Join us as we celebrate the work of
Kristen Schlagel 















Why you love photography?
I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself artistic, in the traditional sense of the word. I can’t draw, paint, play instruments, etc. my family were gifted with those skills vs my math and science aptitude, but I have always been drawn to imagery and music that invokes an emotion and transports to you a place, a mood, a moment. If I can capture just a fraction of that and share that with others to help make the world a little smaller, more tangible, and to inspire others to get out and enjoy all the beauty that is out there then my heart is happy. Through photography I can balance my right and left brain a little and flex the artistic side through the use of tools vs the dexterity of what my hands can physically create. 
Your favorite thing about MPA?

Well it took my two of my biggest passions, travel and photography and merged them together. What a perfect combo!

I travel on my own and with friends extensively but I found when I was traveling with friends I could never take the photos I wanted as I didn’t want to impose on my friends time to stop and setup the shots I wanted, I would just snap and move along with them.  When I travel on my own, I have the chance to get the shots I really want but the best part of traveling is to share in the moments and memories with others. 

MPA really gives me the opportunity to see some amazing places with some unique photography opportunities that I wouldn’t have on my own and then I can travel with others for the purpose of seeing this amazing world and focus solely on photography and that makes my heart sing.



Your favorite thing about Photo Enthusiast Network?

The sense of community is the first thing. It is super scary to put yourself out there, what if I’m not good enough, what if I ask something dumb, etc. etc. etc. all of those negative self-doubt thoughts that we all have and PEN takes that away. I mean my heart still races when I submit an image for feedback, etc. but the community that has been created is so supportive and nurturing. You can get feedback that is constructive and help you grow. 

PEN has helped me grow more so much than what I was doing on my own, I look back to where I was at a few years ago and sometimes I cringe, but then I’m happy, hey that is where I was at that point in time, and this is where I am at this point in time.  I love that you can go as far and deep as you want to learn at any given time for a few minutes or for hours depending on how much time you have available.  1% better everyday, that is what I tell my team at work, just work on getting 1% better everyday so the journey doesn’t seem so insurmountable.  I try to learn and apply something new everyday and I know a year from now I will be so much better than I am today.


Your aspirations as a photographer/artist?

Well I still have a lot to learn and more to grown (and that isn’t the self-doubt items talking), I can just feel it in my bones.  Honestly, I am looking forward to gaining more advanced knowledge to really up my game on the photos and editing. 

As a traveler I joke I like to go where the people aren’t, and by that, I mean I love going places most people don’t really think about going or think it’s a trip that is more out of reach for them now. I want to go to these places, bring a piece of that place back for them.  I want to share in those special magical moments with animals on their turf where I am a visitor in their home and help to inspire preservation of their home by bringing back incredible images. 

I hope to someday in the upcoming future to submit to more competitions to continue to grow, even though I still find that undeniably nerve-wracking.  What is it when you’re passionate about something that more self-doubt comes in? I mean at work I am uber confident, I know what I am doing there. I guess the way to gain that in this space is to keep putting yourself out there and growing.

I just love the moments that take your breath away and leave you in absolute awe.


Where do you look forward to traveling next?  
Arctic 2020! I mean I know I have a few other trips before that but Polar Bears, people, Polar Bears! I want to snuggle with them, a long-distance imaginary hug where they do their thing, I get to observe and grab a photo or two.


Any info you want to share about yourself? 
I share my photography on Instagram and Facebook
I have a website where I chronicle my travels and whatever is going on in my life, I’m a little behind as sometimes the work life balance aspect gets a little skewed but hey that’s life!