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Sundance Lookout Photo Workshop

A few years ago, I had decided to up my photography game and started taking adventure photography workshops from Chris of CDC Photography. I quickly befriended Chris and was over-the-top excited when he offered an overnight workshop to shoot Milkyway and the Perseids Meteor Shower at Sundance Lookout. Lookouts had been an interest of mine for some time, but I never made it up to one for one reason or another.

Everyone met up at the Moose Knuckle in Coolin, ID. I had no sooner arrived and hopped out of my truck when I heard someone holler at me from across the road, “Billy Cooter.” The hollering was coming from someone I had recently befriended on Instagram but never met Cat House. It was cool to meet in person, and before long, everyone loaded up and headed up the mountain.

The day was spent doing a little photography, meeting each other, swapping stories, and setting up camp. But more importantly, Sundance is a manned lookout and the volunteer manning the lookout that week invited us up to poke around. As soon as I set foot inside the lookout and saw the elevated view, the logbooks, the Osburn, and the connection to mother nature and history, I was hooked!! This was incredibly nice as that was his home for the week, and I was ever so thankful as I descended the stairs back to ground level.

Many of the stories around camp that day were from the different photographers swapping stories about their various lookout visits. I think I was the only lookout virgin.

Before long, the sun began to go down, and the group romped around the top of the mountain, shooting sunset, silhouettes, ghost trees, Milkyway, glowing tents, and even a little light painting. Chris was patient and made sure that we newbies to night photography picked up some tips and tricks. To end the night, everyone sat around the base of the lookout to shoot long exposure star trails of the sky over the lookout. At one point, the volunteer turned on a lantern giving the lookout the perfect glow in our photos, and we all hooted and hollered like idiots. It was the last moment of glory before we retired to our tents for the night.

The next morning the volunteer admitted to Cat that he turned on the light because us noisy photographer folk woke him up. Whoops. Anyways we shot sunrise and early morning light at the lookout before heading off the mountain to shoot a local waterfall before wrapping up the photography workshop.

While I have since made my way to more remote and unique lookouts, slept in them, around them, and on their catwalks, this trip always holds a special place. In a way, I credit it with being a big part of the origin story of this very start.

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