The World Open Photo Contest (I need your vote!)

Stoked to be featured as part of the World Open photography contest this week. There’s some inspiring work being posted over there. Check it out, and give ol’ ABP a vote while you’re at it!

Yes. My whip really is that cool.

My car has wi-fi. That’s right suckas, I’m a rolling hot spot. Cuddle up on the Interstate and take a little suckle if you like. It’s on me and Mark Miller Subaru. Interested in a little coolness of your own? Check out a new Subaru Outback for yourself. They are the bees knees. and then some.

And yes, this is shameless sponsor promo. Long live the interwebz.

ABP Black Friday Sales 2011

This is the first of several sales we’ll be posting throughout the day!

These are matted 12″x 18″ signed/limited edition prints. Paper is Epson Ultra Premium Matte. Prints ship in protective plastic sleeves and are frame-ready. Single white archival mat. Outer dimensions are 16″ x 22″.

Save more than 50%! MSRP is $175.00. Black Friday sale price is $80.00 (plus shipping). See below for prints selections. Quantities are extremely limited and will go quickly! Email or call 801-550-9141 to order.


Barker Boys




A comfortable home



baldness (reverse psychology)









contacts (I can see!)




salt lake city





priority boarding

season passes



Feel free to add to the list.

Oh–and Happy Thanksgiving.

Southeast Asia Photo Tour

Laotian man in market at Luang Prabang, Laos shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

It’s been a fantastic first week of our photo tour through Southeast Asia with M&M Photo Tours! Time is always scarce on these jam packed jaunts, so I’ll just throw up a few images and hopefully get a bit more time to delve into the details later. So far, highlights have included seeing the annual lantern festival in Luang Prabang, visiting the crazy markets in Hanoi and wandering the terraced rice fields of Sapa. We take a night train back to Hanoi tonight, and then it’s off to spend an evening on one of the most beautiful areas of shoreline in the world: Ha Long Bay. 84 gb of memory shot so far, many bowls of pho devoured, far less mosquito bites than one would expect, and countless unforgettable experiences. Here’s to another week through Indochina!

Buddhist monks eating breakfast at Luang Prabang, Laos shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

CIty view of Luang Prabang, Laos shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

Girl at lantern festival at Luang Prabang, Laos shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

Boat races near Luang Prabang, Laos shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

Tree in mist near Sapa, Vietnam shot by AdamBarkerPhotography with M&M Photo Tours.

Recap: Telluride Photo Festival

AdamBarkerPhotography image of Dusk at the Dallas Divide near Telluride, Colorado

I had the recent pleasure of participating in the Telluride Photo Festival. As its namesake implies, this festival is located in one of the premier locations for fall foliage in the Rocky Mountains. Telluride is hopelessly beautiful, rugged and even a bit remote. It’s a classic mountain town, with over the top log homes, deluxe lodges and a bustling main street with an eclectic array of galleries, eateries and boutiques.

AdamBarkerPhotography image of Telluride, Colorado in fall.

My focus throughout the week was threefold: teaching a  three-day workshop on capturing the complete outdoor image, attendee portfolio reviews, and a seminar on environmental active lifestyle imagery. All told, it was a busy week full of beautiful imagery, lots of laughs and new relationships forged with wonderful people. I was joined by my trusty assistant/sidekick, Nate Sorensen and we had a blast driving countless dirt roads through a winding maze of foliage, underbrush and cattle guards in search of inspiring locations for my workshop. The Mark Miller Subaru Outback was a rally machine! Minor note, however: the road tires that came with Suby are not meant for some of Colorado’s finer dirt road shred sessions.

AdamBarkerPhotography image of Mark Miller Subaru Outback at Dallas Divide near Telluride, Colorado

Located at the head of a deep box canyon, Telluride (elev. 8,750 ft.) is already a significant hop, skip and jump above sea level. That should give some indication as to how tall the surrounding peaks are. The San Juan mountain range makes up a healthy portion of those surrounding peaks, and they’ve long been a fall photography destination at the top of my list. They did not disappoint.

An AdamBarkerPhotography image of fall foliage in first light at the Dallas Divide near Telluride, Colorado

Huge, sprawling stands of aspen were peppered with yellow, orange and green splotches of color, only to stand in stark contrast against sky scraping peaks like Wilson Peak and Mt. Sneffels. Spending the whole week in the area, it was interesting to see nature’s subtle nuances as colors ebbed and flowed each day. It’s amazing how much an area can change overnight, and we were certainly witness to this in many of the classic drives in the area.

