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Choreographer Kat Gurley | Denver Outdoor Headshots

Kat Gurley is the Artistic Director of Wild Heart Dance, a dance company based in Boulder, Colorado. I first met when I photographed her show, The Beloved at Naropa University’s Performing Arts Center. More recently, I got to collaborate on a promotional session with them late last year. Kat was also selected to be a part of Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight, so I had the chance to take a few Denver outdoor headshots for that.

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Erika Weiss interviewed Kat and wrote a piece of her for Presenting Denver’s website. You can read the whole article here. I love getting to take these head shots because it usually means I get introduced to new people in the dance world. And when I get to photograph people I already know, like in this case, I get to learn more about them through their articles.

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Choreographer Kat Gurley | Denver Outdoor Headshots

Kat is originally from Boston and has a varied background is dance and movement. She is trained in everything from ballet to martial arts and West African dance to yoga. She doesn’t just create dance performances, she makes movement masterpieces. The promo session we did was focused on the art of falling. It’s not often that you see dancers take risks like that and tap into the athleticism of dance in new ways. It’s so exciting to see such creativity in the local arts scene!

Another new thing I learned about Kat, is that she gets all her funding through crowd sourcing. Her work is funded as it’s being created rather than waiting for grants to start making new works. She relies on her patrons who are invested in her company and excited to see new works. I love that Colorado has cultivated an culture that appreciates art and invests in it!

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Denver Mac and Cheese Reviews | Forest Room 5

Mac and cheese is one of my greatest loves so I decided to start a blog series reviewing Denver mac and cheese dishes from restaurants around town. I’m on a mission to spread the word about the best and worst mac and cheeses in the area. My quest is to find the best in town. Join me as I eat my way through Denver, one mac and cheese review at a time. Today, I’m reviewing Forest Room 5’s mac and cheese entree. Enjoy!

Denver Mac and Cheese Rating

Flavor – 3/5
Consistency – 3/5
Presentation – 4/5
Price – 5/5
Topping – 3/5
Mix in options – 2/5
Total: 20/30
Conclusion: Great!

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Denver mac and cheese lovers

Forest Room 5

Forest Room 5 is a quirky little bar in LoHi with a whimsical forest theme. If you’re into sitting on stumps or drinking around a campfire, this is the place for you. Since I don’t drink, my favorite bars or breweries are the ones with good food and this place got bonus points for having a mac and cheese. They’re version of the classic dish has a great, creamy cheddar based sauce. While the cheddar provided a nice flavor and texture, it left me wanting more in terms of cheese variety and overall flavor. While the sauce was creamy, all the moisture seemed to sink to the bottom, leaving the top dry.

This mac and cheese was pretty pretty. Cavatappi pasta is always a solid choice and the skillet it was served in added a nice visual touch. The dish was topped with plenty of fresh herbs, which were delicious, but the topping lacked the crunch I look for in a good mac and cheese.

The menu listed two mix in options, bacon or green chile. While I appreciate that there were meat and veggie options, there were still only two mix ins available. I went with the original, and it was very filling. I showed up hungry and left satisfied. At only $8, it was a great priced meal and cheaper than the drinks! Plus, the mix ins were only $1 each. Forest Room 5 made a great mac and cheese for those hungry or sober bar hoppers!

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Obligatory cheesy photo of me eating mac and cheese!

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Where’s the best mac and cheese you’ve had in Denver? Comment below so I know where to try next! Click here for all my Denver mac and cheese reviews. And check out my About Me page to see what else I’m obsessed with!

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Falstaff Student Matinee | Colorado Opera Photographer

The Student Matinee is one of Opera Colorado’s largest education events every spring. Over 1000 students from all over Colorado come to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to see an full length production, presented on the main stage. In addition, the show is broadcast live to students around the state. All the students learn about opera and about the show they are seeing in their music classes before the come see the show. I love that as a Colorado Opera photographer, I get to be a part of this amazing event.

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The show the students see is the same show that opera patrons see that week and weekend but with some small variations to make it more kid friendly. Sometimes the opera is done in English or with a English narration. Sometimes there are other small changes in the plot or the libretto or the show is shortened. This version of the show is performed by Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence. You’ve probably heard me talk about hem a lot. They are awesome! Last year’s show was Falstaff, a comedic opera by Giuseppe Verdi. This year’s show is the Marriage of Figaro and the Student Matinee will be on May 9th.

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What’s really fun about this day, every year, is that it’s both a performance and an event. I’m tasked with photographing all of it. I get there as the students first arrive and capture them entering the opera house, often for the first time. I get to catch them oooing and awing at the beautiful historic building and the majestic theater. Then I get to capture the show. This is the only time the Artists in Residence perform this version of the show on the main stage. There are no rehearsals on stage so this is the only chance we get to take production photos.

