By Savanah Bandy 

Michael J. Munster is living proof that following your passion can lead to some truly remarkable things. 

The photographer and owner of Green Heron Photography is renowned for his vivid photographs capturing Missouri’s beauty. His images depicting Missouri wildlife, historical sites and natural wonders have captured the hearts of Missourians for decades, but 2 years ago, his work landed on the national stage. 

In 2020, four of Michael’s images were published in The Atlantic in a feature titled, “Missouri: Images of the Show Me State.” 

“It felt great to see my work being published, particularly in something like The Atlantic,” he said. “The article was on the most beautiful spots in Missouri, so I was honored for my photos to be selected. Plus, they had used not just one but multiple images of mine. So, that also made it even more rewarding.”

His photos featured in The Atlantic showcase Onondaga Cave, George Washington Carver National Monument, Grand Falls, and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. 

Some may be surprised to learn Michael J. Munster is entirely self-taught. 

I have never taken any formal classes on photography,” he said. “I learned everything from either reading books and magazines or from YouTube videos from other photographers or just my own personal experience via trial and error.” 

Michael has always loved nature and seeing wildlife in its natural habitat. He first became interested in photography as a way to capture what he saw. 

“I started getting into photography around 2000,” he said. “My first camera was a Kodak digital point and shoot. I noticed I was getting a lot of compliments on my photos. That encouraged me to take my photography more seriously. I ended up purchasing my first DSLR, or digital single lens reflex camera. It was a Canon Digital Rebel or EOS 300D.”

Today, Michael has upgraded to a Canon EOS 6D and EOS 70D along with wide angle, standard, telephoto and macro lenses, with the wide-angle lens being his go-to. His favorite places to shoot are Grand Falls, Wildcat Glades, Wilson’s Creek, George Washington Carver and the Springfield Conservation Center, but he travels outside of the area, too. He has shot in New Mexico, Kentucky and Tennessee and has captured stunning images at Mammoth Cave and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Two of his images have appeared in calendars for Brown Trout Publishers. He also sells his own calendar on his website, The 2022 calendar features scenes from the Ozarks, including Reding’s Mill Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. 

More recently, Michael has gotten into infrared photography, a type of photography that uses film or sensors that are sensitive to infrared light to create unique images. 

“I have done infrared photography with film, but the main way I do infrared photography is using an infrared filter on the end of my lens,” he said. “The filter blocks all light except for infrared light. Infrared photography with an infrared filter requires long exposures but results in photographs with white foliage and really dark skies.”

During each step along Michael’s journey, from his early days as a hobbyist to today as a nationally recognized professional photographer, he has been driven by his love for Earth’s natural beauty and the challenge of capturing the perfect moment to share with the world.

“I love the challenge of getting the shot,” he said. “I love the work and planning and getting to finally see the shot come out the way I imagined – or even coming out better. I enjoy the beauty of the natural world, and I enjoy sharing that beauty with others.” 

Purchase art by Michael J. Munster at:

  • Fine art prints
  • Photos
  • Canvas
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Merchandise
  • Calendars

Email [email protected] for more information.