An Interview with a Talented Sherman Photographer

May 19, 2010

James Jordan has photographed for Sherman Hospital in the past, but he recently snapped a photo of the new building across the geothermal lake on a whim, and was kind enough to share the shot with us on our Facebook page. Such kindness should be repaid, so we thought it’d be a good idea to talk to James about his background in photography and what equipment he used to get such a beautiful shot. Check out the entertaining interview below, but be warned: you may want to ditch your job and take up photography after reading!

Hospital sunset

Sherman at Sunset. Click the image for high-res options.

Sherman Health: You mentioned you captured the shot as part of the Elgin 1440 photography project. Can you explain what the project is?

James Jordan: Elgin 1440 is a community photography project sponsored by the Cultural Art Commission. Photographers are encouraged to use all 1,440 minutes in a day to capture a 24 hour period in the life of Elgin. Selected photos are displayed at the Hemmens. This year’s event – the fifth annual – was held on May 16, and the theme was “Iconic Elgin.” I had already been shooting since 5:00 that morning and was racking my brain trying to think of a place to shoot around sunset. My wife said, “What about Sherman Hospital?” Duh. Of course!

Sherman: How long have you been a photographer? Do you do it professionally? As a hobby?

James: I took up photography as a hobby about fifteen years ago, starting with landscape photography. I was fortunate enough to sell some of my photos to regional travel guides, web sites and private collections. I had it in the back of my mind to develop my hobby into a profession. Losing my day job in September 2008 brought it to the front of my mind quickly. I’ve been shooting professionally since then. In fact, I was hired by Sherman to help photograph the grand opening gala and the moving day. I was stationed at the Center Street facility covering the departure of patients to the new location.

Sherman: I’ve heard photography is kind of like fishing: the best time to do it is as the sun’s rising and setting. Is this true? And did you take the photo as the sun was setting?

James: Very true. The light is softer and warmer at those times of day. The photo of the hospital was taken within a minute or so of sunset that day, although the clouds hid the sun. And like a fisherman, you sometimes have to wait a long time for things to happen. I waited about a half hour for the light in the sky to balance with the lights in and around the building.

Sherman: What camera did you use to capture the shot? Is it your go-to camera?

James: I used a Nikon D90, which is my go-to camera these days. I used a wide angle zoom set at 14mm to get the expanse of sky and the geothermal lake.

Sherman: Is there a place on the globe you’ve visited that gave you particularly memorable photographs?

James: Door County, Wisconsin is a “can’t miss” kind of a place for me personally. I go there several times a year. Many of my best shots were captured there. (Note: See a sampling of James’ Door County photos by clicking here)

door county

One of James' Door County photos. I had trouble picking just one.

Sherman: Do you have any influences/favorite photographers? If so, what do you admire about them?

James: I’ve been influenced by many photographers. Ansel Adams’ landscapes have long been an inspiration for their meticulous details and dramatic lighting. Joe McNally, a longtime shooter for National Geographic, is a master of people photography. I’ve been putting a lot of his ideas to work in shooting portraits and events.

Sherman: Were you on the walking path at Sherman when you took the photo? What did you think of the path?

James: I wanted to frame the hospital against the sky, so I walked along the path until I got an angle that worked for what I wanted to do. It was a lovely and peaceful place to be and obviously affords some great views. I also appreciated the occasional sign that offered a tidbit of information about Sherman.

If you’d like to get in touch with James, visit his website,


6 Responses to “An Interview with a Talented Sherman Photographer”

  1. Jill said

    What a gorgeous photo of your hospital – and a lovely way to say “thank you” to the photographer. He is very talented!

  2. Jim Johnson said

    I know Jim personally, and believe me, he has many more talents in his arsenal than just photography! Jim is an artist, designer, musician, and a man of deep faith and integrity. Like elements in a quality photograph, these are elements of a quality individual.

  3. Steve said

    Excellent and helpful post. Jim is by far one of the finest photographers in the Western Subs. Glad to see you have connected.

  4. Keith Golden said

    Stunning photograph! One of the most beautiful photos of the new hospital I’ve seen. Thank you James for sharing!

  5. Gloria Kellenberger said

    Awesome photo of our hospital. Thank you.

  6. […] photographer of ours (whose work we’re big fans of) recently took some time to take a few new photos of Sherman […]

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