BETHANIA, N.C. (WGHP) — Stan Lake is more than just a photographer. He’s a storyteller.

“I started making this documentary called ‘North Carolina Wild’ because I love North Carolina,” he said. “It kind of helps me get out of my head and into the woods.”

Stan’s passion is capturing the little things most of us don’t understand.

“I’ve always been fascinated with reptiles and amphibians. That’s my first love,” said the Iraq War Veteran. “They call me ‘critter getter overseas.’ That’s my call sign overseas.”

Stan has shared stories through articles and documentaries from the sands of war to the muddy banks of North Carolina.

“When you live in perpetual death, it makes you think a lot about life,” he said. “It made me think, ‘How can I give wonder to people who may pass by something that lives right in their backyard?'”

With his camera, he hopes his work will open people’s eyes to the value in all creation even the creepy, crawly ones. 

“This time of year, we have marbled salamander breeding, and they kind of take shifts in their pools,” he said. “It’s interesting there are mud puddles in the woods that you wouldn’t suspect, and they are teaming with life.”

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He’s even helping teach that value to kids with children’s books.

“It’s showing kids that there is all these magical things in the woods and even in their own backyards, and it shows they have the power to make a difference,” he said. “My hope is people will see things in a new way to even change their perspective.”

You can find Stan Lake’s work, books and documentaries here.