Photo of Adam Barker teaching a workshop at the Telluride Photo Festival

There are countless sunrise/sunset photo locations in the area, and we were fortunate to have gorgeous dawn skies at both the Dallas Divide and West Dallas Creek Road. Especially with clear skies and uninteresting weather, dawn/dusk are some of the best times to capture saturated, even colors with deep skies. The lack of direct light, and the glow emanating from the far horizon make for fantastically detailed landscapes that have a rich, subtle glow to them. It wasn’t uncommon to see most people show up to similar locations 20 minutes or so after we’d begun shooting. By that time, skies were pale, and we were preparing for first light.

AdamBarkerPhotography image of fall color at sunset at Lizard Head Pass during the Telluride Photo Festival

We were blessed with ominous clouds and killer color at Lizard Head Pass one evening for sunset. Low light and intermittent overcast skies made for fantastic directional lighting as well as soft, diffused indirect light. The greatest thing about fall is the way the landscape and color changes with different types of light. The workshop was a huge success, and my group of students was fantastic–always eager to learn and practice some of the new technique they’d learned with their Singh Ray Filters.

AdamBarkerPhotography image of Mark Miller Subaru Outback at Dallas Divide near Telluride, Colorado

Towards the end of the week, five straight days of 5 am wakeup calls had caught up to us. I took a breather from sunrise shoots and focused my efforts on portfolio reviews. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of work. It’s always an inspiration to see work from other photographers (whether aspiring or veteran) and it never fails to give me a new outlook on the world in which we live.

I wrapped up the week with a seminar on environmental active lifestyle imagery. Many thanks to my sponsors Arc’teryx, Clikelite Backpacks and Mountain Khakis for providing some schwag to share with the crowd. I can honestly say there are few places as majestic as Telluride. The photographic opportunities are endless, the people are kind-hearted and the Telluride Photo Festival proved a perfect forum for learning and photographic enrichment from some huge names in the business (Tim Kemple, Rob Haggart, Kristen Fortier (Men’s Journal), Mark Lesh (Skiing mag), Julia Vandenoever (Backpacker Mag) Tom Till and many, many more. Keep an eye out for next year’s lineup–should be a doozy!

Change–More than Just a Campaign Slogan

A man and woman on mountain bikes enjoy early morning light and fresh mountain air at Deer Valley Resort

This is an excerpt from the  February 2009 ABP In Focus Newsletter

It seems “change” is the word of the day. Every day. Whether it’s the historical inauguration of an African American president, or an anticipated drop in the mercury, change seems to be on people’s minds.
My mind, although quite stubborn and cluttered, has not been spared by this wave of change either. I have noticed a great change in the way fellow photographers speak of this industry that many of us fight for from the inside, or appreciate from the outside.
Put bluntly, photography is changing. Whereas skilled photographers used to be veritable needles in a creative haystack, they are now found at every family reunion, weekend wedding, and sporting event. The advent of digital imaging has made it easier than ever before to achieve levels of photography previously reserved for the studied and scholarly.
I welcome this change, and this influx of imagery with open arms. There are certainly pros and cons to the current state of the photography industry, but as a glass-half-full type of guy, I feel that creative boundaries, work ethic and marketing prowess are being pushed as never before. Competition breeds excellence, and true excellence is all that will stand out and survive.
I tip my hat to the photographers that have inspired me with their words and imagery. May the strong survive, and the weak get day jobs.

Four Questions with photographer Adam Barker

I was recently contacted by a friend giving a presentation to a high school on photography as a career. He sent me a number of questions that I responded to by email. I figured it might be of interest to many of you as well. Have a read if you feel so inclined…

1. What area of photography do you specialize in?

I specialize really in three areas of photography, those being Editorial, Commercial and Fine Art work. Within those areas, I focus on several genres of photography, those being active lifestyle (ski, fly fishing, trail running, etc.), destination (resort, architectural, tourism) and scenic landscape.

2. Did you always want to be a photographer? At what age? If not, what did you want to be?

I definitely didn’t know I wanted to be a photographer the minute I picked up a camera. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t one of those things where I felt I was destined to do it. Skiing has always been a huge part of my life, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in the ski industry. Really, I dreamed of being a pro skier, I guess. Upon returning home from serving a religious mission in Italy, I began to approach photography more seriously.

