2019 Poster and Artist

Ben Strauss

Our 2019 Wildflower Festival Poster features an incredible image by photogropher Ben Strauss. We are thrilled to feature such a beautiful and captivating photograph for this year’s poster, but even more excited to have Ben join us this summer for the Festival!

 

We spoke with Ben about his inspiration for this image and his connection to Crested Butte. Here’s what he had to say:

 

CBWF: Can you tell us about your Crested Butte connection? What brought you here? Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Ben: I grew up in Loveland Colorado and currently live in Fort Collins. I’ve spent a lot of time shooting Rocky Mountain National Park and other areas in Northern Colorado and wanted to head somewhere different. My mom and I planned a week-long photography trip to Crested Butte last summer because it’s the Wildflower Capital of Colorado and we knew we’d get some amazing landscape and wildflower shots.

 

CBWF: Your poster image is so beautiful! Tell us about what inspired you and what you did to create such a unique image.

Ben: During our trip to Crested Butte we camped at Lake Irwin, and I spent some time scouting and walking the trails and roads to find shots to photograph over the next few days. Along the road towards the old Irwin lodge I noticed a beautiful patch of asters with the lake and mountains behind them. I knew this would be an amazing photograph and I returned to this spot at sunrise for three mornings in a row until I was finally able to capture the perfect lighting for this image. I took a series of five shots panning vertically upward and used photo editing software to compose a vertical panorama, which became the final image for the poster.

 

CBWF: Tell me about your family, your passions, your job/work, hobbies.

Ben:  I grew up in the Fort Collins area and received two undergraduate degrees from Colorado State University in Music and Mechanical Engineering. I am currently a graduate student at CSU in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on renewable/solar engineering. I will graduate with my master’s degree this Spring and my fiancée Abby and I will start exploring places we’d like to live and work.

I love the outdoors, camping, hiking, and backpacking. My part-time photography business is a great excuse to get outdoors! I also enjoy mountain biking and am looking forward to doing some of that when I am in Crested Butte this summer. Please feel free to join me on some rides!

 

CBWF: Tell us about your experience becoming an artist. How has social media played a role?

Ben: My mother has been an avid photographer for many years, since the 80s. A little over two years ago she purchased a new digital camera and gave her old Cannon Rebel T4i to me. I was immediately hooked on landscape and nature photography! I love the technical challenge of hunting for the perfect shot and lighting while having the reward of producing amazing images. Editing is a huge part of the photography process and I enjoy the technical aspect of that as well. I’ve spent many hours learning photo editing software. Creating an image from the combination of shooting and editing filled a creative void that was left after I completed my undergraduate degree in music.

I started using social media as a way to share my images with an audience. Photography is rewarding in and of itself, but after a while you want to share your work with others. I started with Facebook, and still use it, but I found Instagram was the best and fastest way to grow my audience.

Instagram is really set up to showcase photographers. I started using it a little over a year ago with a following of about 50 people and now have an audience of over 20,000 followers. I started receiving requests for prints and photography tips through Instagram which led me to set up my own photography website. Now I can send people directly there through Instagram and they can purchase prints and photography tutorial videos.

 

CBWF: You’ll be joining us for the 2019 Festival, tell us about the workshops you will be leading.

Ben: Abby and I are really looking forward to attending the Wildflower Festival this summer. I’ll be leading a workshop on how to build your nature photography business on Instagram. I’m hoping to share what I’ve learned this past year and help other photographers build their audience.

 

CBWF: Anything else you’d like to share? Any advice for budding new artists?

Ben: I think it is important for photographers to connect with and help each other build their following through social media. Having that community has helped me so much and I am now connected with photographers like Ryan Dyar and Nick Page, who were my role models when I started.

I’d also encourage new photographers to keep at it! Once you find a location for that perfect shot keep going back to it until you get the lighting and everything else just right.

 

Ben will join us at our Member Appreciation Party on Tuesday, July 9th from 4:30-7pm to mingle with members.  Posters are available for purchase at our Headquarters (716 Elk Ave), the CB Chamber of Commerce, Gunnison Gallery, Rijk’s Gallery, Pema Dawa, and the CB Heritage Museum. You can also order it online at

www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com.

 

Follow Ben on Social Media!

Instagram: @benstraussphotography

Facebook: Ben Strauss Photography