Montanan you should know...

People & Place
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana 3
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana Rodeo
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana 1
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana Farmhouse
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana Round-up
  • Donnie Sexton Photography Montana Boot post

Helena photographer Donnie Sexton has been with the Montana Office of Tourism for 23 years.  For the last eight years, she has split her time between working with the media and photographing anything and everything related to tourism in the state.  Her unquenchable passion for photography and travel has shaped her life.  The Far East is among her favorite destinations; she has explored India, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, and China. Donnie and her husband, Ed, have two sons, Jed and Tanner, both of whom live in Helena. 

When I’m on the road, my favorite munchie is… strawberry or vanilla sugar wafers. My definition of beauty is… someone whose face and hands bear the marks of a well-lived life, like my mom’s. When I photograph someone, I look for… capturing their personality and character; even if I don’t know them, I follow my gut instinct as to what I’m feeling about them.  

I am most inspired by… the joy that I’ve seen in many people of developing nations who have so little, yet who seem genuinely happy despite their lot in life. 

The most important thing I learned as a self-taught photographer is… that I still have so much to learn by reading, studying, observing the work of others, and most importantly, always, always practicing. 

I like tiny towns in Montana because… you get a sense of how uncomplicated life can be and a chance to glimpse how genuine people are when not caught up in the urgency of city life.  

A secret about Montana I will reveal is… despite the incredible beauty, it’s the locals — a farmer, cowboy, shopkeeper, chef, schoolteacher, painter, rancher — all those who live and work here — that make this the best place to call home.

I prefer digital photography vs. traditional because… digital allows you to easily and quickly edit images, as well as experiment with different techniques, filters, all at the convenience of the computer. 

The best moment to shoot is… both before the sun rises and brings a sleeping landscape to life, or sunset, when that last light of day just about guarantees a beautiful shot. 

The one thing I regret is… not having figured out in my college days how passionate I would be about photography; I likely would have opted for a career as a photojournalist.

Maybe, just maybe, someday I’ll... buy a “Round the World” airline ticket and head out to explore this planet for several months. 

My idea of a great day… would be winning a big lottery and then figuring out how to give most of it away!

You’re never too old to... step out of your comfort zone and pursue a new hobby or career or light out to some exotic destination.   

No one ever told me... that being a mom is the hardest job ever, but the most rewarding!

One thing I will never try is... skydiving or bungee jumping — way too scary!

You will never convince me that... liver tastes good!  It’s disgusting.

If there is one thing that gets my blood boiling… it’s any act of child abuse or neglect.

At the end of a long day… I love retreating to my bathtub for a long bubble bath with a good book in hand.  

If my friends described me in four words, they would be… funny, passionate, adventurous, friendly.

I sit and wait for the right shot when… I’m photographing an event, such as a powwow or rodeo; patience is needed to capture the action at the precise moment that will yield that killer image.