National Geographic Photo Seminar

Snowshoeing!I recently had the opportunity to join National Geographic Traveler photographer Jim Richardson and the magazine’s senior photo editor Dan Westergren for a one-day seminar on how to make successful travel photos. The fundamental idea was to expand your awareness and skills beyond simply producing “pretty pictures,” and discover how to capture the spirit of a place by using a cultural documentary approach to your travel photography.

It was an extraordinary event and I came away from the seminar armed with a greater knowledge of how to engage myself in the photography process and not simply be a participant in a “drive-by shooting.” I gained an greater understanding of how to more effectively utilize the gear I own and identified several “holes” in my inventory. Jim Richardson used a series of photographs to explain the concepts he was presenting. This learning approach was very effective and I gained not only knowledge in the process but was inspired by the photography itself to ‘get out there” and take more pictures than I have in the past.

I can see where I will eventually have to make the plunge to digital but for now I am happy with the gear I have. Well, almost. I learned from the seminar that a wide angle lens can create some very dramatic effects. And since I almost never use my telephoto lens I decided to sell it and get a wide angle lens. I got the lens sold with no trouble at all but the wide angle lens I want is on backorder so am having to wait for it.

Ronda and I made weekend getaway up to Idaho Springs and stayed at a resort that has natural hot springs. On Saturday morning we headed off to give my snowshoes their maiden voyage. The winds had been pretty nasty the previous day and were not much improved in the morning. It took a while to convince myself that I really wanted to do this…but eventually we geared up and headed into the blowing snow. The first half mile or so was pretty miserable but then we got into the forest and it improved considerably. We were not the first ones up the trail so we had a path to follow which helped some. It was really fun stomping over drifts that ranged from two to six foot high.

The trail goes to Chinn’s Lake which is about four miles. At approximately the halfway point it intersects the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) which is where these pictures were taken. We had to turn around there and head back or we would have missed our reservation at the resort for the private geothermal pool. The hot springs made a perfect ending to this little adventure.