Behind the Lens

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, January 9, 2020
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Courtesy photo

    Christine Bakke

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Courtesy photo

    Cole Waltner

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Courtesy photo

   Scott Waltner

*Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a 2-part series.

The News is fortunate to have a handful of great photographers who are willing to share their shots with us.

Recently, a reader called to say he would be interested in knowing a bit more about the people behind the names.

We loved the idea.

Here is our first part, which features Christine Bakke, Cole Waltner and Scott Walter.


(Christine Bakke Photography)

Bakke started her photography journey in 2008 when she moved here from Wenatchee, Wash. Her husband had taken a job at Stillwater Mine in 2007, and about a year later, Bakke and her two daughters joined him in Reed Point.

Having previously worked in healthcare for 12 years, she was excited about the new opportunity to be a stay at home mom with her youngest. Katelynn, who was almost 3 at that time.

With a point-and-shoot camera and a new computer, Bakke loved to show

friends and family their new life through Facebook posts.

“I would drop my daughter off at Preschool in Columbus and drive around and take pictures of the local area,” said Bakke.

A year or so later, she had several photographs selected for a showing at the Two Rivers Gallery in Big Timber.

In 2011, Bakke officially started her business, and began taking senior portraits, family photos and venturing into wedding and special event photography. She joined a small business networking group in Columbus and made a lot of great friends, as well as, some amazing business connections. It was from this group that she met Jill and Chad Ferris, current owners of the 307 Bar and Grill.

“For the past five years I have been their featured artist and manage the other artists who want to show their work there. I also developed a relationship with the Stillwater County News and always enjoy seeing my work along with all the other great photographers they work with in print,” said Bakke.

In 2015, Bakke opened a portrait studio in Big Timber, and added newborn photography, as well as fun mini sessions for children into the mix.


(Chasing the Wild Outdoors)

Cole Waltner has called Columbus home the majority of his life, having spent considerable time hunting, hiking, fishing and being outside from the time he was young.

“I was raised to have a reverence and respect for nature, wildlife, and the outdoors,” said Waltner.

About six years ago, while hiking to Woodbine Falls with his best friend -who had just returned from Afghanistan -- Waltner felt the need to do something more than just tell stories about these kind of what he terms “lasting moments.”

“I picked up my first DSLR camera and began to document moments along with the stories. Since that day, and 100s of thousands of photos later, I have just scratched the surface of this photographic journey with no end in sight,” said Waltner.

His photography tends to focus on wildlife and landscapes.

Avian, or bird photography, is a specific passion that has taken Waltner all over the U.S. to capture what he describes as “once in a lifetime birds.”

“It has opened the world around me in ways I could have never imagined,” said Waltner.

For the last 12 years, he has served as a Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputy and currently holds the rank of corporal. He and his wife are raising three daughters, who often accompany their father on his outdoor adventures.

You can join Walter on his adventures on Chasingthewildoutdoors on Instagram.


(Scott Waltner Photography)

Photography runs in the blood — at least it does with Scott Waltner, his father, Richard of Park City, and his nephew Cole.

“I received my love of photography from my father… who was never without a camera when we were growing up. At the age of 88 he still enjoys photography,” said Scott.

Scott got his first 35mm camera in 1978 — an Olympus OM1 35 mm film camera, which he used until digital cameras arrived on scene. For years he carried a Canon 5d series camera with a variety of Canon “L” Series lenses including Canons 500mm Super Telephotos.

An avid hunter and hiker with his wife, Scott follows in his father’s footsteps and takes his camera, tripod a variety of lenses, flashes, etc., everywhere he goes.

When he turned 60, he opted to change out his 20-plus pounds of camera gear, switchin to a “mirrorless camera, Fujifilm because they are lighter, have a smaller body, lenses are smaller and lighter and picture quality in my opinion is just a good as Canon,” he said.

A husband, father and grandfather to four kids (one of whom is currently playing football and the other three being teenage girls), Scott enjoys family photography as well as landscape, wildlife, macro and sports photography.

A Columbus resident since 1980, Scott Waltner has worked for the county for an impressive 32 years.

He plans to use his photography skills to supplement his income upon retirement.