I ran across an old photo today (at the top of this article). It was taken in the Summer of 1970. That’s me and my dad, in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. We were on vacation. I think I had been there maybe one other time earlier when I was littler. I don’t recall.
This was the trip where I fell in love with a place. At the age of 10, I fell in love with Rocky Mountain National Park.
I have since been there many many times, and see it almost as a second home to me now. Back then, as a 10 year old, and then later as a teen, I saw it as a place of transcendent magical beauty. To put it mildly, I was in awe of it’s allure and mountain majesty.
By the time I was 17, I fell in love all over again.
This time, I was in love with photography.
Here I am at age 17, with my brand new Pentax KX SLR camera, photographing my favorite national park with Kodachrome 64 Slide Film.
I can’t imagine of a better place to explore and photograph. My love of Rocky Mountain National Park keeps me coming back year after year.
I know the park, I know the wildlife (some even by NAME). I know the mountains, the trails, the rivers, the waterfalls, the lakes, the best stands of Aspen in the Fall, the places where we are most likely to find the moose, elk, bighorn sheep, bears, pika and marmots.
Words are inadequate to really express what this park means to me. It is not just a place I love. It is a part of me, from childhood memories, travels with my mom and dad who are no longer alive, to more recent years where I have had countless wonderful experiences with the many people I have led through the park on our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops.
I feel particularly blessed and honored to have had so many people allow me to introduce them to the park I love, as we have gone out and photographed the this place in all of its beauty.
We have gotten up very early (and I mean VERY EARLY) to photograph sunrises from the side of a mountain, and elk in the early morning light. We’ve had occasional unexpected close encounters with wildlife (safe, but the experiences made it a bit exciting). We’ve sat on boulders on the shoreline of a mountain lake in the middle of the night photographing the Milky Way. We’ve thrown snowballs at each other. We’ve hunted “Bullwinkle” (as some folks have called the bull moose). We’ve enjoyed meals together, and cookouts on Fall River, shared a few beers/wine while relaxing as we shared stories about our day’s experiences. We have grown as friends, with many folks returning multiple times. We’ve hiked together, laughed together, and sometimes even cried together.
I am grateful beyond words for the many opportunities I have had to introduce people to the place I love and help them with the art I love.
If you have not yet joined me on a Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop, I invite you to join me. I will introduce you to my first love, and my second love. I want you to love them too.