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 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:

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, 


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!



Ansel Adams Gallery Contest

Hey everyone-

So, I entered some of my photos into a contest at The Ansel Adams Gallery- phase 1 voting is underway through the end of November and I sure would appreciate your votes so my photo(s) can make it to the judging phase!

Please take a look if you have time at

Once you get there, first click “view photos already submitted.” My 3 photos are on pages 6 and 7(recently added). On page 6 you will find Up close, Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Love and Light, and then on page 7 you’ll see Full Moon Climbing.

I sure appreciate it, and if you like, please share with your friends!

Namaste, Matthew


First, let me just say that I cannot believe we are halfway through November. It seems as New Years 2011 was just a few days ago and I was watching my TCU Frogs beat the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl! Good Memories.

Upon thinking about it, there are several reasons this year has passed at a sprinters pace and it all comes down to running around like crazy all year. Busy in such a good way though because I have seen many amazing places from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the 14,000+ mountain tops in Colorado, to standing atop the tallest waterfall in North America- Yosemite Falls.

The past several weeks have seen my attention on two main projects which have both been very exciting, yet very challenging. As you may know, photography is a great passion of mine and so when I return from my many adventures, I like to share the best of the best photos. While Facebook and other social media are great ways to achieve this, I had been wanting my own web-gallery for some time. The thing here is that I am not a computer genius by any means so creating a website proved to be a great learning opportunity. Content and design were no issue, but translating that into web code was an entirely new and often times frustrating experience. But, it’s done, so please check out and let me know what you think!

My second project has also been a lot of fun, but a part of it was very difficult for me and I can’t quite figure out why. My favorite outfitter, Backwoods, is having a contest that they call The Ultimate Outsider and I am entering to prove that I am that person! The prizes are pretty amazing, but I honestly would love the title because I really do love adventure of all kinds an helping others seek excitement in their lives. In order to create an entry that stands out, I decided to make a video… the meat of which is a photo montage of my many adventures showing me and others in the great outdoors. But starting and ending the video is where I had a big challenge because I do not like being on camera. After many tries, I finally have it finished, so check it out as well. I like it, but I wish I was more comfortable on camera because I could potentially have made something really cool for this. Here it is:

For now, I’m happy and let’s hope the judges like it too. Maybe one of these day’s I’ll have more confidence on camera; I welcome that day! At least I can say that I have overcome my latest challenges and both my website and Ultimate Outsider video are uploaded online, and live. Woohoo!

Hope you had a great start to your week. Namaste, Matthew

Adventure Your Way

If your family and friends are anything like mine, they probably associate the word adventure with the traditional definition; Adventure: a) an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.  In my life, these folks see the Holiday Inn as “roughing it” and think I am crazy for spending vacation exploring dangerous activities like backpacking and climbing. It has been my own personal experience that most of these people think that there is no place for them in the outdoors and that they will avoid adventure and stick with the city. After spending a week in Yosemite National Park, I can assure you that adventure is for everyone and here is my experience.

A few months ago my cousin received the coolest birthday present- his parents gave him a guided day of photography with the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. I have always dreamed of being a photographer, so when I was asked if I would like to go with him, I immediately jumped all over it. Being an avid outdoorsman, my first thought was that I absolutely had to climb the iconic Half Dome while I was there. So six months in advance I got my permit to climb, and planned to hike as much as I could in one of America’s greatest gems. Upon arrival, me permit day was forecast as rainy, snowy and foggy, and immediately my dreams of Half Dome were gone.

Disappointed at first, I was forced to find a new adventure, in a new way. Throughout the week I was reminded that adventure has another definition; Adventure: b) an exciting or remarkable experience.  If you are open to new and exciting experiences, then the adventure will find you. My week in Yosemite Valley was just that, nothing short of remarkable and inspiring and included some hiking, lots of photography, laughing and inspiration.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and this week provided the exact adventure that my life needed… a get-away from stress. I have always looked to the outdoors when I wanted an escape, but not always this way. If the weather had been perfect that day I would have attempted the 14 hour day, not spent time with family and missed out on some of the best photo’s (in my opinion) that I have ever taken. By missing out on Half Dome’s cable route, I found creativity and serenity (not to mention other amazing hikes in the park which many people don’t ever think about.)

By the end of the week I was ready to quit my job and be a park ranger. I must say this is a frequent feeling I get when I head back to the city, but something about Yosemite Valley brings peace. I encourage you to add this amazing national treasure to your bucket list. Please enjoy some of the photograph’s from that week.

Explore Away!