Minnesotan in training: January 15, 2104


In my five years as a full-time journalist, I’ve met and worked with a lot of great people.
One of those people was Michael Fischer.
While his name may not sound familiar, there’s a chance you’ve seen photos he took of the Vikings when he covered them.
When I met Michael, he was working on nights and weekends as photographer for the Spencer Daily Reporter, where I was a staff writer for three years. As a business owner, he did the job because he enjoyed it, not just for a paycheck.
While I did not work directly with Michael on very many projects, I did get a chance to get to know him when he visited the office.
He always struck me as a very intelligent man, but not one that would use his intelligence to insult others. 
On several occasions, I remember Michael using that intellect and his way of communicating to defend stories myself or my coworkers had written.
He also shared his opinions while working on projects such as the Iowa Great Lakes Corridor Sports Source, which featured many of his photos, and also while taking photos to accompany a couple of my stories.
I remember two stories in particular, including one I would not have written had it not been for Michael.
To mark the death of a friend, several military veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts decided to visit their buddy’s home town of Spencer. My boss previewed what they were calling the “Squiggy Run,” and Michael took emotional photos of the event.
I remember relaxing on Memorial Day weekend when he called.
“Gabe, you have to do more of a story on these guys,” he told me. “There’s so much more to it.”
He couldn’t have been more right. It was amazing to meet Squiggy’s friends and family members and hear them talk about how he had touched their lives.
Now, I find myself doing that for Michael, as he passed away about a week ago.
Truth be told, I didn't know Michael as well as I would have liked. But, I did consider him a mentor on the topics of photography, business and life in general. 
Not only did he provide amazing images to complement the stories, but he helped make them better, largely by approaching things from a different angle and passing that insight on to me. 
While reflecting on memories of Michael, I dug through several old papers and most of them featured his work. 
Looking at those images reminded me that Mike wasn't just passionate about photography; he was passionate about people. 
That passion will be missed.
RIP Big Fisch.