Crow River Reflections is owned and operated by Stacy Bunting a life long resident of Wright County, Minnesota and a 2004 graduate of the Rockford Area Schools. Spending her childhood exploring the banks of the Crow River with her four legged friends; Stacy quickly formed a love for the river and her community. Her extensive knowledge of the Wright County area allows for endless options when selecting your session location.
Throughout her childhood and teen years Stacy was always searching for creative outlets, she enrolled in Graphic Design courses at Hennepin Technical College for her Senior year in High School. After graduation Stacy held strong to another passion of hers (a love for dogs) as she continued her employment within local Canine Boarding Facilities earning certification in Canine Grooming and Canine Behavior. Throughout this time Stacy continued to put her Graphic Design and Photo Editing skills to use for her employers, family and friends.
RIVER RAT CUSTOMS-MN
River Rat Customs - MN was launched June 1st, 2011; offering edgy alterations and custom garment design to local sports teams, organizations and individual requests. River Rat Customs - MN is operated on a seasonal basis and continues to offer custom garment alterations and hand-made home decor.
In the Fall of 2015 after her employer announced they would be closing Stacy began to pursue other options for employment. While in conversation with her then employer the idea of opening a Photography Business was suggested. Having years of graphic design and photo editing experience; the thought of capturing her own pictures had never come to mind. With the encouragement of her employer, family and friends she began her adventure and took a leap of faith purchasing her first camera.
The next year was spent practicing with family and friends, researching camera operations and studio set-up.
Stacy was also given the opportunity to photograph multiple local bands who she had become familiar with over the years.
Crow River Reflections officially opened for business September 1st, 2016 offering photography and graphic design services in the Wright County area.
Exciting opportunities presented themselves quickly with the announcement of Rocktoberfest (a fundraising event held in Rockford, MN), Stacy was able to capture images of up and coming local artists as well as national acts. This has grown to be one of her favorite annual events and continues as an annual event at Rockford's Riverside Park every October. Stacy was also given the opportunity to photograph a local bands performance at the Historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
FUNDRAISING AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Along with Rocktoberfest, Stacy enjoys participating in Thousand Hearts Crow River Serve day which is a day of community service in Rockford, Minnesota and surrounding areas.
Giving back to the community she grew up in is one her top priorities and she continues to do so, working with local school districts and community organizations to help out in any way possible.
Crow River Reflections galleries include photos from Minnesota State Parks, historic sites across the Mid-West and a collection of images from National Parks and Forests. 50% of all profits made on these prints are directly donated to the Minnesota DNR, Wright County Historical Society and The US National Parks fund.
Crow River Reflections now holds annual fundraisers for non-profit organizations in Minnesota. Some of these include: Local Animal Rescues, Minnesota DNR, National Parks Foundation, Wright County Historical Society, Riverworks of Rockford, MN and The Minnesota Military Family Foundation.
EXPANSION AND EXPLORING
In April of 2017 Crow River Reflections began offering photo session in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. With many friends and family members residing in the Brainerd Lakes Area; Stacy grew very familiar with area lakes and parks and began scouting ideal photo locations for these residents. Sessions are offered in Crow Wing County April 1st - October 31st.
Crow River Reflections' services include but are not limited to:
Posed Portraits (Families, Children, Couples)
Lifestyle Portraits (Families, Children, Couples, Pets)
Special Event Photography
Photo Editing Services
Graphic Design Services
The Woman Behind The Camera
"Like most creative types, I spent years getting lost in the daily routine of a 9-5 job that I was good at but didn't fully enjoy. My creative passions sat dormant other than when presented with a special project in the workplace. It was an unfortunate situation that brought me back to the drawing board and forced me to ask myself: "What do I want to do with the rest of my life?" The people who knew me best could see it on a daily basis, I was excelling in my careers and catching on quickly to every new task thrown my way, but I wasn't feeling fulfilled. Though I wasn't unhappy, I wasn't exactly thrilled to continue on in the "hamster wheel" as I began to call it.
