Meet Matt Sorum

IT Supervisor, Sanford Health

For Matt Sorum, there’s nothing like being in the great outdoors with a camera in hand. This self-proclaimed “serious amateur” drives about 30,000 miles a year in pursuit of the perfect wildlife photo.

Matt’s interest in photography began when he took photos of drag racing at National Hot Rod Association events where his son was a pit crew member.

When his son changed careers, Matt, who had acquired a lot of camera equipment, decided to turn his lens toward wildlife.

“I got a few exceptional shots and piqued peoples’ interest, so I started doing it more,” says Matt.

That was more than six years ago. Now, you can find him regularly spending his downtime photographing things in nature.

During the workday, Matt is a supervisor for personal systems administration in Technology Solutions at Sanford Health in Fargo. He’s worked there for the past 24 years, mainly in the same department.

“I’ve made so many great friends,” Matt says. “And all of us working together as a team allows Sanford to provide the best health care for all of the communities we serve.”

Every spring or fall, Matt spends a week or two in Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons.

His keen eye for a great shot can be seen in his photos of pine martens, ermines, wolves, grizzly bears, mink, otters and more.

“Yellowstone has so many variations of wildlife. It gives you so many opportunities,” says Matt. “I like to find things I’ve never seen before with animals and their behavior.”

He uses Canon professional series equipment, and on a rare occasion will use his phone to take a photo.

“As I got better at learning animal shots, I just dove right into it and invested in better camera equipment, which made a difference,” Matt says. “I wanted to make sure I have the opportunity to get the shot.”

In the winter, he photographs owls near Hibbing, Minnesota. He’s dedicated many hours to capturing shots of the tiny, hard-to-find northern saw-whet owls.

“I’ve gotten phenomenal shots of them this year,” says Matt. “That’s four years of checking trees over and over, and this year they’re out in the open.”

As an amateur photographer, Matt has made many friends.

“If I go to Yellowstone, I’ll probably know 50 to 100 people wherever I go,” he says. “I can’t even go to Minnesota without running into people I know all the time.”

He likes that he’s been able to bless others with his photographs. He shares them with a large following on Facebook and appreciates being able to take photos for people who can’t get out to see nature’s wonders up close and personal.

“I once sat outside in a snowbank for eight hours to photograph otters. Right away after the sun went down, there was an otter with a sunfish in its mouth,” says Matt.

Two of Matt’s photos have been displayed on ABC’s Good Morning America show after they won awards in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s photo contest, “Share the Experience.” One year, his photo of a great gray owl won the wildlife division of the contest. Another year, his bison photo won the people’s choice award.

Matt’s photos have also been published in North Dakota Outdoors magazine.

“He says it gives him joy when his photos get people to notice the wildlife around them.

“It’s my passion. It gets me out in nature to appreciate it,” Matt says. “It’s something I wish I had done early on in life.”