Last month, the 4UR Ranch hosted a photography class sponsored by the  Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). It was taught by Mike Blakeman, an accomplished photographer who has been donating his time and contributing his expertise to RIGHT for several years.

What is RiGHT?

RiGHT was founded in 1999. It is a non-profit organization that works with private landowners, public agencies, and other conservation organizations to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife habitat of the area and to promote a sustainable agricultural lifestyle. RiGHT’s goals are to protect and support working ranches and farms, water resources, wildlife habitat, scenic landscapes, and inspire a culture of conservation in the San Luis Valley.

The 4UR Ranch strongly supports the values of this organization and is just one of the many conservation easements held by RiGHT throughout the San Luis Valley.

The Photography Workshop

When we were approached to host this photography workshop, it was with much joy that we accepted. The workshop gave many budding (and seasoned) artists and photographers a chance to visit the 4UR Ranch and experience the natural fall beauty of the Goose Creek Valley. One of our own crew was able to join in on the workshop, and rediscovered an appreciation for the gorgeous landscape we work in every day.

man speaks to photography workshop and showcases sample photography

Accomplished Photographer Mike Blakeman instructs group before sending them out to shoot

woman with camera takes picture of creek on fly fishing guest ranch

A photographer looks for the perfect shot of Goose Creek

This was the first photography workshop RiGHT has offered since 2011. Photographers gathered at 9am outside the corrals of our historic barn for a brief introduction by Mike Blakeman. Mike gave instruction on how to better understand lighting, composition, and how to tell stories through pictures. The group was sent off to experiment with taking photos based on contrast, texture, patterns, depth of field, color and movement. The workshop came to an end by 1pm.

A few studies we shot with our camera: 🙂

close up of grill on an old ford tractor in the colorado moountains

Old Ford Tractor

black and white cat rolls on dirt road

Tippy and Roll

wagon wheel leans against rough side of barn

Wagon Wheel

horse sniffs camera and gets clear shot of whiskers

Scent of the Horse
detail texture/movement

close up of cracked dirt road

Cracked Dirt Road

boar goat looks inquisitivly at camera through hog wire

Curious Valentine
depth of field

Mr. Blakeman has volunteered his time and expertise for this and other workshops over the years. He has been involved with Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust since their beginning.  Mike grew up in southern New Hampshire and watched the agricultural land and forest around him turn into subdivisions, offices and commercial property. He was saddened to see his small hometown become overgrown and congested, and yearned for wide-open spaces. Mike moved to Creede in the late 70’s, and now resides in Monte Vista. He works for the US Forest Service and continues to volunteer for RiGHT as he believes “you can’t appreciate what you have unless you get out and enjoy it!”

accomplished photographer speaks to class in front of colorado ranch barn

Mike Blakeman concludes workshop: “You can’t appreciate what you have unless you get out and enjoy it!”