Jen Magnuson Photography - Visual Stories of Outdoor Adventure

Commercial and Editorial Photographer

Elk Hunting in the Arapaho National Forest

Colorado's National Forests offer up some of the most scenic places for outdoor recreation.  And hunting on public lands can not only feed your appetite for adventure, but it can feed your family too.

As elk hunting season gets going in Colorado, I ventured out into the Arapaho National Forest with Jenn and Carson to create some stock images for Aurora Photos.  Jenn showed Carson the ropes, helping him safely load his magazines, scout for elk, and operate his bolt-action rifle.

Though everything about this hunt was staged for safety reasons, and the live ammunition was put safely back into the truck after it was done serving it's purpose as a prop, I wish Jenn and Carson luck on their real hunting season.  The burgers they made with last year's elk were amazing, and I know Hicker the Heeler is anxious to steal another one this year if he gets the opportunity!

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!

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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