In summer, the Western Slope of Colorado is simply amazing: mid-70s and sunny, afternoon rain showers...often accompanied by lightning, world-class mountain biking, and wildflowers growing on mountainsides as far as the eye can see. My most recent trip back to the Gunnison Valley, a place I called home for 6 years, was in a new capacity: as teacher. 10 students, all avid amateur photographers, came to meet me in the Rocky Mountains for 4 days of shooting and photography instruction. The first two days were spent photographing the Western lifestyle, culture, and people of the 111th Cattleman's Days Rodeo in Gunnison. We then shifted our attention to the beautiful environment surrounding us, learning landscape technique amidst the wildflowers, streams, and lakes in the mountains around Crested Butte.
At the rodeo, the students worked with their cameras and the dust kicked up. Bareback riders were getting pumped, tightening gloves and kicking in the air, country music blared...the intensity was palpable. We found ourselves in warm afternoon light with an iconic subject and no one was paying attention to us, a photographer's dream. As the students shot, I worked right along side them...instructing and shooting simultaneously. We had class time and critiques, yes, but the real learning was happening behind the lens, together. I am certain this is the beginning of a new relationship with photography. Enjoy these favorites from my shoot...two afternoons at the rodeo...