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Meet Dawn Wilson of Dawn Wilson Photography, LLC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Wilson.

Dawn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a child, I was always taking photos after my grandmother gave me my first camera. I still have all of the photo albums with the hundreds of photos from various events and outings. In high school I continued my interest in photography and writing by working on the yearbook staff, and then in college I was historian for the sorority I was active in (Alpha Epsilon Phi) and worked on the staff for the college newspaper. After college, however, I found I got away from photography for a little while as I started my career in marketing. Then in 1997, I met Aeric. We both loved to be outdoors and that rejuvenated my interest in photography. We moved to Colorado in 2002, which pushed my interest into nature photography more than ever. Exploring the Rocky Mountains and traveling to nearby states became a passion for us and we spent most of our free time hiking the many trails. In 2010, I lost my corporate job and started to question where my career was headed and if I was happy with the path I had taken for work. Since I had an abundance of time and little money while looking for a job, I pitched a column idea to the local newspaper about inexpensive travel. They loved the idea and the column continued for six years. Then 2012 happened. Aeric died unexpectedly in October. Three months later, my father died unexpectedly. Three months after that I decided to leave the corporate world to pursue my dreams as I was experiencing a hard lesson in how short and fragile life can be. I went full steam ahead in building a portfolio of images representing my brand, photography of wildlife at high altitudes and high latitudes of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. It was an amazing time of exploring many new areas and revisiting areas I had fallen in love with during my travels with Aeric. I started writing more and polishing my skills in photography. Then in the summer of 2015, I took one crazy leap when I decided to sell my home and buy an RV. There were so many places I wanted to explore and I found that being at trailheads in the morning was much better than staying in hotels and driving to reach the photo locations in the wee hours. It was beautiful; the freedom was amazing. And I was doing this all on my own, along with my two huskies and my two cats. Then another unexpected event happened in October 2015; I met Richard. I wasn’t looking to share my experience and I certainly wasn’t looking to settle down. I was loving my roaming existence. The beauty was that Richard was doing the same thing. By January the following year we combined our resources and bought a bigger RV. That summer we hit the road to Alaska and spent the summer exploring the northern state. We continued our travels through December of 2016 when we decided it was time to settle down a bit. We wound up in Estes Park, Colorado where we could be at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Since then, I have continued to build my photography, writing and guiding business. My latest project is to publish a book about some of my adventures with bears in Alaska. The book, BEARS of the Alaska Peninsula, is co-written with President of Friends of McNeil River, Drew Hamilton, and will be out in spring 2020.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been many struggles. The most prominent ones, as mentioned in the previous answer, were the loss of my Dad and Aeric. Losing the two men in my life in such a short period of time meant I had to learn a lot about myself and how I could — or couldn’t — survive. In hindsight, I am proud of what I have accomplished out of an extremely difficult time, but I have much more I plan to achieve. Photography is not an easy career path, and certainly not as financially stable as a corporate marketing job, but I am much happier pursuing my goals and hopefully making a difference in the lives of the animals in North America.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dawn Wilson Photography, LLC – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Dawn Wilson Photography is a writing and photography business focused on telling the stories of wildlife of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. I have four segments of my business: editorial content (writing and photography, including books, ebooks and articles), fine art prints (wildlife and wild lands), teaching (including presentations, guiding and workshops), and stock photography. Although I am known most for my wildlife photography, I do a substantial amount of landscape, travel and lifestyle photography as well. My most favorite type of photography is when I can combine wildlife in the landscape for an environmental portrait. This brings all of my interests together into telling the story about where an animal lives, what their environment is like, and creates a stunning scenic shot for articles and walls. I am most proud of the articles I have produced for a variety of publications, such as Colorado Life, Colorado Outdoors, Wyoming Wildlife, and Outdoor Photographer, that feature stunning images yet tell informative stories and content about the environment and the challenges our world faces.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am currently working on finishing up the book, Bears of the Alaska Peninsula, which is scheduled for a spring 2020 release. I am anticipating that the remainder of the year will be focused on promoting the book and its purpose: to raise awareness about what could be lost if Pebble Mine is built on the Alaska Peninsula. I have another book in the works that I hope to release maybe later in 2020 or early 2021. That book is the story about what led to my decision to live a life on the road; it is my Wild and Eat, Pray, Love. There will be a partner coffee table book with that adventure narrative that will feature the photos from my 15 months on the road. Otherwise, I continue to add new workshops to my schedule to share my natural history and photographic knowledge with others interested in capturing images of the natural world, including my annual Lake Clark National Park workshop to photograph bears. Other workshops include birds of Louisiana, wildlife of Rocky Mountain National Park, moose of Colorado, polar bears of Canada, fall colors of Colorado, wildflowers of Colorado, and winter wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. I also plan on adding more workshops in Alaska, including to photograph musk ox, bald eagles and Northern Lights, and possibly photo workshops with bighorn sheep, eastern shore birds and eastern fall colors.

Contact Info:

A brown bear sow (Ursus arctos) walks down the beach as her cubs beg to nurse on a cloudy day in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Two brown bears (Ursus arctos) play in the water on a cloudy day in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Two bull elk (Cervus elaphus) stand on a ridge along Trail Ridge Road as first light illuminates Longs Peak in the distance in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

A bull elk (Cervus elaphus) stops and bugles on a snowy morning in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

A bighorn ram (Ovis canadensis) looks at the camera through the horn of another ram in the Shoshone National Forest near Cody, Wyoming

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stops for a portrait in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Image Credit:
All images except one were taken by me with a credit of: Dawn Wilson Photography. The image of me in waders was taken by John Miguez.

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