Summit in Jackson Pt 1

This was it.  September was on me before I knew it, and suddenly the week of September 16th had arrived.  How could summer be over so fast?  I didn't have time to stop and think, I had to pack.  I was going out to Wyoming for the Summit Adventure Workshop.

I come from photographing sailing and coastal lifestyle, but I didn't want to be roped into the niche of only nautical photography.  I had had a taste of travel, and wanted to explore outdoor adventure photography as a whole.  Aside from sailing I also thoroughly enjoy yoga and recently discovered climbing, so to find a way to incorporate all these elements of my life into my work would be a great achievement.  And the adventure element helps bring travel into the mix.  

So I started looking for outdoor workshops, and I scoped out Summit last year.  I was immediately captivated by the idea of not only great locations and models for shooting, but the number of faculty involved, the business insights and portfolio feedback woven into the itinerary.  This wasn't just about the shooting, this was about bringing everything together to be a successful professional outdoor photographer.  But with a few other expenses of more pressing importance, I decided to put it off until 2016.  Then, this past April, I decided to book my spot and sent in a deposit to attend.  All summer it was in the back of my mind, and then in September it was finally becoming a reality!  This would be my first trip to Jackson, Wyoming, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Day One was all lectures and introduction.  We had students from mostly out west, including three of us from New England, one from Alaska, Hawaii, and even Scotland!  Everyone's skills and background varied.  A few people were just hobbyists or amateurs looking to move into the professional sphere.  Some were career wedding or portrait photographers looking to shoot what really excited them!  And there were a handful of us who came from professional outdoor photography looking to learn more about the adventure market.  But everyone had one thing in common, we all loved the outdoors.  Many of us enjoyed participating in things like yoga and climbing, biking, hiking, and running ourselves, and wanted to learn how to photograph it.  We all knew we had come to the right place to learn.

By Day Two we were outside shooting the brand new Treetop Adventure Park in Jackson.  This treetop park is an extensive ropes and obstacle course set in the trees, and while we took the time to practice some of the maneuvers and scout the location, it was rather difficult to accomplish with a camera in your hand!  Adventure photographer and workshop faculty Bo Bridges was standing by to help talk all of us through his thought process on approaching a new location, looking for shots, and working within a difficult environment.

Then it was onto stations for trail running with faculty  Ryan Taylor and yoga with Lucas Gilman teaching strobes and flash in outdoor settings.  It was the first day of shooting in the field and the workshop was keeping us very busy!  I hadn't done work with professional models before, but our athletes Aicacia and Julia were terrific to work with!  We would continue working with them throughout the week.

Every shoot we were challenged to find every angle, practice new techniques and tell a story.  Who were these people?  What were they doing?  What were the details of their routine that help illustrate their sport?  I approached every shoot with a quick shot list in my head:  small person in the big environment, authentic athlete portrait, and details details details.  

Day Three we took the tram up the mountain to Corbet's Couloir for rock climbing photography.  This world class climbing spot is located at the very top of a 10,000ft mountain with a stunning view of Jackson below.  I have spent all my life at sea level aside from visiting my uncle in Montana on a few occasions, and the altitude was very noticeable for me.  Being this high up was cold and windy, but we had a beautiful panorama of the Tetons.  World renowned climbing photographer Corey Rich was there on site to talk us through his approach to climbing photography, gear, tips and tricks.  That wasn't all though.  Our time at the summit was maximized by additional trail running, and I even had time to practice some fun portraits with Julia while we waited for our turn to shoot.  I was already thrilled by the wealth of knowledge and experiences so far, and we were only halfway through the week!

Stay tuned for more...

See my trip portfolio in the Jackson Hole Gallery


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