Colorado Gives Day 2017

Colorado Gives Day is Colorado’s local version of Giving Tuesday. Each year on the Tuesday following Giving Tuesday, Coloradoans can donate to local non-profits while maximizing their giving power through a $1 Incentive Fund. The incentive fund is split between all participating non-profits, based on the percentage of donations they receive. This year, they’ve introduced, Kids for Colorado Gives, a website just for kids so they can donate to their favorite causes. Colorado Gives Day is December 5th this year, which is tomorrow!

A couple years ago, I wrote my first blog for Colorado Gives Day and I thought it was important to update it. This time I’m sharing where I donate throughout the year. It can be hard to find the resources to donate money or even time. I’ve built this into my personal budget and my business structure because I know giving is so important. Non-profits need money, but they also need other forms of support, like time, services, and resources. Below are three local organizations I support, that need your help as well.

http://www.jamiekraus.com/

Opera Colorado

Opera Colorado is Denver’s biggest opera company. Each season, they produce three operas, two at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and one at a smaller theater. They strive to present new works, and bring up and coming artists to the state.

I give to Opera Colorado by donating a portion of my services to the company. My donation is through their new Corporate Sponsorship Program. They have so many ways for you to support, from Young Artist Sponsorship to one time donations. You can donate to Opera Colorado through Colorado Gives Day here.

http://www.facebook.com/jamiekrausphoto/

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care and advocates for the same across the country. They have clinics, online service, and events throughout the year. While Planned Parenthood is an international organization, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains focuses on the needs of people in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

For the past two years, I have been donating monthly to Planned Parenthood. They also have many volunteer opportunities for local events like Denver Pride Fest. You can donate to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains through Colorado Gives Day here.

http://www.jamiekraus.com/

Presenting Denver

Presenting Denver serves as Denver’s dance community. Their goal is to create a way to bring dancers and dance lovers together through performances, support, and resources. They are also co-presenting a dance festival, in partnership with the Newman Center. The first Presenting Denver Dance Festival will be this summer, on June 23rd and 24th.

Like Opera Colorado, I donate my services to Presenting Denver in the form of dance, event, and headshot photography. I also give my time by serving on their Dance Festival Committee. They even have an Amazon Smile account so you can support them through your regular Amazon purchases. You can donate to Presenting Denver here.

Happy Giving Colorado

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Elixer of Love |Colorado Performing Arts Photography

Each year, Opera Colorado‘s Young Artists take two operas on the road. Cherity Koepke the Director of the Young Artist Program and Brett Sprague the Assistant Director adapt and restage the shows to work with an audience of school children. They’ve been introducing new shows into the mix, and last year’s new production was Elixer of Love. It’s a funny story about con-artists, love triangles, and root beer saloons. As a Colorado performing arts photographer, I was called in to photograph the show for marketing materials.

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Each season, the Young Artists go on a tour around Colorado. They pack up the set, props, costumes, and themselves in a van and drive all over the state. They performing operas at middle schools and high schools in rural areas and mountain towns. So many of these kids have never seen an opera before. These photos were used to market the show to schools who wanted the opera to perform for their students. They’re also used to attract audience members to the annual Family Day event and to encourage donors to sponsor a Young Artist.

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Since this show is a touring production, that goes to school auditoriums across the state, we didn’t have a formal performance space to photograph in. Instead, we used their rehearsal space, the Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. There is some natural light in the space but no stage lights. With performing arts photography, you have to be adaptable. So I brought my own equipment to give the photos a more production feel to them. I have a very portable light set up that works perfectly for events and small performances like this!

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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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Thanksgiving 2016 | Denver Portrait Photographer

I was just talking to a friend about the stress of traveling for the holidays and I started to realize that despite all the stress, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite family holiday. We have solid traditions that I love. Our family grows and shrinks and changes every year, but it is always a group I feel so comfortable with and loved by.

