on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Say Yes

Creates opportunities even when they are not obvious

Colleen Miniuk-Sperry

Colleen Miniuk-Sperry fled the grey cubicle walls at Intel Corporation in 2007 to pursue a fulfilling full-time outdoor photography and writing career. Her credits include National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, AAA Highroads, National Parks Traveler, and a broad variety of other publications. She has served three times as an Artist-in-Residence with Acadia National Park.

Colleen is putting the final touches on her next book, Going with the Flow, a part-memoir, part adventure travel story on how she paddled her way out of adversity and into happiness on Lake Powell and the Colorado River.”

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Last year, I took a writing workshop with one of my favourite authors Craig Childs. A group of mostly strangers from various backgrounds came together on a Nature Conservancy property in northeastern Oregon to soak in his wisdom. In the weeklong class, we tapped into our natural surroundings, philosophised with the other students, and camped under the stars.

I attended the session for a few reasons. Obviously, I sought to improve my abilities to write andEven though many yea develop story ideas. Maybe less obviously, I also hoped the workshop would poke my brain in new ways to influence my photography. “Cross-training,” or the notion of immersing oneself in a different creative outlet, often helps me navigate through the cyclical flow of self-expression when I’m feeling stale and uninspired. The writing workshop provided just the jolt I needed. Of the many lessons I took with me, one was powerful enough for me to scribe it across one of the pages in my notebook in all caps: SAY YES.

The Temple glows at sunset and reflects into the glass-like waters of the Colorado River in Lake Mead in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on the Arizona-Nevada border.

I’d heard this notion once before, long before I ever held a camera in my hands. In the late 1990s, a friend and co-worker had invited me to watch him perform with his improvisation theatre group (similar to the British TV show, and later the American adaptation, “Whose Line is it Anyway?”). I marvelled by how seemingly easy it was for the cast to develop immediate relationships, compelling story-lines, and unexpected punchlines—all without the assistance of a script. After the show, I asked my friend, “How do you do that?” 



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