Jen Magnuson Photography - Visual Stories of Outdoor Adventure

Commercial and Editorial Photographer

Fly Fishing on the Colorado River

There is more to fly fishing the Colorado River than I expected.

There's an art and a science to it all, much like photography.

I woke in the pre-dawn hours to load a massive amount of gear into the car and make the Drive from Denver to Silverthorne to meet my model and continue on to our shoot location on the Colorado River.

Sarah is an accomplished snowboarder, ski instructor, backpacker, and angler.  She's an all around outdoor badass, and I learned a ton from her as I photographed her day starting as she prepared her rod and reel, carefully choosing which flies to use for the time of day and the bugs present on the river.  We hiked down to a spot she knew would have good fishing, and she told me how fly fishing was all about reading the river, the weather, the bugs, and imitating nature to fool the fish into biting.  It was fascinating to document how carefully she would read the mud on the bottom of a rock and change flies based on the different bugs that hatched into the air as the day warmed.

Even though I was working without an assistant that day, I managed to lug three cameras, eight lenses, and a strobe with a long throw reflector on the sometimes muddy hike up and down the shore.

Here are some of the highlights of the day:



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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Backpacking Vertical 1.jpg