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There is a Passover tradition where families are supposed to invite strangers in to share their meal with. We never did that at our Passover Seders but I feel like we make up for it with Thanksgiving. In addition to my family, there are always a few friends and neighbors who join our table, along with some regular honorary family members who join us each year.

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One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is the themed meals. Thanksgiving in our family is at my aunt and uncle’s house. My uncle is an amazing chef and my aunt is an outstanding baker and they love to get creative. Each year, Thanksgiving dinner has a new theme. Sometimes, it’s a country. One year, the theme was ravioli! We made all different kinds of ravioli and sauces to mix and match.

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Last year, Thanksgiving was a few weeks after my grandma passed away. So our theme was Nana’s takes on Thanksgiving classics. Nana was known in our family for having some weird recipes. She loved collecting them from friends and writing them down for her recipe box. She brought us my favorite cheesecake in the world but also the purple chicken, which did not get such great reviews. Whether the dish was amazing or awful, it always sparked conversation, so we wanted to honor all of it. Well, we were sort of a mess this year so the theme fell apart and became deconstructed Thanksgiving classics, with little bits of Nana’s memory here and there.

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Let’s get to know each other! Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Opera Director Cherity | Denver Headshot Photography

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cherity for over three years now. Cherity is the Director of Education and the Director of the Young Artists at Opera Colorado. She had always been so great to work with through the opera, so I was so excited when she said she wanted to book me for her own headshots too! At the session, she kept telling me that she never looks good in photos, but I like proving people wrong. I think she looks stunning in these portraits!

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If you’ve been thinking about getting your portraits done for a website, audition, social media, or whatever, now is the time. Don’t let another year go by without updating your headshots. Winter can be a great time for a portrait session. This session took place in January and we had a ton of fun. Click here if you’re ready to book!

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Cherity decided to book her session with Brett, the Assistant Director of the Young Artist. It is such a great idea to book with a friend or coworker. You can encourage each other and help each other feel more comfortable. I switch off between the two of you, which gives you a few nice breaks from smiling so much. And we can do some fun photos of the two of you together! Plus, you can take advantage of a discount for booking back to back.

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We did this session at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I love this location for it’s clean, urban look. It is a cultural center of the city, making it a great backdrop for any kind of artist or arts admin. We also got to go in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and use the theater for a few photos. These made for some really classy headshots at the end of our session.

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

Local Lab 2017 | Boulder Theater Photography

Local Theater Company, in Boulder, puts on an incredible new-works festival each year called Local Lab. On Saturday of this year’s festival, they had a mainstage reading of Shostakovich, or Silence by Jason Grote and directed by Pesha Rudnick at the Dairy Arts Center. After the reading, the writer and director had a talk back with the audience, followed by an after party with food and an awesome DJ. The talk back was really constructive and Jason and Pesha revealed how the show all came together at the last minute.

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The party was a lot of fun, with great food and amazing music by DJ Savior Breath. Everyone was in chatting and laughing and discussing the reading. The party spilled out into the lobby and gallery of the Dairy Arts Center. Right as I was leaving, the lights went low and everyone started dancing!

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I loved that Local Lab had me come in for the talk back and after party. Since there was no rehearsal for the reading, I would have had to photograph it live, with the audience, which could have been disruptive. This way, I still got photos of the production team speaking on stage and of the ambiance in the room. Plus since the lights were on in the audience, I was able to get photos of the patron engaged and happy.

http://www.jamiekraus.com/

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It’s always good to have a photographer at events like after parties too. These photos are great for drawing crowds to future events, sharing with attendees, and posting on social media sites like facebook. They can also be used in future marketing materials to show happy patrons, crowds, and ambiance.

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http://www.jamiekraus.com/

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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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Opera Singer Omar | Denver Headshot Photography

When Omar came to me interested in new audition photos, he said he hadn’t gotten headshots in six years and that he looked like he was 12 in them. That’s a really good reason to get new headshots! We already knew each other since he was a tenor in the Young Artist program at Opera Colorado. I get to work with the Young Artists a lot throughout the season but I don’t always have the chance to get to know them. That’s why I love Denver headshot photography so much. I get to spend time with awesome people, like Omar!