3. What do you love about your work life? What are its challenges?

I love that I work for myself and that really, the only thing that determines the level of my success is me. Sure, there are many factors that I can’t control, but ultimately, my fate and the well being of myself and my family rests in my hands. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also liberating to know that there is no ceiling for what I can accomplish or what I can earn. Happiness in my personal and professional life is paramount, and making a career out of one of the things I’m most passionate about in life really is a dream come true.

With the sweet comes the bitter, however. There certainly are challenges to running your own business. One of the biggest challenges as a freelance photographer is bringing in consistent income. I may have several really good months where I make a decent amount of money, only to be followed by several dry months where the income is much less consistent. The bills don’t stop coming just because clients aren’t knocking on my door. Fiscal responsibility is huge, and it’s very important to always be aware of how much money you have both in the bank, and in outstanding invoices (money coming in).

Another challenge is balancing work time and time with my family. While most individuals have consistent 9-5 work schedules each day, my schedule is never really set in stone. Much of my work is done very early or very late when I’m out in the field shooting. It definitely puts a strain on family and extracurricular activities. It’s also tough to balance travel and being away from my family. Many photographers are either single or divorced for reasons of which I’m now well aware. It’s hard to turn away work, even if it takes me away from my family, but you have to keep the big picture in mind every day and weight the pros and cons of each job. It’s also super important to maintain open communication with your spouse and to make sure he/she feels like a player in the decision making process.

4. What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing photography as a profession?

This is a question I get asked at least once a week by aspiring photographers around the world. There are a couple of key pieces of advice I always give.

1. You must be ridiculously impassioned with photography. Especially now in this digital age, there are many, many obstacles to achieving success as a full time photographer. It can seem like an utterly thankless and impossible job at times. At the end of every day, it is key to be doing what you do because you love it. In the end, that is what will get you through the hard times and push you to work harder and find greater success.

2. Build your portfolio. Shoot as many images as you possibly can. Study where you succeed, and where you often fail. Understand your weaknesses and find a way to overcome these photographic challenges. Given the relatively low literal cost of shooting digital images, there’s no excuse not to click away. Study the metadata–understand how aperture, shutter speed and different lenses affect your imagery. Shoot everything and anything possible that grabs your interest. Soon, you will begin to establish your own personal style. It’s vital that you find this style and begin to carve your own photographic path.

3. Learn to write. Whether it’s a simple email to a potential client, or a 1,500 word story for Outdoor Photographer,  creative and proper writing is an undeniably legitimate compliment to impressive imagery. It will exude professionalism, and will make it ten times easier to get your work published. From a purely editorial standpoint, delivering a complete package with both stunning imagery and a cohesive story is a grand slam. Editors dream of receiving the whole package, and there are countless exceptional images that are simply overlooked because there’s no story to accompany them. Being a proficient writer will also aid you in your social media endeavors. Believe it or not, many people in the creative arena enjoy engaging words just as much as exceptional imagery.

4. Take business classes. Better yet, study up on the business of photography. There are countless photographers out there who are incredibly skilled behind the lens, yet they are terrible at business. On the flip side, there are many average photographers out there who are very good businessmen (and women). If you can be both, you will have a leg up on 90% of your competition. Understand how and what you should charge. Learn the art of negotiation. Perhaps the most important aspect is to learn the value of effective marketing and PR. Being a successful photographer means running a successful business. Remember that.

5. Commit yourself. If you want it, stick with it. Don’t ever give up. Work harder and smarter than everyone else. Ignore the naysayers and be confident in your ability to produce exceptional work on a consistent basis. This comes with experience, and experience comes with time. You must commit for the long haul. Good luck!

