Summit Adventure Workshop Part 1: Overview, Treetop Adventure, and Mountain Biking

Around New Year’s last year, I was itching to get a vacation on the calendar and really wanted to try a photography workshop. I had read about the Summit Nature Workshop in the Grand Tetons through Outside magazine, and when I went to the website I saw that there was an adventure photography workshop the week prior that was also cheaper. I thought, “this sounds like a great way to test out of the company and get out of my comfort zone at the same time” and signed myself up.

It was great! I initally felt a bit out of place as a hobbyist amongst a bunch of folks that want to make adventure photography their career, but the instructors and others made me feel right at home. The instructors really high caliber and some of the “best of the best” in the industry, including but not limited to Corey Rich, Lucas Gilman, and Dave Black, all of whom are Nikon ambassadors. There were also a couple on the “buy side” of photography, and they provided a really good view of the business side of photography.

The workshop included plenty of time for one on one portfolio reviews, and was structured to have a few classroom sessions, including an image critique of the prior day’s images, then a shoot, and then after dinner the instructors were given the opportunity to tell their story/show off their portfolio. The image critique was really valuable, and the stories were all really interesting. One theme that I can relate to in the corporate world is that to be a great photographer, you have to be a master problem solver. No client will accept that they are not getting their images because you ran out of batteries. If there is one thing I tell my team constantly, it’s that I want them to bring me potential solutions, not just the problems! We got to witness this problem solving in action when the weather through us for a loop (snow!), but they always managed to find something for us to do.

All in all, it was a great trip and I hope to do the nature workshop in the next couple of years. The first day included both doing and shooting the treetop adventure course at Snow King Mountain (BEAUTIFUL), followed by mountain biking w/ a lesson on lighting. I really enjoyed getting advice on how to set the scene/tell the story from Bob, Bo, and Lucas. They were side by side with us giving us tips on different shots we could try for (including caution against being careful of the background), and how to coach the “models.” I also was trying to think outside the box to get some unique shots. It was my first time using external lighting, and I love the drama it adds to the shots!



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