Ducks by Cyrene Krey

More DAPL Photos

Blue Heart on Tree by Cyrene Krey
A blue heart painted onto a tree near the Illinois River, one of the major waterways the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses. The risk of a spill along one of these major sources of fresh water has been a motivating factor in the opposition to the pipeline.
Old Tree by Cyrene Krey
A tall, old tree stood along the roadside at a scenic turnout located near the Illinois-Iowa crossing. Based on the survey flags that were there, it stood directly in the path of the pipeline at the time of my visit. This probably means this beautiful tree has since been removed to make way for an oil pipeline.
Gray Trees by Cyrene Krey
Bare autumn trees are reflected in the waters at the Mahaska County Conservation Center in Iowa, near where the pipeline route is located. Locals complained to us about the pipeline, stating they felt it put their waters at risk and compromised unmarked Native burial grounds located in the area.
Ducks by Cyrene Krey
Several different species of aquatic birds were observed at the Maskunky Marsh, a small marsh maintained by Mahaska County Conservation. The pipeline is immediately adjacent to the marsh that waterfowl make home during breeding seasons and use to refuel during migratory periods. Loss of habitats like this have led to numerous disease outbreaks, compromising both bird and human health.
Wind Farm by Cyrene Krey
A wind farm in Iowa was the last stop of the second day of the trip. While wind turbines are controversial because of the harm they can inflict on birds, it was an interesting dichotomy to see an oil pipeline being constructed through a source of renewable energy.

More photographs from this and other projects are available at my website, For additional background on my work and extra info, please like my Facebook page.

Smith Lake

Smith Lake is near an itty bitty town in Illinois and right nextdoor to the pond the Dakota Access Pipeline cuts through. The pond and lake are connected and during flooding, the lake spills over into the Illinois River. It’s a very risky area to place an oil pipeline and yet it’s one of the locations Energy Transfer Partners decided to cut through.

White Pelicans at Smith Lake by Cyrene Krey
Smith Lake was absolutely stunning! It was our first destination of the second day for our journey. Gravel roads were the only route to the out-of-the-way lake. We went early morning and arrived just at sunrise. It was chilly and there was a thick mist all across the lake. Flocks of over 150 white pelicans were gathered there, likely on their way south for their fall migration.
White Pelican Drifting by Cyrene Krey
This pelican was the star of the morning! He kept swimming out of the mist closer towards the center of the lake where the sunlight was. It’s always nice when critters decide to cooperate 😉
Bird in the Sky by Cyrene Krey
Birds soared overhead, just awakening for the day as the sun rose over the lake. Although the waterbirds were still lazily drifting in the lake, several species of gulls and birds of prey were already moving about overhead ready to find food.
Private Pier by Cyrene Krey
Small homes dotted the lake, several with small piers. Other than a couple of birders out observing the migrating pelicans and waterfowl, we didn’t see or hear anyone else. It was beautifully peaceful.

Other photos from this location and my DAPL project are available on my website at for purchase and viewing. Please contact your representatives to let them know you aren’t interested in any more pipelines and want cleaner energy sources (and the tons of jobs that will come with them!). The Army Corps is also taking public comment on the pipeline, please voice your opinion.

Meredosia Pipeline Construction

Backlit Forest by Cyrene Krey
Along the way to a lake we wanted to photograph at night, Winifred Bird, friend and journalist, and I stumbled across a construction site. Needing to check the map, we decided to pull off on the side of the road and see if any of the workers would speak to us. However, we soon found out that although floodlights and generators were running, nobody was in sight.
Photographing an Empty Construction Site by Cyrene Krey
Winnie and I photographed the empty site while looking for someone to talk to. Eventually we decided to continue on towards the lake.
Construction Work at Night by Cyrene Krey
After leaving the first construction site for the lake, we stumbled across a second site. People were there and we decided to stop and try to talk to them. Unfortunately security believed we were there to make trouble. Although we remained in the car, they accused us of being there to make trouble. We soon left, but they followed, prompting me to stop and photograph the site. They claimed there had been problems at the site previously, although locals denied that. Considering the hostile behavior we received from security, we opted to skip the lake and go back in the morning along another route that allowed to avoid further harassment.

More photos from this project can be viewed at my website,

Winifred Bird Photographing DAPL Site by Cyrene Krey

Patoka, IL DAPL Site

I’ve mentioned a little bit about my trip along the Dakota Access Pipeline to see some of the natural habitats and wildlife that may be impacted by the pipeline’s route. Now it’s time to start sharing a few of those photos and stories!

Water Pipe Flags by Cyrene Krey
Behind these flags for water pipelines and this fire hydrant, is a storage yard for the pipes needed to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Right next to this site is the final endpoint for the pipeline in Patoka, IL. This is where I began my journey, accompanied by my friend and journalist Winnie Bird.
Winifred Bird Photographing DAPL Site by Cyrene Krey
We weren’t allowed onto the site, so we photographed from the road and ditches around the site. Security kept a close eye on us all the time, driving around the site and the roads to keep us in view and reluctant to talk to us.
Birds Flocking in a Cloudy Sky by Cyrene Krey
This flock of birds maintained a presence at the site. They huddled together on the construction materials until disturbed by the trucks driving around the site. They would then gather in the bright blue sky until they once again resumed their posts.

