Someone You Should Know: Capturing South Dakota’s beauty

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls man has been taking some incredible pictures of South Dakota’s beauty for years and if you haven’t seen them yet, stop what you’re doing and soak these images in.

Christian Begeman grew up on a farm near Isabel, South Dakota, which is where a love of photography began.

“Back when I was a kid around the holidays, my dad used to get the old photos out and they were on slides so they were on a slide projector. So, he set it up and we’d go downstairs in the basement where we had a wood-burning stove. Mom would make popcorn and chocolate malts and we’d sit around and watch old photos," said Christian. “Spending all that time outside, really, you gain an appreciation for the South Dakota sky and how it can change and how beautiful it can be.”

Christian would go to college at the University of Sioux Falls and would start a career on the video side. He’s a longtime employee at Midcontinent Communications. Taking pictures became a hobby.

“About 10-12 years ago, things changed in my life a little bit where I had more free time. And I went back to the still photography, first love."

Christian always keeps is eye out for South Dakota’s hidden beauty.

“When I’m out driving around, which is a lot, I’ll just make note of certain things I like whether it’s an old barn, alone prairie windmill, or something like that. Knowing that in the future, for example, this summer there was a comet in the night sky. Well, I was able to line up that comet with some unique things including an old country church up in Roberts County because I knew it was there from previous trips. So, it all kind of comes together so you can make a unique photo."

And he’ll go out in all hours of the day, to get the perfect shot.

“There are times where I just wake up in the middle of the night like on St. Patrick’s Day event a few years ago where I just randomly woke up at about two o’clock and checked my phone and there were northern lights happening. I looked out the window and saw them. By that time I’m wide awake, so I headed up to a little country church over by Chester and shot some northern lights, and actually those photos where shown on websites in England and I believe even the CBS Evening News put them on the air."

Among the thousands of photos he’s taken, Christan has some favorites. Including one that sticks out.

“About two, maybe three years ago. There’s a country church over by Canova that I happened to catch right after a massive thunderstorm went through as the sun was setting. So the sunlit the Mammatus clouds as it was going beyond the church and that particular night I actually stood there and said ‘wow’ out loud, because the sky was so amazing."

While it’s mainly a hobby, Christian’s photos have regularly been in South Dakota Magazine. And you can buy prints off of his website. He also puts together calendars and here’s his next goal.

“I would eventually like to put a book together on the country churches. I believe I have all the photos I would need now. I just need to get a narrative together and get some help with editing because I’m not the greatest writer in the world."

If a picture is worth a thousand words, his photos don’t need any writing. Christian will keep finding that perfect moment, behind the lens.

Christian will be putting a 2021 country church and scenic calendar out later in September.

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