When You Meet One of Your Heroes, It's Exciting...
Originally posted May23, 2012
...When You Spend Four Days with One, It's Special
For whatever my opinion is worth, the top three outdoor photographers in America are Moose Peterson, Michael Forsberg, and Joel Sartore. Forsberg and Sartore, interestingly, are from right here in Lincoln, which is not exactly scenic central, but that's a story for another day.
Most landscape and/or wildlife photographers that are household names...at least to other photographers...hail from somewhere in the western United States. And if you think about it, that makes sense. The opportunities to not only take engaging pictures, but to grow and develop as a photographer are just so much more abundant anywhere west of the Front Range of the Rockies that it makes sense that the region would produce greater numbers of more talented picture takers.
Moose - and that's his real given name - Peterson is from out there. He's a native Californian who makes his home in the Sierras and travels constantly throughout the year, taking photographs and putting on workshops and clinics for shooters who would like to emulate his art and talent. He has a photo library of 2.5 million pictures; he has a wildly popular website where he posts blog entries on at least a daily basis; he's published two books and numerous magazine articles on outdoor photography: and B and H Photo, in New York, has recently installed an 800 number for its "Moose Hotline" where the faithful can access products Moose has found useful and recommends (he's in the employ of none of them, even Nikon, and he's a Nikon icon). Suffice it to say that to a lot of folks carrying a camera around, the guys' hot.
And he's been one of my photography heroes for a couple of years now. I've read both his books, read each and every one of his magazine articles, have and refer to his Yellowstone CD, and check in with his blog just about every day. When I've read about his upcoming workshops, it always calls up wistful thoughts of attending one, but they are invariably a long way from Nebraska, and also, they're not cheap. But that all changed about six months ago when Moose announced that he and long-time associate, Kevin Dobler, were launching the series, K & M Adventures, informal opportunities to spend time with Moose and Kevin in a relaxed and informal setting devoted to taking photos, learning more about photography, and having fun. The exact agenda at each Adventure would kind of unfold as things went along, guided both by Moose and the interests of the participants. AND GET THIS: The second K & M Adventure would be held in the Black Hills of South Dakota - right next door - May 17-20, 2012! I immediately sent off a deposit and slogged through the Nebraska winter and a session of the Unicameral dreaming of spending time with Moose in the Springtime Custer State Park.
The day to leave for the Black Hills did inevitably arrive, and I headed off in an SUV loaded with just about every piece of photo gear I own, except for two or three items that I left at home, but it turned out I really needed. (Isn't that always the way.)
I returned to Lincoln a couple of days ago, having shot 2,971 frames, got out of bed for every sunrise, met and enjoyed the company of a half-dozen other middle-aged white guys who'd love to be just like Moose, and in the bargain became well enough acquainted with Moose to legitimately call him a friend. He's the guy running the video camera in the photo included with this blog entry, while being photographed doing so by Kevin. If there's a fascinating aspect to him...and there most certainly is more than one...it is how he manages to maintain such an intense interest and schedule and never burns out on taking pictures. He's interesting and a good conversationalist so long as you're talking about photography, computers, or wildlife. Once the subject turns from those topics, he really doesn't have that much to say. (Kevin, on the other hand, is a structural integrity engineer at Cessna in Wichita and a fellow airplane driver. Maybe you think that we didn't find a lot to discuss.)
Suffice it to say that the South Dakota K & M Adventure was all I had hoped for and well worth the time and expense involved, and waiting through a Nebraska winter for. In the days ahead, I'll be adding several pictures to this website from the photos I shot while I was in Custer State Park. I hope you'll enjoy them.
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