Internationally published nature photographer, author, comedian, educator, public speaker, computer programmer, and mathematician—these among the many pursuits of Mike MacDonald. However, the man can be described in just one word: passion. And Mike is passionate about Chicago nature.
For over two decades, Mike has photographed Chicago’s natural wonders: its prairies, savannas, woodlands, and wetlands. His celebratory work has earned him the distinction of being Chicago Wilderness magazine’s most prominently published photographer. His images have been nationally and internationally featured in many publications such as Outdoor Photographer, Petersen’s Photographic, Boy’s Life, and BBC’s Gardens Illustrated magazine. Read Mike’s article in Outdoor Photographer about how to photograph the prairie.
Mike is the creator of an immersive style of landscape photography, designed to give viewers a hyper-realistic experience of each breathtaking scene. He transforms flat prairie landscapes into a rich, three-dimensional panoramas. Simplicity and emotion are also characteristics his photography, which are often compared to paintings.
Like a painting, that illustrates a perfect moment from the imagination of the artist, his photographs communicate the emotion and experience of a perfect real moment in time. It has been said that a Mike MacDonald photograph allows the viewer to enter the scene and to share his experience.
Mike’s photographic playground includes many wild locations across the Chicago region such as Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Spears Woods in Willow Springs, Orland Park’s McGinnis Slough, Lockport Prairie, and Wolf Road Prairie in the town of Westchester.
Born in Chicago, Mike lives with his wife Cordula near Belmont Prairie in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove.
Watch Mike’s interview on WTTW Chicago Tonight.
Listen to Mike’s interview about ChicagoNatureNOW! on WBEZ’s Worldview.
Listen to Mike talking about Chicago nature on WBEZ’s Morning Shift.
Listen to Mike’s interview about his book on WBEZ’s WorldView.