Having deep roots in northern Wisconsin, Schroeckenthaler finds inspiration in the world around him. "Much of my inspiration for my photography is drawn from my overall passion for Wisconsin, the upper Midwest and my love of travel," he said. Schroeckenthaler's passion for the North Woods began early in life. His parents are from Three Lakes and Clearwater Lake and his grandparents owned a resort on Virgin Lake, "Pop's Pine Resort." Schroeckenthaler spent summers with his parents on Planting Ground Lake, with grandparents and extended family nearby. Moving full-time to the area in 2016, he now calls Clearwater Lake his permanent home.
Schroeckenthaler began his college years with an interest in architecture, after which he gravitated to graphic communications and print design, natural fit given that he grew up working in his family's book bindery and with printers in the Milwaukee area.
After earning his degree, Schroeckenthaler worked for many years as an art director and graphic designer in the Milwaukee area. He began working as technical director for a design group in the late 1980s, when traditional typesetting and key line paste up was still being used for design production. Schroeckenthaler was tasked with transitioning work onto an electronic format and streamlining the design group to full design and production on an electronic platform. Later, he set up his own company with a co-op of several other businesses in an office in downtown Milwaukee. There, Schroeckenthaler did design, production, and color prints for a number of businesses including financial institutions, insurance companies and a broadcasting company. Living on and near water has been a major influence on Schroeckenthaler's photography.
Along with summers in and on the lakes in the North Woods, he lived for many years on the Milwaukee River in the Milwaukee area, where he raised his four boys.
"I love living and playing in, on and by the water," he said. " I am so very grateful to have lived along the shores of one of Wisconsin's beautiful rivers and the lake for most of my life."
Schroeckenthaler's current photographic work involves water and nature.
On the lake growing up, he boated and canoed with his dog and together they would traverse the rice paddies, discovering trails and pathways through the bog.
Schroeckenthaler feels deeply connected to this environment and it has become a main focus for his work.
He uses nature and his observations as he travels across land and water to create images without a great deal of technical manipulation.
Lily pads in and on the water are a frequent subject in Schroeckenthaler's work.
As he observes lily pads Schroeckenthaler begins to see a depth and notices that the surface textures give a three dimensional quality, a mystery that needs uncovering.
His photographs create three dimensions from a two dimensional format. The depth of the water and the light from surface create reflections of the water's activity. The observer may want to reach out and touch a leaf emerging out of the surface.
"Time of day, weather, seasonal elements - fall, winter, spring - can make what might be an otherwise ordinary subject become extraordinary at the right moment," Schroeckenthaler said of the temporal quality of his images. "Staying in that moment as an observer of nature helps me to find the mystery and three dimensional aspects of an image or even fully exploit the two dimensional surface of the image print."
In addition to his work with nature and water, Schroeckenthaler also creates abstract pieces.
"With my more abstract pieces, while I may post-edit them to some degree, I like to achieve the abstract effects by employing nature itself by using elements such as light, reflections and perspective rather than relying on image manipulation software," he said.
Schroeckenthaler's work can also be viewed online at clearwaterlakephotography.com.