School graduate, is finishing her sophomore year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she is majoring in education. She will study abroad in Kenya starting this fall, so family time was definitely on the agenda this summer.

Ironically, Emma prefers taking photographs with film — the old-school way — while her father uses digital equipment. The two have set up a black and white darkroom in their Sioux Falls home for Emma’s use.

Heckel has more than 25 years of experience as a commercial photographer. Most recently, he owned Lit Studios, an advertising and photography firm in downtown Sioux Falls. After he received an unexpectedly high offer on his commercial condo, he sold it and moved his photography business to his home.

He will chronicle the trip through blog posts on his company’s website, HeckelPhotography.com, and on his Instagram feed @HeckelOutside.

Father-daughter 6,000-mile photography trip starts today

This father-daughter photographer duo is taking a big trip and you get to follow along.

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