The Outbound Collective

Good Morning Party People! It’s a beautiful summer morning in Boulder and I am trying to get through this morning so I can get out of this office, finish last minute packing and head to the #ORshow in Salt Lake City.

However, I wanted to take a few minutes and show you a new project I’m working on… I am now writing content for The Outbound Collective, a resource to help make outdoor adventures easy and accessible for everyone! Head on over there and search your local area for adventures, and while you are there, don’t forget to check out my posts here. The first of which is about Fly Fishing in Crystal Lakes outside of Leadville, Colorado.

Have a great day and stay tuned for more adventures to be featured on The Outbound Collective!

Cheers,

Matthew

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Outdoor Retailer Summer 2015

I was sitting at an adventure photography workshop last fall getting inspiration and learning new ways to market myself and my photography business and all I kept hearing was, GO TO OR, you MUST go to OR, you won’t regret it… Well here I am, almost a year later, the day before arriving in Salt Lake City for 2015’s Summer Outdoor Retailer trade show.

First, I have to say that I can’t even believe that I am going to OR. I have been following it for years from the outside, each show watching the twitterverse blow up with outdoor industry excitement. So, the fact that I am even writing this is surreal.
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For the past couple weeks I have been working on projects like a crazy man trying to prepare for this event. I’ve been working on a special OR webpage on my site, OR marketing materials (which I’ve uploaded here for your viewing pleasure), and trying to blow my social media channels to engage in the conversation, network, and plan events to partake in at OR. Special shout out here to my dear friends John and Tiffany for letting me bounce ideas off of them and providing their input and expertise.

The best piece of advice I’ve seen about OR can be summarized as stay hydrated (and ready to drink beer), wear comfortable walking shoes, and be prepared for something awesome to happen. Well, I am not short on water bottles, 5x5.Square.front2.finalhave some badass new shoes (thanks Ryan and Ani for putting up with me in our shopping endeavors over two days…), and am ready for something awesome to happen.

Looking forward to reporting back in a few days about the experience and everything that I’ve been able to learn! Here’s to new friends, acquaintances and hopefully some new connections and opportunities for Matthewbe Photography!

Cheers.

Matthew

Steller and New Year Adventures

Have you heard of Steller? It’s a fun new social media which allows you to post short stories in the form of photo essays. While Instagram publishes one photo at a time which allows you to share a single moment, Steller is a collection of photos or videos which allow you to share an experience. There are some absolutely beautiful Steller stories being published out there and I definitely encourage you to check them out! I just published my first story on Steller, more on that below.

As many of you know, I recently returned from a winter adventure trip to the Great White North where I explored a little bit of Alberta and its beautiful Banff and Jasper National Parks. This ended up being a last minute adventure and we first booked a flight to Calgary, then started planning the rest only a couple weeks prior to departure. As you are likely aware, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest travel week of the year, so not all that surprising, both towns of Banff and Jasper (and everywhere else) were completely booked. Then we found out that no SUV’s or all-wheel drive vehicles were available for rent that week, and we started to get nervous.

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Growing frustrated and concerned that we may not be able to make the trip happen, some luck passed our way. Turns out some friends who have recently moved to Calgary were flying back to the U.S. for the holidays and their SUV would be sitting in airport parking.

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This is me tying bags on top of the car in -5°

They were gracious enough to let us use it for the week, which helped us and saved them outrageous parking fees. Then, we happened upon the Town of Canmore where we found a “charming” little condo, literally part of a shopping center that held both a Thai and Asian BBQ restaurants, and the Quikieh Asian Market. This shopping center was also about 15ft from the regularly used train tracks. What’s not to like about readily available Asian food and freight trains to help you sleep? Actually, the character of our condo really grew on us, the town itself was beautiful, and the people were exceptionally welcoming and lived up to the hospitable Canadian stereotypes. Canmore sits just outside of Banff National Park, and while it may have been a little further away, it was full of character and we had a blast. I highly recommend that you at least make it a stop on your next Alberta vacation!

Our adventures included hiking, snowshoeing, exploring slot canyons, trail-running, walking on frozen lakes and rivers, cross-country skiing and dog-sledding, and I was there with my camera the entire time. I figured this was the perfect time to post my first Steller Story, and I’ve aptly named it Valhalla, as the story showcases images from one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Please take a look and if you enjoy, please share!

What adventures do you have planned for 2015? I’m definitely hoping for more to come! Stay tuned, and as always keep checking back with the website or Facebook page for the latest happenings of Matthewbe Photography.

