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Photographer Greg Frozley traded one career for another

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Capitol Creek panorama, Snowmass, CO - GREG FROZLEY
  • Greg Frozley
  • Capitol Creek panorama, Snowmass, CO
Greg Frozley traded the adrenaline rush of professional mountain sports athlete for a new kind of rush. The professional photographer began his career as a landscape photographer shortly after he finished his career as a professional mountain biker and mogul skier. He had just married his sweetheart Alison Dunlap, a champion mountain biker and two-time Olympian, and had a son, Emmett.

“I didn’t really get serious about photography until I bought my first DSLR in 2010, after the birth of our son," he says. "I had always wanted to get more into photography after dabbling with digital point and shoot cameras for years. I started with documenting our experience of having a child, and then moved on to experimenting with landscape photography."

It turns out Frozley's discipline to train as a professional athlete translated easily to professional photography. He often wakes up before dawn to capture a high alpine lake at sunrise, or drives into the mountains at night to photograph the stars when everyone else is asleep.

“At night, when I’m hiking, I bring bear spray and a really bright flash light. Every few minutes I turn my flashlight around 360 degrees," Frozley says. "I've seen a few deer — it scared the crap out of me — but so far I haven’t seen any mountain lions.”

It takes diligence and dedication to find the locations Frozley want to photograph. Figuring out how to get there and the best time to take pictures is well-suited to Frozley’s technical nature. His day job is testing mountain biking equipment at SRAM.

“I’ll spend sometime during the week researching. If I’m in the mood to go in the mountains I start to think about which mountains are closest and then think about water and then look for high alpine lakes on Google and Google maps,” he says. “Then I’ll start doing the planning to get there. It usually involves waking up at 3 or 4 and doing a lot of hiking with camera gear.”

After working for several years photographing mountain landscapes, Frozley turned his camera’s lens toward the night sky. Astrophotography offers its own set of challenges. For one, it’s only in the spring, summer and fall that the Milky Way can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere.

“The Milky Way comes up in the southeast in the spring. In the summer, its straight south and then in the fall it’s in the west,” Frozley says. “But you can’t shoot the Milky Way with a full moon because the moon washes out the sky. So, I really only get one week a month to photograph at night.”

It’s not just about capturing the elusive Milky Way — there’s also the question of what to put in the foreground.

“Trying to think about a certain mountain or a certain lake and how it would line up to create a pleasing composition and getting it all of that to come together? It’s a lot of work,” Frozley says.

“I do it because I absolutely love it. I can hardly sleep at night because [I'm] thinking about the next place I want to go shoot, and I want to stay up half the night editing photos," he says. "I’m just so passionate about it — it’s always on my mind."

His advice for photographers wanting to practice this type of work: Plenty of online tutorials and trying it out in the field.

“What helps me the most are all of the free videos out there on youtube. But so much of its always just getting out there and getting your feet wet. That’s the biggest thing," Frozley says. "You’re not going to find it in your back yard. You’re going to have to drive and hike to get there, and when you do, remember the good light never lasts long.”

See more of Frozley’s work on his web site.
Next week Frozley share his tops tips on photographing the night's stars.
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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