Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Aside: Snowmobiling with a professional photographer

Image by Steven Willis Photography

During my National Brotherhood of Skier summit coverage in Winter Park this year, I carved out some free time to have some fun! I tried skiing for the first time. (Hated it, but I'm thinking I may do better if I take a private versus getting lost in a group class that's too large). I tried snowmobiling for the first time. I ROCKED IT! Can't tell you how much I loved it. Well, actually I can....since I did it TWICE!

I took a tour through Grand Adventurers. A tour guide teaches you how to operate the snowmobile, then leads you through a ride to the Continental Divide on trails through lovely scenery. Tours top out at nearly 12,000 feet with views of the entire Winter Park Ski area and the Fraser Valley. The second time I did the tour, I lucked out: turns out tour guide "Snowmobile Steve" was also professional photographer Steven Willis. All week, I had been seeing these fabulous photos showcasing the ski area, portraits taken in the mountains and other great winter experiences by Willis. I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to meet him.

Snowmobile Steve took several photos of me on my vehicle with my trusty Canon G9. But when he whipped out a professional grade Nikon and started shooting landscapes, all the pieces fell into place. I asked him what his name was, and he said, "Snowmobile Steve." "No! What's your real name? Is your last name Willis?" Yep, I was right! I felt honored to be having such a good experience with another photographer and I can't wait to purchase some of his tour shots. Here's a photo of Steve with the remnants of an old train track in the background:

It's so rare for me to actually get caught in front of the camera. So I was thrilled to have my photos taken by a professional during one of those rare moments when someone finally got to shoot me. Several of my friends say I look "hardcore Colorado" in these photos. I agree, and I hope this year will be the start of even more firsts that I really should have done ages ago: including camping, skydiving and white water rafting!

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