Jen Magnuson Photography - Visual Stories of Outdoor Adventure

Commercial and Editorial Photographer

Backpacking in the Colorado Wilderness

It has been unusually overcast and damp here in Denver for a few days. . .

and we are kind of spoiled with our 300 days of sunshine, so I am throwing it back to a more typical stretch of sunny autumn days on a backpacking trip in October.

Colorado's backcountry is so easy to access, and so infinite, that it makes shoots like this almost too easy.  It's still a feat to lug the camera gear necessary to make a shoot happen in the wilderness, but it's always worth the effort!

Adventure on the Rocks in Jackson, Wyoming

Snow is falling in Denver. . .

And I am chilling with my heeler puppy by a fire tonight, but I am dreaming of golden autumn in Wyoming. . . or the next snowshoe trip, or getting out on the brand news skis I just checked in for mounting. . .

Since moving west in 2015, I am still continually amazed by the number and quality of outdoor experiences at my fingertips!  Colorado constantly pushes me to reach for new experiences and to step out of my comfort zone, and in September, I pushed myself north into Wyoming to shake up my adventure photography, and push into new territory with respect to putting my work out there for editor's and art director's eyes.

While in Wyoming, I had the opportunity to shoot some talented climbers at some stunning locations including Corbett's Couloir at Jackson Hole Resort and Blacktail Butte in Grand Teton National Park.  Here are some of my favorite images from those two shoots!

Enjoy! Now, get outside and do something epic!

Mountain Biking in Golden, Colorado

Iranian Refugee looks to 2020 for Olympic Mountain Bike Dreams. . .

Thanksgiving morning, and it's still dark.  My car is loaded with cameras and lights, and I'm dressed like an alpine explorer.  I'm heading out to Golden, Colorado to meet with Sina Solouksaran, a mountain biking phenom originally from Iran.  Click his name to read about how he came to be exiled from his home country and forbidden from representing Iran on their national MTB team.  It's quite a story, and having had the opportunity to shoot with him, I can tell you that he's quite a rider too!

The trails at White Ranch were pretty deserted in the frigid pre-dawn darkness as Sina unloaded his bicycle, and I hooked up radio triggers and attached lights to clamps.  Snow flurries are falling, the wind is ripping across the ridges, and the sky beyond Denver is burning with emerging color.  It's perfect.  Here are my favorites from the morning. . .  I'll spare you the photos of the GIANT breakfast burritos we scarfed after the shoot!

Whitewater Kayaking on the Snake River, Jackson, Wyoming

Outdoor Adventure abounds in Jackson, Wyoming

In September, I had the opportunity to take a scenic six hour drive up to Jackson, Wyoming to spend the week shooting with some of the top outdoor adventure photographers and editors in the business.  I'll be sharing some of the images and stories from my Jackson adventure here.

Whitewater kayaking on the Snake River

In the pre-dawn darkness, we gathered in front of the Snow King Resort Hotel to board a bus to Jackson Hole Whitewater to spend the day on the river shooting some of Jackson's whitewater talent doing their thing on the rapids.  Outfitted with pfds and neoprene booties, we arrived at the put-in to golden morning sun filtering through the fog rising from the river.  It was perfection, and the day just got better as our guides shuttled us and our camera gear down the river.

Afternoon on the river

The fog burned off, and the guides graciously picked lines through the rapids that were least likely to splash too much water on our camera gear, but we got plenty wet regardless.  Shooting moving boats from a moving boat was no match for the Nikon 3-D autofocus feature, and as my memory cards filled up, I knew I was in for a hard edit!

A lunch break allowed us ample opportunities to shoot from the shore as the kayakers played in rapids nearby.  Here are a few of my favorites from the afternoon.


Check back for more outdoor adventure. . . Camping, Climbing, Trail Running. . .

And if you're intrigued about how I got the opportunity to spend the week working with the likes of Corey Rich, Lucas Gilman, Bo Bridges, Bob Smith, Dave Black, Jen Edney, Ryan Taylor, Brad Smith, Scott Willson, and Ron Taniwaki, well check out Summit Workshops Adventure Photography Workshop.  The participants the workshop attracts are all pretty dang amazing photographers as well.  I am more than grateful to have met all of the ridiculously talented people who participated!

Building on a Passion for Outdoor Adventure

I moved to Colorado after that blissfully tough time on the Appalachian Trail.  It was still summer, hot along the Front Range, and sunny with a slight chill in the mountains.  When it got too hot down in the 5,000 ft zone, we set off to visit some of our favorite spots. . . Mount Evans, Loveland Pass, Hoosier Pass. . .  I knew I needed to be shooting for my outdoor adventure portfolio.  I had even had the most amazing four hour conversation/brain picking session with one of my most admired commercial photographers, the very generous, Chip Kalback, when I was in Denver in July, so I KNEW what I needed to be doing, and I KNEW what to do with that work once I had created it.

I shot some nice nature work, some of which you can find for sale at Magnuson Photographic, where my husband, Jeff, and I sell some of our work.  I could not seem to bring myself to actually shoot for my portfolio.  I was paralyzed.  Fear of failure?  Fear of success?  The old "not good enough" belief creeping in?

I was creating a lot. . . of excuses.  I don't know who to get to model.  The weather is bad today.  It's too windy.  What if they ask for a permit, even though I'm only shooting for myself?  I need someone else to assist.  Too short notice.  The light is bad.  My batteries are all dead.  I should quit.  I suck at this.  I should just get a job.  What if I just see if I can get my medical history past a police department out here, and I go back to law enforcement.  I was really good at that.  I think I'll just concentrate on doing really awesome headshots for people!

Next thing I knew it's March, and I had shot literally two portfolio photos, both of Jeff, and both on a hike we did in September.  I finally called bullshit on myself.  I booked a date in the studio share I joined, and I packed up the car with tons of gear, clothing, Jeff's Specialized Roubaix Pro, and my photo equipment.  I was going to start with SOMETHING!

So here it is!  The beginning of my commercial outdoor adventure portfolio!  My model is a member of the winning Race Across the West 2011 Four Man Team RAAM.  He's an accomplished ultra-cyclist, and long distance backpacker.  He's my lighting assistant, my husband, and my greatest cheerleader.  I think he rocked this!

Outdoor Adventure Photography

Featuring 2011 Race Across the West Four Man Team Winner

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