At the intermission, I wander around the Ellie capturing the kids chatting about the show so far. Sometimes, they’ll bring a lunch and eat it in the lobby or just stretch their legs a bit. For this show, they also kept the curtain open for scene changes so the audience got to see how the tech crew changes everything over. Then, after the show ends, some of the schools stay for a Q and A session. Students get to ask the artists and the director anything they want and they get to take a peak at the orchestra pit. It’s always fun to hear their questions.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Wild Heart Dance | Colorado Dance Photography

Colorado dance photography is all about creativity. I like to refer to myself as a translator of art. My job, first and foremost, is to document the movement and emotion of the performers hiring me. that probably doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of room for creativity on my part, but it is so much more than that. Everything can be interpreted in different ways, by different viewers, so my job is to interpret what is in front of me, from my perspective. I then translate that into a new medium – two dimensional, still photography. It’s always exciting to see new works, new ways of moving, new ways of expressing, and to be the one to translate that to others.

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I was so excited when Wild Heart Dance started describing their vision for this session. Jumping, falling, dancing in water, the flatirons in the background, and tall grasses in the foreground. This session had it all! Wild Heart was in the midst of experimenting with tumbling and creating new work around it. They brought their mats and blocks to the session and we found ways to hide them from the camera, in the grasses. Then it was time to get wet! I made sure to bring my rainboots so I could wade in the water with the dancers. They ended up having a water splashing fight, which was so much fun to capture. I also ended up with an X shaped sunburn on my back that stuck around for months. It was totally worth it!

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We did lots of individual portraits in addition to the dancing photos. We took headshots at the beginning of the session, then right after coming out of the water, and again at the end of the session. I love seeing them all lined up together below.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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International Women’s Day | Denver Branding Portraits

As a Denver branding photographer, I get to work with some of the most incredible women and for that, I am so grateful! For International Women’s Day, this year, I wanted to honor my amazing clients. Most of the people that come to me for headshots and personal branding portraits are women and I get to work with a lot of women through my performing arts photography as well.

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International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th each year. Originating in Soviet Russia to celebrate women’s suffrage, it is now organized by the United Nations. There are events all around the world celebrating women’s achievements and advocating for gender parity. Each year, there is a new theme and this year’s theme is Balance for Better. It’s all about creating a more gender-balanced world. I love that I get to support women entrepreneurs and women led businesses through the work that I do.

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These portraits are from one of the sessions I did with my amazing repeat client, Celia Bockhoff. Celia is a voice psychotherapist based in Boulder, CO. She has an amazing studio, where we did part of her session and she’s just a gorgeous woman inside and out.

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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La Boheme Opening Night | Denver Event Photography

One of the best parts of Denver event photography is getting to go to swanky parties! When La Boheme opened at Opera Colorado, there was an opening night dinner at Kevin Taylor’s in the lower level of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. It was so much fun photographing this event. I loved seeing everyone in their best formal wear, ready to enjoy a classic opera! The same night, I also got to photograph the pre-show talk that was open to all the opera attendees. I love when companies include educational pieces like pre-show talks and Q&A’s. I think it really adds to the overall experience of seeing a show live.

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Just a bit of a photo nerd out here. This was the first event I photographed with my new lighting setup. I had just bought three brand new flashes. light stands, umbrellas, and the little bits that go with it. This was the first event I was able to use it for after lots of playing around in my apartment. I was definitely still getting used to it and playing around with different setups for everything, but I love how the images turned out. I remember getting home that night and downloading the photos to my computer. It was so exciting to see what a difference the lights made and so proud of the images I created.

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Kevin Taylor’s at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House is a really cool space, but it is very difficult to photograph. The ceiling looks like the night sky, with tiny spots of light throughout and there are some really cool paintings by Vance Kirkland. But the lighting is very low with weird spotlights and a low, dark ceiling. I used to dread photographing events in this space but my new lighting setup made it so much better.

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Want engaging photos of your next event? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival | Denver Event Photography

This was such a fun event to photograph last year! Denver event photography brings me to so many new spots around the city and introduces me to so many fun things to do. The Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival is exactly what it sounds like, a day-long festival full of whiskey and doughnuts from local vendors across Denver and Colorado.

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I loved seeing some of my favorite doughnut shops on display, like Habit Donut Dispensary. I don’t drink so I have no input on the whiskey selection but there were some really cool displays and a huge selection of distilled goodness. Last year’s event took place at Denver Rock Drill, a huge old warehouse on the north side of the city. The decorations of the event were bright, fun, and colorful (like donut sprinkles) so I felt right at home!

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Each whiskey vendor was paired up with a doughnut vendor and together, they had to come up with a boozy doughnut to serve at the festival. Toward the end of my time shooting, in between sessions, I setup photos of each of the pairings. They were so fun and I loved how they turned out. I love that the festival used the photo above for the Facebook event this year. It’s always so exciting to see my photos being used for marketing. Seriously, it never gets old!

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11 Creative, the company who puts on these events, just announced this year’s Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival! Tickets go on sale soon so if you want to go (and why wouldn’t you) get on their waitlist before they sell out. The festival will be in downtown Denver on May 18th, from 2pm to 9pm. The event also helps support, Minds Matter of Denver, a local non-profit that makes college dreams a reality for low-income high school students in the Denver area. Get your tickets here.

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Want engaging photos of your next event? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.