Kirk Keeler

Workshop Instructor and Represented Artist


Kirk Keeler has had a life steeped in the arts. At a young age, his parents encouraged an artistic upbringing through drawing and painting, as well as a musical background, providing him with a melodica and piano lessons between 7 and 9 years of age. His musical endeavors continued in high school when his best friend gifted him a guitar, on which he taught himself using a Mel Bay guitar chord book. All of this took place in his hometown of Calistoga, California – a town in the Napa Valley where the world-renowned scenery hugely influenced his love of the outdoors.

It wasn’t until college at Sonoma State University that photography grabbed ahold of Kirk – in particular, landscapes. He immensely enjoyed two gifts his sophomore year – a poster of Ansel Adams’ “Clearing Winter Storm” and a book his Aunt gave him, “The Yosemite” – text by John Muir and photographs by renowned National Geographic photographer, Galen Rowell. These gifts produced two passions for Kirk; a burgeoning interest of fine art photography and a love of a National Park in his native California – Yosemite.

These passions lay dormant within Kirk for many years as he chose a lifestyle filled with music in his mid-20’s through late-30’s. He dedicated himself to the craft of vocals, harmonica and guitar musicianship, laying down harmonica tracks on Sonoma County band 5 AM’s first record, while being part of the vocal/old time band Tool Shed Trio. Ultimately, he decided to record a studio album – as a performing songwriter. “From The Underground” (2004) was a local and iTunes success, getting regular play on two Sonoma County radio stations.

As a business, music would not continue to flourish in Kirk’s life. In 2007, Kirk sold his 35mm film camera and purchased a digital camera to learn this emerging medium. It didn’t take long for Kirk’s passion to veer back to landscape photography and in 2010, with the help of friend and photography mentor Michael Frye and his wife Claudia Welch, Kirk found himself moving to the one place he loved since his early adulthood – Yosemite National Park. The move was clear: To immerse himself in the landscape of this famous Sierra Nevada destination with the goal to photograph it as much as possible. With persistence, Kirk acquired the job as staff photographer at the Ansel Adams Gallery in 2011, where he worked until November 2019.

Working at the gallery not only helped Kirk hone his photographic skills, but helped foster a new talent – that of a photography teacher! “I had no idea how much I loved to teach”, explains Kirk “It made my day when I saw the participants of my classes or one-on-one sessions have that ‘A-ha moment’ when they grasped a new camera skill or learned something new or contrary about Ansel Adams.” For Kirk, the best part about working at the Gallery was access to Yosemite for his photographic pursuits.

Kirk’s search for new subjects has led him most recently to blend his love of cycling with photographing the disciplines of cyclocross and road racing. February 2019 saw Kirk at the Cyclocross World Championships in Bogense, Denmark, shooting for Bay Area-based Cyclocross Magazine. He also followed several stages of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, photographing out on course, as well as behind the scenes at the host cities.

Kirk’s photography has been featured at The Ansel Adams Gallery, in addition to Yosemite Renaissance, Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento, Stellar Gallery in Oakhurst and The Wild & Scenic Festival in Nevada City, CA.

The Incomparable Valley
5-day Intensive Photography Workshop

From Milk Way to Stair Trails
5-day Intensive Nighttime Photography Workshop