Visual-audio artist Dave Hanson didn’t need to search far and wide for inspiration for EchoBay book, merchandise, audio business

A new artistic business venture has been inspired almost entirely by excursions within a gallon or two of fuel from the Pelican Lake area. 

“Once you get Minnesota lake water in your veins–you just can’t get it out,” laughed photographer David Hanson, who has published a book and an unusual line of merchandise–transmitted through the lens of his Canon camera. 

Dave Hanson, Pelican Lake area, has published a book plus a variety of merchandise built around his very distinctive eye for outdoor images.

“Basically, all of these photos were taken within about ten miles of Pelican Lake,” said Hanson, who with his wife Pam, recently launched EchoBay.

Flagship of the new enterprise is a 42-page  book “The Way I See it,” which is a collection of  images of  lake, land, sky and field, which recently rolled off the presses.  So new is the business, that Hanson hasn’t even had time to peddle his merchandise to area retailers and shops–so the book and related merchandise are only available online, at Echobayart.com. 

The coffee table book features Hanson’s unique photographic perspective on familiar lake and farm country scenes. Tilled farm fields from Clay County;  and  lake landscapes from Otter Tail and Becker Counties; as well as waterfowl and wildlife.

“For years, I would take drives in the country.  I’d hit my usuals haunts,” said Hanson, who started shooting and set up a photo dark room as a teenager.  “There are days I would just go out and keep my mind and eye open.” 

From artistic hobby 

to creative business

The notion of transforming his hobby into a business wasn’t in the forefront, until friends and family continously asked about getting a copies of various photos.  “I kept the hobby more in the background, but I kept getting more and more requests,” said Hanson, a Fargo native who has owned property in the Pelican Lake area since 1987 . 

His creative energies are not only in the visual realm, but also audio.  

A pair of Canada geese on the shores of Pelican Lake, is the image of a book from his photo collection titled “The Way I see It”.

A musician with strong expertise in recording, Hanson has been in the advertising and musical “jingle” writing business for more than 30 years.  He sold his interest in the H2M advertising agency he owned for 18 years earlier in 2018, and he is “now on to another phase…I can’t imagine actually retiring completely because I have a lot of things I still want to do.” 

“EchoBay is a dream I’ve had for decades… based on a large personal collection of photographs I have taken,” said Hanson.  “ I’m staying quite busy and looking forward to building the EchoBay brand.”

Audio, music past includes 

recording artists “Overland Stage”

His passion for music is crafted into yet another EchoBay product: A compact disc “Serotonin Waters,” with material he composed and recorded, with some of the finest musicians in Fargo-Moorhead and the region.

Baby Boomers would bristle at the suggestion that they’ve become “oldtimers,” but you would need to be a veteran, longtime follower of the regional music scene to remember Hanson from the band “Overland Stage.”  

After, North Dakota-native singers Peggy Lee and Bobby Vee, ‘Overland Stage” was among the earlier Dakota-rooted music acts to sign an actual record deal–with the Epic label, back in 1972. Another familiar Pelican area resident, Steve Babb, was a bandmate.  Babb was later on stage for years in the lakes area, with the popular band “Shakers.”

“The Overland Stage record didn’t sell very well at the time but I learned about recording. I went into the recording studio business shortly after and transitioned that into a thriving ‘jingle’ business.” 

Hanson created music jingles by the hundreds

Dave and Pan Hanson’s EchoBay art merchandise includes products like the men’s tie, with Hanson images imprinted.

“I’ve written hundreds of jingles and hundreds of TV commercials,” said Hanson.  So extensive is his inventory of music bits, he hardly remembers many of them he created during his tenure in the advertising business. 

Two Hanson advertising campaigns the public will recall: Paradiso Mexican restaurants, with the line “chips are free, dinner extra. Also The Kroll’s Diner campaign, with the humorous grandmother figure in the commercial. “After 20 years, that one is still going,” said Hanson. 

Although he made a living in music and advertising, Hanson always pursued his passion for photography–which was influenced by the photography-themed avant gard motion picture “Blow Up”–yet another cultural reference from the bygone Baby Boom era.

Commutes from Fargo through farm and 

lake country provided visual inspiration

His commutes back and forth from the Pelican area to Fargo were convenient opportunities to further develop his photography interest. 

“I’d take some extra time on my drive home–driving gravel roads, looking for images.  It was a great way to relax at the end of the day,” said Hanson.  Those trips produced many of the images over the past 15 years, which have become EchoBay.  

To compliment the book project, Dave and Pam have incorporated the photography into a distinctive gift line, ranging from note cards to tote bags–and even men’s neckties. 

Introduction text in his new book aptly sums up Hanson’s version of semi-retirement in Minnesota. 

“Where we live, you can hear the loons laughing nightly for 8 months of the year. We experience four distinct seasons, each rich in color, shape and sound.”

“I love living here,” said Hanson.  “Absolutely love it…When I sold out of Fargo, I never looked back.”