Vail Adventure photographer Jon Sheppard hosting a show in Minturn
If You Go …
What: Jon Sheppard photo exhibit.
Where: Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea in Minturn
When: Friday, Feb. 1, 5-7 p.m.
More information: Photographer and adventurer Jon Sheppard’s work will be on display, and Sheppard will be on hand to talk about his work and life. For directions and information call 827-4008.
VAIL — Jon Sheppard’s life looks like an adventure novel, except it’s not fiction. Sheppard has lived it.
You can see for yourself. His photos, award-winning books, stories and photography are the centerpiece of a show today at Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea in Minturn.
Action And adventure
Sheppard’s life reads like an action and adventure book.
He was a Navy kid for whom travel was commonplace. Among other places, he lived on Kodiak Island in Alaska. A Kodiak bear is as big as you think it is, he said.
As a young man, he lived in the West Indies where he was in the boat charter and scuba diving business. That’s where he began his underwater photography and film work.
“Diving for sunken treasure, spearfishing and exploring the jungles was a daily routine,” Sheppard said.
That’s also where he dove headlong into underwater photography and scenic landscapes.
For what seemed like good reasons at the time, he migrated to Tennessee where he shared his skills for rock climbing and opened his own climbing school. He also delighted in the challenges of whitewater rafting and kayaking.
Terra firma, of course, was never enough, which explains why he became an avid skydiver. His highest jump was from 20,000 feet.
High life and High Country
Back on the ground in Tennessee, he played drums in country music bands. He was also a TV cameraman and videographer, working many years in the television production industry and making music videos.
Now, Sheppard calls the Colorado high country his home, moving to Vail in 1989. When he’s not home — and he often isn’t — he’s photographing the scenic beauty all around us.
He also was introduced to skiing, and figured that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
For fun, he and two friends — one of them blind — set a world record by skiing 18 Colorado ski areas in one day, while raising more than $20,000 for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. Helicopters and vehicles proceeding at well above the posted speed limit were involved.
In the 1990s, he started showing his photographs to his friends, who encouraged him to publish photography books.
It seemed like another adventure, so in the late ’90s he came out with three award-winning photo books. John Fielder did his foreword on his very first book. Sheppard is currently working on two more book projects.
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