AdamBarkerPhotography Top 10 Gear List from Asia Workshop

The Bayon at Twilight, Angkor Thom, Cambodia

The Bayon at Twilight, Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Having just spent nearly three weeks traveling across the world, I became very well acquainted with the gear I chose to take. Putting equipment through its paces on a consistent, daily basis really allows the cream to rise to the top. The standouts perform, and the rest gets tossed. Below is a list of the gear that was essential in capturing unique imagery while far away from home in a different climate and environment. Some were obvious producers from past experience, some were new found favorites! (all listings are linked for easy access–just roll over with your mouse cursor)

MGCC_swatch1_Ash1. Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Convertible Pant. I typically steer clear of pant/short combos cause it seems like very few actually look moderately normal. Read: I feel goofy in them. Not so with the MK’s. Light and comfortable, these convertible pants are extremely functional, and look great too. My favorite part? Zippered pockets that keep your valuables safe (passport, wallet, memory card wallet, etc.)

small_CLIK_Escape_gray2. Clikelite Escape Photo Pack. I spent nearly 17 days straight with a backpack on for at least 8 hours a day. Make no mistake, I’ve now reached “BFF” status with the Escape. It’s small enough to travel well, yet packs a load of gear and wears comfortably. It’s also super handy to open the entire pack, clam shell style with one pull on the dual zippers in hurried situations. Next year’s version has some small, but worthy improvements. Should be out soon!

warmpolinhand3. Singh Ray LB Warming Polarizer. In a word? Indispensable. We were consistently shooting in wet or hazy conditions. The LB Warming Polarizer helped to take the sheen off of foliage or reflective tile or other materials. It also helped to cut down on the haze for longer lens shots. I can’t tell you how many times I reminded the photo tour attendees to put on their polarizing filters if they hadn’t already done so. It hardly ever leaves my lens.

79495_4934. Patagonia Men’s Drifter Gore Tex Hiker. Like the rest of the gear listed on here, I used these nearly all day every day on tour. In short, they were a bear and a fluffy pillow all at once. Handled the mileage with aplomb, and kept my feet happy and comfortable. Gore Tex is essential to keeping feet dry, and the capilene liner wicked moisture from the inside. Believe it or not, even in 100 degree heat for two weeks plus, my feet never felt sweaty. Sweet!

unnamed5. Lacie Rugged 500 GB Portable Hard Drive. These puppies travel with me everywhere. Tried and trusted, they are fast (Firewire 800) and reliable. I took two to Asia, partitioning one into two 250gb drives and having another as a second and separate backup.

11009_0826. Patagonia Capilene 1 Silkweight T-shirt. Light, well-fitting and incredibly comfortable. This shirt looks snazzy, wicks moisture extremely well and dries in a hurry. It also packs super well. Take a half dozen on your next hot weather journey–you won’t regret it.

mbp7. 13″ Macbook Pro. Small enough to work on comfortably in tight spaces (read: airplane), fast and functional. I’m a Mac snob, but I can’t imagine anyone ever passing up this sexy beast. It’s the perfect companion for any photographer looking for the primo travel laptop. It should be noted that due to general color and accuracy discrepancies on laptop screens, I typically just edit on my laptops and do very minimal processing other than for blog posts or Facebook updates.

chatingmail8. Google G-Chat Video Chat. What I can say? Even when on the road, I’m a bit of a home body. G Chat is super easy and quick–there’s nothing better than saying hello to my wife and boys to start the day off on the right foot.


9. Canon 5D MkII and 24-105mm 4.0L IS. A lethal combination in terms of image quality, usability and versatility. The full frame sensor and 21 mp output on the 5D MkII produces images unrivaled in the 35mm digital SLR realm (according to this photog). The 24-105mm is as good a one lens wonder as there ever was. Wide enough to be wide, and long enough to be moderately long, it is extremely sharp edge to edge, and the image stabilization is an added bonus.

buystrip_ipad_2010022510. iPad. It’s a life saver on long flights, bus rides and even longer layovers. It also works incredibly well as a visual aide when teaching to small groups. I used it repeatedly in the van on the way to different shooting locations, and even at dinner when reviewing the day’s teaching points, or discussing the next day’s photographic goals. I should also mention it’s a fantastic piece for showing your work quickly and efficiently.


We’re staying in Siem Reap for the next several days before heading on back to the good ol’ USA. Siem Reap is home to the world famous Angkor complexes (Angkor Wat, Angkor Tom, etc.) and numerous other ancient temples. The scale of these temples is mind blowing, and the people are very kind. It’s been super hot, but shooting conditions have been great–with diffused light and overcast skies during the day casting even light with few shadows. Loving it here, and can’t wait to share more photos upon my return.

South gate of Ankgor Thom, Cambodia

South gate of Ankgor Thom, Cambodia

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Phnom Backheng, Cambodia

Phnom Backheng, Cambodia

Phnom Bakheng, Cambodia

Phnom Bakheng, Cambodia

Traditional Cambodian Dancer

Traditional Cambodian Dancer