Aspiring artist Michaela Mitchum, junior at Santa Fe Christian Schools (SFC), has just released her first professional image to the public. Mitchum aptly titled her image “Heaven’s Lights,” which showcases a stunning photographic capture of the Northern Lights.

She found her inspiration for the photograph while on a trip to Sweden with her father in 2017. Even though she was experiencing one of the harshest climates in the world, she found great motivation, creativity, and beauty in the night sky.

About that trip she recalls, “We were in minus 32° weather. At night we would go out and sit for hours on end. We’d see these magical lights dance across the sky. Knowing that these images were created by God just for us to see and experience, blew my mind. As I was sitting in the freezing cold, I watched these brilliant lights come down, and then suddenly burst out and light up the entire sky!”

Her father, Jeff Mitchum, is a renowned American and international landscape photographer. His work has been sought after by National Geographic and has graced the walls of several fine art museums, including the Smithsonian Institute, Getty Museum and the Museum of Natural History San Diego. When asked about how her father has impacted her life growing up, observing him and his work, she says, “My dad has influenced me and my work greatly! My family has always been extremely supportive of me and everything I have done – from playing soccer for eight years, to my photography and art. My dad is the first person who I give credit to for teaching me everything I know about photography. I always grew up around cameras and being in that environment. My dad gave me my first camera and taught me everything I needed to know about it, from the ISO to aperture priority. He was really the person that helped shape my career path. He is always the one to critique an image that I have taken and shows me ways to make it better.”

There appears to be many influences in her life, and Mitchum is quick to acknowledge those special people around her. She is very proud of her little brother, who is very talented in abstract photography. She also gives praise to her mother, who has played a critical role in influencing and supporting her as she develops her expertise. She expresses gratitude for her art teacher, as well. “Mrs. Blankenship has helped me in growing my passion for art since 7th grade,” Mitchum says.

Mitchum has many interests, but her favorite genre of photography is landscape and wildlife. After graduation from SFC, she plans to attend university, majoring in art and minoring in business. She is enthusiastic about her life’s direction towards becoming a professional photographer and following in her father’s footsteps. “I love my family, as well as my SFC family. I’m so grateful for all the ways they have impacted my life and helped shape me into the person I am today,” Mitchum states.