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The Universe Is Always On Our Side

“Hey, have you ever had any yoga portraits taken, Sarah?” I inquired one day after she lead a butt-kicking yoga class. With a big smile, “I have thought about it, but not yet…” Sarah responded.

When I asked if she would be interested in a yoga portrait shoot, Sarah jumped at the opportunity and we agreed that we would have an absolute blast. You see, Sarah Shafer is one of those people will incredible energy, full of life and laughter, and I was absolutely stoked to get the chance to photograph her beautiful yoga practice.

Over the next few weeks we tried to get a time set, but for one reason or another, challenge after challenge kept preventing our shoot. Eventually we got the date set for a Friday afternoon portrait session, outdoors in a wheat field, with the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, and I couldn’t wait to get out there.

Two days before the session I checked the forecast and was horrified when I saw that there was a 70% chance of thunderstorms for Friday… surely, after all the time spent to get to this week, the universe wouldn’t shut us out. Friday afternoon came, and when I looked out the window towards our location, all I saw were rain clouds as dark and ominous as any I had seen. At that exact moment I got a message from Sarah, “Should we go for it? It looks pretty nasty outside, but I’m game if you are!”

There was no way we weren’t doing this and we decided to take the adventure, against the odds, and figured that if nothing else, we could always just go have a glass of wine. Driving to the spot was rainy, windy, and I think even a bit of hail dropped from the sky; the universe was trying to scare us away, but we pressed on, and I could not be happier that we did!

Knowing this was an outdoor shoot and that we wanted to be shooting right at “golden hour,” we had scheduled some buffer time, which I have learned is always crucial for success. It drizzled on us for 30 minutes or so, then all of a sudden the atmosphere decided to cooperate and the weather moved away. Over the next 45 minutes, the sky kept getting better, provided a vibrant double rainbow, and culminated with one of the most amazing sunsets that I have seen in Colorado.

So glad we didn’t cancel that day… I hope you enjoy some of the shots from Sarah’s yoga portrait session and that Friday adventure.

For more information on a Yoga Portrait Session of your practice, contact www.matthewbe.com. Continue reading

Summit Adventure Photography Workshop

I’ve been having a blast at the Adventure Photography Workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the last couple days and am super excited to have another 4 days of this intensive, on-site photography shoot. This week is a mix of classroom learning during the day and photo shoots in the morning and evenings. This workshop is focused on Adventure Photography for both commercial and editorial purposes and there are no better instructors for these than the editors and photographers that are here on site, absolutely world class including the Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic, and several Nat Geo photographers. Pretty awesome to learn from these people. So far we’ve completed the mountain biking, trail running and yoga photo shoots and here are some samples of my work so far. 

Also, please be sure to check out the awesome folks who make this possible at Clarkson Creative: 

http://www.photographyatthesummit.com/workshops/adventure/

http://www.clarkson-creative.com/

Here are some shots from yesterday: 

Yogi in the garden.

Yogi in the garden.

Trail runner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Trail runner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Trail runner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Trail runner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Trail runner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Mountain biker taking a break from riding the trail and jumping in beautiful sunrise light.

Mountain biker taking a break from riding the trail and jumping in beautiful sunrise light.

Mountain biker riding the trail and jumping in beautiful sunrise light.

Mountain biker riding the trail and jumping in beautiful sunrise light.

I’ll post another update as the week progresses!

Happy Trails, 

Matthew

New Toys For A Weekend Of Fun

I’ve always been the instant gratification type. I typically don’t like to wait around for something that I’ve ordered; if I’ve paid for it, I want to be able to play with it… now! In fact, I rarely purchase items online if I can find them locally, for this reason. However there are times when it’s necessary and I had been wanting a lens that isn’t very common, and I reluctantly placed the order online. So when my new wide angle lens, the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, arrived last Friday, I couldn’t wait to get it out in the field and play with it. This isn’t a review of the lens (if you would to read on the specs, click over to B&H here), but rather a quick entry on a fun weekend, filled with laughter, camping, stars and night photography with my new lens.

 

A photographers best friend is light, so photographing night scenes comes with a few special challenges as there is very low light available. But the rewards are often great, with beautiful shots of the moon, stars and milky way. There are a few rules that must be followed, and I won’t bore you with those, but with this 14mm f/2.8 lens and an exposure time of 30 seconds, I did manage to get a few shots that I enjoy. I only had a few minutes to shoot the stars as the moon came out pretty early which made all but the brightest stars disappear, so I cannot wait to get back out and set up some additional scenes. But I wanted to share what I was able to capture so far! I hope you enjoy these.

