Zach Rhea: You don’t want to reach anything less than your full potential. You want to go past your full potential & exceed even your own expectations. You’ve got this!

1. Introduce yourself(tell about yourself & who you are)

My name is Zach Rhea, I’m a 25-year-old recent MBA grad living in Evansville, Indiana. Just got back yesterday from another trip to Colorado to explore & shoot photos. I currently bartend at a golf course while I continue my travels for the year, like to Maine & Argentina.

2. What inspired you to get into photography, specifically nature and landscape?

What inspired me to get into photography was honestly my Media Production class during my undergrad at the University of Southern Indiana. One day for class we had to walk around campus & take pics with our phones. I had always taken pics with my phone, but this was different in a sense that we were using things we’d learned about photography, like the rule of thirds & leading lines. 2. One of our next homework assignments was that we were supposed to borrow a camcorder from school & shoot a little video of something on campus. That seemed like a lot of work to me, going all the way to an office & checking something out & then having to return it, too. The filming part sounded fun though. So I just asked my little sister if I could borrow her Canon T5 & shot the video on that. I decided to shoot one of our nature trails through the woods. While I was filming, though, I decided I should take some actual pictures, since I’d never really used a camera like that before. That was when, among other pictures, I took the one below & realized, “Damn. I think I like this.” I got home & edited the pictures before the videos & titled this one, “Jumping into the Sky.” The shoes in frame are a bit cliché to me now but if you look at my portfolio, I still have a thing for reflections. I posted that shot along with a second shot of the lake & I have been in love with it ever since. I love specifically nature & landscape photography because I guess that’s where my passion for it began. Shooting portraits & cars & things is fun but getting out to experience the wild before capturing it on camera is another feeling completely. You can’t pose nature, you can’t pick the weather conditions, but you can compose it to the best of your ability & have an amazing time while doing it.

3. What are some goals in life you’d like to complete?

As far as goals I’d like to complete in my life, I have a list of 99. I left the 100th spot open in case anything else struck me eventually. I’ve completed some & am quite literally thousands of miles & a handful of years away from others. Some of the most meaningful to me that are unfinished include: 

Seeing all 7 wonders of the world, visiting every state in the US & country on Earth, getting published by National Geographic, getting my doctorate & last but not least, becoming truly happy.

4. What is a positive message you’d like to share with people around the world? 

A positive message I’d like to share would be this oddly negative sounding quote that really gave me the motivation I needed a while back. I don’t know who originally said it, but it is inspiring & effective, in my opinion. It is, “Someone once told me the definition of Hell: On your last day on Earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” & that really got me thinking & changing some of my habits & I hope it makes at least 1 other person make some positive changes in their life. It’s never too late to change your trajectory in life. You don’t want to reach anything less than your full potential. You want to go past your full potential & exceed even your own expectations. You’ve got this!

5. What is your favorite photographer you’ve admired or are you an admiration of yourself?

A photographer I for sure admire is my great grandpa, J. Sherrel Lakey. I never got to meet him but he worked for the Office of War Information. I honestly hadn’t really seen his photos growing up before until my grandpa saw I was taking an interest in photography & showed me them along with his old cameras. He took pictures of presidents, foreign leaders, ambassadors, soldiers, etc. His work is in the Library of Congress & on the internet if you Google his name. My work is already on the internet but if I could one day be as good as he was & get my work into the Library of Congress, too, I think he’d be proud. Here is a photograph that he took:

6. What are some mental struggles you’ve faced in life and how did you overcome them? 

Mental health is super important, it took me over 2 decades to figure that out. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a lot of mental struggles, but I used to get really anxious sometimes. Especially after having Covid pretty bad a couple of years ago, I had to learn to manage a new feeling I’d never really had before. Overcoming mental obstacles isn’t the same for everyone, I think thing these certain things help me though. … … Meditating every single day. Everyone has 5-15 extra minutes & there’s so many out there that I still just find a random YouTube video every day. Journaling at the beginning or end of each day also helps me see where I’m at. & finally, finding something you’re passionate about. Photography helped me spend way more time on a positive habit than some of the negative things I had been wasting my time doing. Reading a chapter a day helps, too, but I think that’s more of a relaxation thing for me. However, if you haven’t read The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy, I highly, highly recommend it.

7. What can we expect from you with your career in the next 1-2 years?

In a year or two from now I know things will be really different. By the end of this year my biggest goal is to have a remote job that my degrees will apply to, ideally in tech adversities/sales, so I can travel freely while working full time. So I’ll have to work more, but will have way more funds to explore the world & pursue my passion. I can’t wait to see what I can capture on camera in the coming years & I hope you get to see them, too. Expect tons of new photos in my portfolio (ZachhRheaa on Instagram or @ & a lot of new prints up for sale on my website ( Use code 25 for 25% off!

I know this isn’t a book but I still want to give special thanks to someone special. I mentioned how my sister let me borrow her Canon T5 camera for my class project. After that, she let me use it all I wanted & I taught myself to shoot on it, took tons of pictures with it & still have it on my shelf today. The majority of my portfolio was shot with that when I wasn’t using my drone or GoPro. I finally bought a new camera, the Sony A7r IV, last year but I still like to use the old one from time to time. So thank you, Eva. I sincerely appreciate that you helped me find my favorite thing to do.

Recent photo.

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