How a mashup of passions came to be

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

My first true passion in life was wildlife. At a very young age, and thanks to my mother, I can still remember being glued to the television watching the Discovery channel. I was captivated by what I was seeing on screen so much that I knew that one day I would work with animals. My early childhood was also spent in the forest, creeks and streams fishing and small game hunting with my friends. Fast forward to my early teenage years I was able to start rifle hunting with my father for whitetail deer. This is where my passions really started to ramp up for my current lifestyle. I started hunting religiously with my best friend and haven’t looked back since. Since picking up my first compound bow at 15 years old, I have never had the need or urge to pick up a rifle to hunt any sort of game. I know that hunting is already challenging, but why not make it even more so? That’s why I love it: it’s a humbling and incredibly rewarding continued experience. I know that I miss out on the yearly deer camp experiences that Wisconsin is known for during the November’s rifle season, but maybe that’s why I love bow hunting that much more…it’s quiet.    

My second passion is one that I stumbled upon. I never knew it was something that I would enjoy because I was so focused on hunting, but for my 23rd birthday I requested a Canon DSLR camera. My birthday is the tail end of bow season so my intentions were to film my buddy’s and my bow hunting adventures. Turns out filming would have to wait util next season because I was tagged out for the year on a basket- racked 8 pointer. Instead, I elected to see what else this camera was capable of.  Let me tell you, the camera was a lot more capable than I was. I did not take very good pictures as a beginner photographer for the first six to nine months. But let me tell you, I sure “thought” they were great! I also thought I was on my way to be the next Ansel Adams. Once I started getting the hang of what I was doing, I started to do a lot of traveling with my camera. I drove to almost every state park that was within a few hours of my home. I then started to put more and more pictures of mine online and was getting a lot of great feedback from people I knew. I then was courageous enough to travel solo to Colorado for a week and do some backpacking through Rocky Mountain National Park. It was there that I grabbed beautiful photos and surprisingly was even able to sell some of those prints locally. 

Fast forward to meeting my now wife and her family who are also big outdoorsmen. But not in the kind that I was used to, they were waterfowl hunters. At a young age I never had any interest in bird hunting because I didn’t know anyone who did. My family and friends hunt deer and turkey. So at the first chance I could, I asked if I could tag along with my camera and take pictures of their experiences for other people to see.

“When you first start doing anything you might not get the results you expect or are not up to par with what you imagined they would turn out like. That was the case with my first few outings of my personal critique of my photos, they were in the moment, but they were not great photos.  I’ve now been able to compound my knowledge and experiences over the past years and now you expect perfection but sometimes you surprise yourself with how well a photo turns out.” -Drake Rekowski

Two passions have now combined into one, and I love how the camera can tell the audience a story and they can feel the experience of being in the moment with us outdoorsmen.  My dreams and aspirations have now evolved since I wanted to be a Wildlife Biologist, but I still get to be in the field and capture these wonderful animals that we care so much about.  My goal for Big Mitten Media, LLC is to be a premier player for many years to come in this industry. (Outdoor Photography/Videography) If we continue to work at our craft and evolve and adapt, I believe we will do just that. 

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