By Howard Meyerson | Photography by Kristina Lishawa
Fall is the grand finale for the hardwood trees when their unassuming green leaves are transformed into brilliant golds and reds before surrendering to stark winter branches… I find it difficult to do justice to the glory of the season but enjoy the challenge of creating memories of fall. – Kristina Lishawa
Kristina Lishawa was just a young girl when her grandfather recognized her appreciation for wild beauty. He bought her a camera, something simple, and introduced her to new worlds.
Moving from place to place as a child because her father was in the seminary, Lishawa regularly summered at her grandparents’ Centennial soybean farm in North Dakota. Her grandfather often woke her at night; the two would venture out with a telescope to observe the northern lights, a galaxy of stars and constellations. By day, the intrepid pair might take to the skies and fly over the region’s checkerboarded farm country.
“He was a pilot and an adventurer,” Lishawa said. “He recognized that same spirit in me. To this day when I see the northern lights, I think about him a lot and feel connected to him through photographs.”
Lishawa moved to Traverse City in 2009 and lives there with her husband and two sons. It is also where she practices medicine as a doctor of internal medicine and pediatrics. Photography, she said, is a personal outlet, an expression of her being.
“My first shots were a portrait of my pet hamster. They were pretty bad,” Lishawa said. “I gravitate toward nature and wildlife photography because my career is so people-based. I spend my day talking with patients and families. I’m kind of introverted and get a lot of energy from spending time alone (in the field shooting). It’s a way to feed my introverted soul.”
Her first camera was a simple point and shoot. Pretty basic, she said, but she was “thrilled” to have it and called it “the coolest present ever.”
“I like the idea of capturing a moment in time and conveying so much emotion. I understood that from an early age,” Lishawa said.
Her portfolio of images found at kristinalishawa.com captures the wonder of night skies, among other things. Her photos often are moody, mysterious, even magical and surreal. As a self-described nature and wildlife photographer, she finds magic in birds, flowers and landscapes.
Photographing the natural world is a personal experience, Lishawa said. She often ventures out alone, searching for something special. That something might appear serendipitously, or it might require waiting patiently for just the right light or moment. Her works have been featured in the National Geographic Editors’ Spotlight, by Pure Michigan and a variety of other publications.
In this fall issue of BLUE, we bring you Kristina’s autumn works, no doubt a grand “finale” of color before the seasons change. ≈
Howard Meyerson is the managing editor for Michigan BLUE Magazine.