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Our session was set for February and with Colorado weather, we had no idea if it would be sunny or a snowstorm.  We got the perfect middle ground though! It was a beautiful, sunny day and it started snowing part way through the session. It was pretty much perfect. A lot of people think I only shoot portrait sessions in the summer, since my sessions are mostly outdoors. I love photographing all year long though! I can take whatever the weather will throw at me. Plus, everyone looks good in sweaters and scarves, right? Omar definitely rocked them in this session.

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We did Omar’s headshots at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. This is a great location for performing artists. It has an aspirational element to it, it provides a wide range of backgrounds, and if the weather isn’t great, we can stay under the glass dome!

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A few months ago, I saw that they had torn down the bridge that the photos below were taken on. The Denver Performing Arts Center will be undergoing some major changes in the next couple years, and I guess this bridge was the first thing that had to go. It made me so sad to see this because the bridge was a really great spot for portraits. It got great light, it felt nice and private, and I loved the Convention Center facade in the background. Enjoy these photos, because you won’t see any more sessions here!

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

Total Solar Eclipse | Denver Photography

August 21st, 2017 had been saved in my calendar for two years. My partner loves space and watches astronomical events closely so when we realized that a total solar eclipse would be within a couple hours of us, we knew we had to be there. We tried looking for hotels and airbnb’s near Casper, but they were either sold out or out of our price range. Then we found a campsite, in the path of totality and even closer than Casper. It was perfect, but I was a bit worried. We had never been camping together and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. We’ve been through far more stressful experiences together, so I knew we could handle it, even if I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world.

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Camping turned out to be lots of fun. There were so many other people there who were excited to see the eclipse! Our camp was in an old rodeo arena and within walking distance of the Oregon Trail ruts. The ruts are where over time, the wagons carved a path in the rock as they traveled across Wyoming. It was incredible to see stone so clearly altered by humans, hundreds of years ago. And yes, there were lots of jokes about dying of dysentery!

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Even though our campsite was in the path of totality, we wanted to get even closer. We drove to a spot where we would be on the line of perfect totality. That means we would get an extra few seconds with the black hole in the sky. We were also near a bunch of cows, which I was really excited about. I wanted to see how animals reacted to the eclipse. The farm was very large and they were probably scared off by all the people, so I couldn’t really see them but I did hear them mooing!

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I was intent on experiencing the eclipse unencumbered but my partner wanted to photograph the event so I set up a camera and left him to it. I had another camera on a tripod taking video of the cows and the 360 degree sunset. You can watch the whole video below, just excuse the shakiness from when I picked it up to get a glimpse of the eclipse itself.

There is no way to describing the sight of a total solar eclipse, that would do it justice. I had seen so many photos and videos and heard from people who had seen them before and I was completely unprepared. And being near the path of totality, but not in it, is not even close.

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The “diamond ring” shot

As it got closer to 100%, it started getting darker around us, but not quite like the sun was setting. The sky looked hazy, and the sun was still visible, high in the sky. Then the sunset in all directions started to appear and we could hear the cows mooing and crickets chirping. But when it got to 100% totality, I immediately started crying. It was the most incredible sight. We had about two and half minutes of totality, but I don’t think any amount of time would have been enough. As the sun came out from behind the moon, I was able to see the “diamond ring” effect and my partner was able to capture it! I then raced over to the nearest white car to see the “shadow bands,” the snake like shadows from the edge of the sun shining through the moon’s mountains and valleys. And just like that, it was over and we had to head home.

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A composite showing the sun’s corona

The trip home was not quite as easy as the way there. It took us 8 hours to get home. It would have taken 2-3 hours normally. Eventually, we made it back to Colorado and stopped in Fort Collins for some much needed tacos. We already have plans for the next one to go through the U.S., seven years from now!

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Wanna meet me and chat? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.