Outdoorsman Photographer Advocate
Sam Soholt, 30, has lived out of duffle bags and totes since early 2014. He travels 95% of the year working as a professional photographer and videographer in the hunting and outdoor industry. His images allow clients to tell their story visually.
The only material things Sam really needs are a camera and a toothbrush- “one to make a living and the other so clients will want to talk to me.”
For a guy with no formal photography training, Sam has landed world-wide assignments and magazine covers through hard work and networking. He’s traveled across New Zealand, Patagonia, British Columbia, Central Montana, South Dakota and other places taking images and creating lifetime memories. “Every photo puts me back into a specific moment. It’s a great way to keep memories and emotions fresh.”
Becoming an Outdoorsman
A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and current Montana resident, Sam spent the majority of his time in nature being adventurous. He grew up hunting with father and brother. “There was almost never a question I’d end up doing something in the hunting industry.”
Combining his two passions-hunting and photography-while making a living is the purest form of cultivating a life for himself.
Sam’s is well-educated and disciplined. He earned both bachelors and master’s degrees in business from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. And, he’s a high school and collegiate award-winning track and field athlete.
He’s willing to take career risks and enter new areas with a “trial by fire” approach.
Right Place. Right Time.
Sam learned the basics as a graduate school intern with an Iowa hunting show. He’s watched YouTube videos and dissected photographic images trying to understand how the photographer shot the photo.
He’s met the right people at the right time. His first big break in the industry was shooting for Coast Guard Alaska in Kodiak. “I had $56 to my name when I hopped on the plane. But, I’ve had the support and encouragement to take risks.” He also had the confidence to know he could get a “regular job” if things didn’t work out.
They do work out though. Sam met the editor of Wildfowl Magazine in an Idaho bear camp. He happened to show him a few photos of duck hunting from the previous fall. That meeting landed him a magazine cover shot-a huge deal for photographers.
Not all Bliss Being Outdoorsman
Sam fights the misperception that “life is one big dream” for him. He admits to living an exciting and adventurous lifestyle. However, there are times where he doesn’t care for the more mundane tasks. “I spend more time behind a computer and on the phone than in the field.” This is a job. It’s work.
Outdoorsman with a Cause
For the next year Sam’s living in a bus-one he bought and retrofitted for a cause. It’s his hunting cabin and means to travel to public lands where he spends time hunting, fishing and recreating while capturing and sharing what those lands have to offer.
He’s partnered with like-minded organizations Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and Outdoor Life to capture people’s attention and gain maximum exposure for his cause.
He’s been a bit surprised, however, with how long it takes while driving a bus from Point A to Point B. Yet, he’s committed to the year’s work.
Save Public Land
He’s out to educate citizens on the need to protect public lands. This land is owned by the people of the USA but managed at a state or federal level. “These lands are a free way to connect to nature and spend time in wild places.” Also, losing public lands would be losing his way of life. “I find adventure and relaxation in the wild. I don’t have to ask permission to spend time on those lands.”
Sam says he’s received overwhelming positive support for “what I am up to. People from all over the country and world have reached out in support.” His strongest supporters are sportsmen and women ages 30-60. “This group has done so much to protect wildlife and hunting heritage in the country. It’d be hard to see any of this work being thrown to the wayside.”
Predictably, the loudest opposition stems from resource extraction companies like oil, gas and electric. “These people would like to be the ones to buy up all this land and increase the amount of resources they pull from it.”
Call to Action
If you’re interested in supporting his mission, you can do so by:
- Following along on Instagram @samsoholt
- Purchasing a t-shirt. $5 from every sales goes to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers publictees.com.
- Joining a conservation group like BHA, RMEF, Mule Deer Foundation, etc.
Sam Soholt is chasing his dreams and ambitions. He’s comfortable taking risks on things that may or may not work out. And he’s living up to the quote, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to live a life.”
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©Copyright. October 2017. Linda Leier Thomason
Linda Leier Thomason is a retired CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form.