 

 

Have a great start to your week!

Namaste,

Matthew

QUANDARY PEAK WINTER 14er ADVENTURE WEDDING, BRECKENRIDGE COLORADO

As an adventure photographer, I never know what request may come my way. I was recently honored when a friend asked if I would be interested in photographing her wedding on top of Quandary Peak, the 13th highest mountain in the State of Colorado. This mountain is one of the 53 peaks in Colorado that reach above 14,000ft, referred to as a 14er (if you would like to read more on 14ers, check out 14ers.com). While I frequent these mountains during the summer climbing season, I’ve never stood on the summit in winter, and for good reason, as they can be substantially more challenging in winter. Having said that, it had been a goal of mine to climb a 14er in winter for quite some time, and I jumped at the opportunity. This wedding was among the most challenging shoots I’ve had, and I’m so happy that I was able to document it.

The alarm went off at 5AM on a cold Wednesday morning in Breckenridge, Colorado where I got dressed in multiple layers, and stuffed a backpack full of food and photography equipment. I left the hotel to reach the trailhead by 6AM in order to meet up with the lovely couple, Marya and Nick, their friends Matt and Amy, and our guide/officiant for the wedding, Leslie Ross of Summit Celebrants. As we started the long hike, we could not have asked for a more perfect morning as we were blessed with beautiful skies above, relatively mild temperatures (by winter standards in the mountains) and no wind.

The Hike up Quandary Begins

Marya and Nick Ready for Quandary

One of the amazing things about the Rocky Mountains (and any mountain for that matter) is how they create their own weather, and manage to change it almost immediately. I like to call them moody, and you always want to climb when they are happy! This day was no different, and in a matter of minutes our beautiful calm morning evolved into a winter storm complete with snow, wind and white-out conditions. I’ve often said that mountains will fight to get in your head and try to talk you into turning around before reaching the summit. But this day was different; it’s as if the mountain was challenging Marya and Nick, testing their resilience and commitment to one another as a final assessment before they united in marriage. I wondered for a little while if we’d make it.

Panoramic of Quandary

However, these thoughts were never more than a simple flash in my mind. Every time one came along, I looked around and saw the smiles on both Marya and Nicks’ faces. While I may have worried a bit they were having the time of their life!

Before I knew it, we were approaching 14,000ft, and one of my favorite shots of the day set up naturally when Marya and Nick were climbing above me and stopped, facing one another to take a break, with Nick about 30ft above Marya. It is a shot that, if posed, would never look right. However, it set up naturally in a moment that spoke perfectly to why we were on Quandary Peak that day. Marya and Nick were hiking the same trail, it was the final push to the summit, the air was thin and it took a lot of effort, but the goal made it worthwhile. For me, it tells the story of this adventurous couple who had chosen to hike together for the rest of their lives, face obstacles together, and to jointly overcome the challenges to reach the summit. The story it tells made me fall in love with this photo.

Marya and Nick on Quandary

Shortly thereafter we reached the 14,265ft summit of Quandary Peak, and as we did, the snow lightened up to nothing but a few flurries, the clouds lifted slightly to beautiful views and the wind became (somewhat) more manageable. It’s as if the once challenging mountains were now welcoming Marya and Nick to married life with a break in the weather.

View from Quandary

Our Summit Celebrant, Leslie Ross, married Marya and Nick in a beautiful ceremony. If you are interested in an outdoor adventure wedding, definitely check out her website at www.summitcelebrant.com, or send her an email, leslie@summitcelebrant.com. This wedding wouldn’t have been the same without her.

Wedding Vows on Quandary

Just Married on Quandary

Of course now it was time to party, but first we had to descend back down the mountain.   Right as we began the down-climb, the wind howled again. I like to think that the mountain was celebrating with us and yelling congratulations and good luck!

Back at the trailhead, the champagne cork was popped, and the celebration continued with laughter, smiles, friendship, and of course, the happiness that spilled from the newlyweds.

Cheers to Wedding on Quandary

It’s always fun to share life events with people, and I was truly honored that Marya and Nick wanted to involve me in their adventure wedding.   Adventure photography is about photographing challenging experiences of any kind, and this hike up Quandary Peak in the winter was no different- it was a ton of fun with some excellent shots, good friends, and overall temperamental winter weather.

Happy Trails everyone!