When a gorgeous photograph of Madison stops you mid-scroll on Instagram, there’s a good chance that image is courtesy of Sam Li.

The journalism and communication arts double major first picked up a camera the fall of his sophomore year. “I thought, hey, I’ll just mess around with this,” he says.

That messing around led to additional cameras, a strong social media following and paid photography and videography gigs.

Li, who is from Appleton and will start a job as a project manager at Epic Systems this summer, ranks architecture and nature as his preferred subject matter, and finds compelling examples of both in his travels.

But his college town continues to captivate him. “It’s easy to take photos in this city,” he says. 

Here are a few of his favorites:

Taken in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, this is one of my favorite architectural shots in Madison. The sense of scale and leading lines make this photo amazing.

This was taken in the Overture Center. I’m a sucker for cool staircases, so I always find myself shooting here.

A drone shot of Camp Randall. Shooting the Badger-Iowa game this past year was an absolute dream. I took the drone up last fall during sunset and ended up getting an amazing capture.

A drone shot of the Capitol. Probably my favorite shot I’ve ever taken. This photo was featured by Buzzfeed. No big deal.

This photo is taken from the observatory deck of the Capitol. A great example of “right time, right place.” This guy just walked out and started raising the flag up during sunset while I was shooting.

The Capitol during the fall.

Love this shot because of its uniqueness. I haven’t seen a lot of photographers get this angle of the Capitol and I’m glad I risked walking out on the ice to get it.

Probably the best sunset picture I’ve ever taken in Madison. Love the colors over Lake Mendota and you can see the Terrace in the distance.

A little more experimental of a picture. I’ve been getting into slightly photoshopping my pictures to achieve a different look. I added some fog into this photo and love the way turned out.

Permanently in love with this one. This was a huge milestone for me. I always wanted to shoot a Badger football game and I finally got the chance this past fall. The atmosphere was crazy in the stadium.