I spent the last week in Colorado at Bear Mountain Ranch with 8 female hunters that are part of the National Rifle Association Woman’s Leadership Forum. On the last day one of the ladies asked me what was the craziest shoot I’ve ever been on. I looked up from my camera, smiled, and said “This one, but not in a bad way.”
Never have I been to Colorado and I didn’t know what to expect or worse, what to wear. Lets just say a tee shirt, long sleeve shirt, and a sweat shirt with a jacket wasn’t enough. Nor was a pair of jeans. 4:30 AM and my alarm was already going off. Tripped over myself a couple times when walking in the dark to the lodge for breakfast. The food was amazing and helped wake me up; that and it being 13 degrees outside. Grabed my camera with my portable hand held set up (indirails with the indisystem shoulder pad and Jag35 handles), and used my 17-50mm Sigma lens (love that lens and I recommend it to everyone). Hoped in the front seat of a Mule (the 4 wheeler not the animal) and took a 25 minute ride deep into the mountains. This is when I realized I needed double the clothes. We parked the mule and ventured about a half mile where we then sat for about an hour. By that time I was already numb so it was ok. I got some really good shots as the sun came up and the color temperature balance worked like a charm. It was hard to move into the perfect position without making much noise. Very good challenge for framing. The key I found is that smooth is fast.
By smooth I mean being patient and having long flowing shots that end on how I want the framing. Seeing as the hunter wasn’t going anywhere for a while I had plenty of time to get the shots I wanted and could try it a couple of times. It wasn’t until noon that we ate lunch again and from there on out I packed as many snacks as my pockets could fit (I love food and 6 hours without is just torture). A couple hours later we went out again and it was much warmer with the sun high in the sky. We came back after round 2 and ate dinner at 7. Bison striped steak on top of mashed potatoes, amazing.
The next couple of days went along the same way and I got to know the hunting guides very well. I can’t speak highly enough of them and how kind they were. I admit to being a city boy and the farthest thing from a hunter; I’m not even that interested in guns. But they were so cool and friendly that we grew a friendship by the end of the week. Made the shoot that much more fun.
The last two days we shot interviews of the ladies and the shots looked amazing due to the room we shot it in. The house itself was featured in Architectural Magazine in a July issue.
You might be asking, why is this the craziest shoot you’ve ever been on? Just because of woman hunters and waking up early? Shooting for almost 14 hours a day? No. Not even close. Maybe it was the Elk that charged at me after being shot 3 times. Yeah, that must be the reason.
Waiting on a hill I heard a gun shot and figured someone got something. With my camera I went running to the sound of the gun shot. Framed a shot of the lady in between two trees and got her taking a second shot. One of the hunting guides and I walked to the top of the hill to find the elk. I’ll spare the details but lets just say after a few events we thought it was dead. As I walked closer and when I put the camera on my shoulder the elk went crazy and charged at me along with the hunting guide. Luckily the tour guide was “prepared”. After all this the elk’s antlers got stuck in a tree which we then had to lift and then drag the elk about 100 yards to the truck’s wench. Crazy day to say the least but it was quite the adventure.
*All Pictures were shot with the Canon 7D – Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 and are untouched.