ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — For many people, retirement is the reward for decades of hard work. But for one Anoka woman, it’s opened up a whole new career.

Marlene Sternberger dabbled in photography years ago until she became frustrated with it. But as Bill Hudson shows us, she now has the time to take it to a whole new level.

At 76, Sternberger might be retired, but her walks in the park are anything but leisurely.

The former maintenance mechanic is in hot pursuit of perfection in what she sees through the glass.

“I love the out of doors. I always have,” said Sternberger.

The self-taught wildlife photographer has a knack to capture just the right moment: wild critters big and small, undisturbed and mostly unnoticed.

From mink to toads, bald eagles to bluebirds, her images are breathtaking.

“To see little babies and see parents feed — like the first time,” said Sternberger.

On Wednesday, she set up to capture shots of nesting eagles. To photograph eagles, you need the eye of one! She doesn’t miss a thing.

Her lens has captured the serene and surreal, images of nature worthy of fame.

She says her reason for doing it is “self-gratification,” which she gets when others appreciate her work and passion.

“If it’s in focus, it’s perfect,” she said.

At the end of the day, she got one shot of a young eagle learning to take flight. It’s an image that will fuel her passion for life through the lens.

Sternberger said she discovers many of her subjects living around the Coon Rapids Regional Dam and in Elm Creek Park.

She added the wildlife is far more abundant here in the Twin Cities than in her former home of Detroit, Ill.


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