In the fall of 2015 my employer announced that he would be closing the doors and we would be without employment in the near future. Though this came as a shock and the panic did set in, part of me felt relieved. I loved the people I worked with and didn't mind the work I was doing, but there was so much more I wanted to do. So many other things I felt I had the obligation to be out doing. That obligation was to myself - serving my community and releasing my creative energy.
After expressing some of these feelings to my employer and co-workers; they suggested I reconsider opening my own business. The thought of it was terrifying, where would I even start? I had years of experience in Graphic Design and Photo Editing, but it was always just a hobby never something I thought I could realistically turn into a business. But, when asked "why not?" I didn't have a good answer.
I did receive a gracious package from my employer when they closed and with that money I invested in my first real business! Scared to death and unsure where to start, I enrolled in photography classes and began my studies on Business Management and Business Taxes. I wanted to be sure everything was perfectly in place, I spent numerous hours researching, compiling information and networking within my community to be sure I had all of my ducks in a row.
For 1 year I dedicated myself full-time to building my portfolio and getting all legal aspects in place so I could make this dream a reality.
I set a goal for my 1st year, I wanted to visit every lake in wright county and every state park in Minnesota. The looks my friends gave me were priceless, but they jumped in my vehicle, asked little to no questions and enjoyed the ride. (Mission was accomplished)
From rounding up friends and families to following local bands from venue to venue, I was determined to get as comfortable as possible with my new camera.
I began to notice changes in myself and my way of thinking. I started waking up earlier, I became more positive and relaxed in my personal and professional life. I began to see things in a new light, finding beauty in some of the most unexpected places. There were many of times while out searching for new locations, I was forced to pull over due the distraction and my new appreciation for everything around me. The sunsets were brighter, the grass seemed greener and my beloved river which I had known from a very young age started to look even more enchanting to me. My eyes and mind were no longer rushing through the daily grind, I wasn't stuck behind a computer screen or calculating numbers. I was living, I was breathing I was enjoying my 1st love all over again - The Outdoors.
Picking up a camera did more than open the door for a new business opportunity, it brought me out of hibernation and revitalized a life that was being lived in auto-pilot. This camera has allowed me to give back to my community that gave so much to me over the years. I spent many years on the wrong track, almost a side street to the route I dreamed to be on, I found my entrance ramp and I plan on riding this road until the end."
- Stacy Bunting
To say that I feel blessed to have such a strong support system would be an understatement. The following people, groups and organizations have helped me in a number of ways.
City of Rockford, Minnesota: Thank you for allowing me to participate in community events. You've given me opportunities that I had always dreamed of, I greatly appreciate you taking a chance on me and showing endless support.
Wright County Parks Department: Thank you for your efforts to keep our parks looking their absolute best spring, summer and fall. I have met many of you while on my adventures and appreciate every bit of encouragement you have given me. Since meeting you I have learned about some of our areas best kept secrets, these hidden locations have provided not only excellent photo locations but have given me new places to explore and unwind during my personal time.
Minnesota State Parks / Minnesota DNR : Thank you for allowing me to wander without restriction, I have discovered some of our states best kept secrets with your encouragement and guidance.
Ghosts of North Dakota: Thank you for the inspiration, you opened my eyes to hidden beauties across the mid-west. Visiting and capturing these locations has quickly become one of my favorite pastimes. The combination of beauty and solitude cannot be beat.
LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST -
The people of Rockford, Minnesota: Thank you for believing in me every step of the way, for accepting my quirky and at times flat out crazy ideas. Never once questioning my visions, you gladly hop on board and do everything in your power to help me make this dream come true. You stood by me through every major life event and didn't hesitate to step up and support my business venture when I announced the news to you. Your support and encouragement mean more than words can say.
To my Family and Friends: Failure is never an option with you by my side. Thank you for pushing me to be the absolute best I can be.