Some of these photos will also be shared on my website at and you’re invited to like my Facebook page where I’ll continue posting my wildlife and project photos 🙂

Picture Perfect

I’m busily working on getting photos done from my Dakota Access Pipeline trip (more on that soon!) so for now, here are a few pretty photos from recent months 🙂

Spider with Lunch by Cyrene Krey
A cute little spider with a snack. Her and her friend were hanging around my deck all summer. I photographed them a few times. They’re hiding away now that the temperatures have gone down, but I hope to see them (or their offspring) next year!
Monarch Butterfly by Cyrene Krey
A beautiful monarch butterfly I saw while volunteering cleaning up trails for my local forest preserve district. I haven’t seen one of these beautiful little bugs in the wild since I was a little girl! If you want to see lots of interesting creepy crawlies and other critters, go clean up the trails near you! Good exercise, fresh air and sunlight, and helping wildlife…best of everything 🙂
Blanding's Turtle by Cyrene Krey
This is a Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), an endangered species in some states (and possibly being considered for federal status). I didn’t realize that I’d photographed an endangered animal until I was contacted by a natural resource manager from the area this photo was taken. It was very exciting. Want to know how you can help endangered animals in your area? Keep natural habitats clean of litter. Don’t get too close to wild animals. Plant native plants in your backyard to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Learn about endangered animals in your area and support initiatives that provide habitat and protection for wildlife.

My Return to Wildlife

I began my photography hobby back when film was the only option. I had always had an interest in it and that interest was intensified by a show about a somewhat troubled teen who uses her artistic vision as a way of dealing with her problems. My parents weren’t too thrilled about the costs and wouldn’t always pay to get the film developed, so I still have undeveloped rolls of film lying around from almost two decades ago. Seeing the end result wasn’t nearly as much fun though as the process of actually taking the photos.

While my earlier work wasn’t really all that spectacular, it was a great opportunity for me to gain experience as a photographer (or “camera-ist” as I used to call it) and enjoy being outdoors.

Being outdoors was always my primary motivation behind doing photography when I was younger. I enjoyed experimenting, but I wasn’t overly concerned with technique. I was criticized for my lack of technical skill or knowledge, but it wasn’t enough to deter me. I was in love with trees and birds and bugs. I couldn’t get enough of snapping a photo of every little bit of nature that I saw and I was willing to put in the effort to teach myself how to get the shots I wanted.

Kelcey Winter PortraitOnce I reached adulthood, I had decided to take my hobby into a career and began working with local models looking to build or expand their portfolios. I spent a couple of years doing this on the side, learning the art of human portraiture. Finally, in 2009, I decided to make it official and opened my studio, Salem Street Productions (named for Salem Street, the name of the street where my husband and I were living at the time).

I started by setting up a space in our living room for using as a portable studio when clients wanted an indoor studio space, but my main focus was doing location shoots. I was far more interested in natural light and beautiful scenery than a plain backdrop and artificial studio lighting. Given my start with portraiture working with local models, that stayed my primary focus, although I did occasionally dabble with weddings and families.

It was interesting, to say the least. I was able to work with some very unique people and shoot some intriguing concepts. There were also some bad experiences, especially with models flaking on scheduled shoots or creating unnecessary drama. I did that for a while before realizing it just wasn’t satisfying my creativity so I once again switched my focus and began doing several art shows, focusing on themes that were meaningful to me. This I absolutely loved.Tree Bark Close Up

It allowed me to explore a variety of issues in themes I chose, work with models that I knew and trusted and considered friends, and head outdoors for additional inspiration whenever I felt like it. My first show was titled Gray Skies and was an abstract representation of femininity in gray-scale. I also was able to explore female strength, both that of human women and non-humans, and the impacts and feelings associated with experiencing sexual violence. It was a great outlet for my creativity and the more I pursued the artistic nature of my photography, the more I gravitated back towards nature.

Baby by the Christmas Tree
(c) Cyrene Krey

In May of this year, my beloved kitty of fourteen years died of kidney failure. She had been there for me throughout the worst events of my life. She was what kept me going for so long through horrible bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts and losing her has felt like the hardest thing I have ever been through, even compared to the environment I was forced to grow up in. Even months later, I am no where near over losing her and I doubt I will ever be able to completely move on from this. This event has forced me to completely reevaluate everything in my life, including my photography.

Wildlife photography has always been something that I’ve done. Even while I was earning money as a portrait photographer, I would do wildlife photography as a way of relaxing and reconnecting with nature. I hadn’t given any real thought to turning it into a business though until recently. Losing Baby made me realize that I need to refocus my life and follow my heart. So I’m getting back into wildlife photography full time since that is what I’m most passionate about.

I want my photography to mirror my priorities. I’ve also switched my college major from anthropology to environmental science. My goal is to use my acadamic background and photographic experience to promote wildlife conservation, environmentalism, and animals’ rights.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and I hope you love the photos as much as I’ve loved taking them!