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Photographer documents his love of seeing

Cindy Blankenship

r For the Tidings

Sean Bagshaw began his photography career as an unexpected result of doing what came naturally to him: scaling the peaks of mountains. Having traveled widely since he was a child, his love of seeing &

and experiencing &

new vistas drew him to his first Mount McKinley climb in 1998.


That climb was what kind of started my idea of becoming a professional photographer,&

says Bagshaw, who had been documenting exhibitions with his photos. &

Denali (native name for Mount McKinley) is visually stunning, and I started seeing potentials for a creative artistic outlet.&

The combination of this inspiration and the experience of sharing slideshow presentations of expeditions to places like Mount McKinley, the Andes, Nepal and Tibet motivated Bagshaw to become a full-time photographer last year after teaching science at Ashland Middle School for 12 years.

Early this summer he returned to mountaineering after taking a couple years off to stay nearer his wife Jennifer and their new babies, Aiden, who is now — 1/2, and Griffin, who recently turned 2.


This year, going as a professional photographer to Mount McKinley, I was really excited to capture the climb and the mountain&

133;I had a fantastic climb and brought back some good stories and nice pictures,&

says Bagshaw.

These pictures are displayed in his online gallery where he sells fine prints, image licensing and other services, such as assignment and portrait photography. With his Canon SLR and professional lenses and his large format printer, he can create stunning, large poster size prints as well as smaller ones. His prints are featured in a growing number of private and commercial collections, art shows and galleries and also appear on greeting cards, calendar and in magazines.

Because he wants to fully experience the adventures where he photographs, whether it be mountaineering, kayaking, mountain biking or skiing, he carries only one camera body and one lens with him, secured in a chest harness.

Taking photos from an elevation of over 20,000 feet on Mount McKinley is &

No Day at the Beach,&

as one of his photos from there is titled. Winds can break tents, temperatures can climb to 95 degrees inside a tent and then with lightning speed drop to 10 or more below when the sun sets, for starters.



s no other place to experience that lifestyle, the scenery and natural beauty, the raw elemental power, the extremes,&

he says.


Every step of the trip there are amazing things to photographs, the natural patterns in the snow, the geometric formations of the mountains, the struggle and toil of climbers around you&


Browsing through Bagshaw&

s photo gallery is an adventure in wonder as well as extremely visually pleasing. In one of his mountaineering photos, five brightly colored tents are miniaturized by a towering white mountain, the blue sky contrasting with the bright orange and red in the tents. One of the Oregon photographs captures an oak tree on Grizzly Peak backlit by a thunderstorm sky.


I feel really fortunate because we do have so much natural wonder here. And Ashland&

s a very photogenic town, and of course Lithia park,&

adds Bagshaw, who shoots more photos in Southern Oregon and Northern California than anywhere else.


I always had a desire for a creative outlet,&

he says. &

I used to paint and draw, but you have to sit still to paint. Also, you&

re either creating your picture of another image or out of your mind. And you&

re not going to drag your paints up to Mount McKinley and sit for hours.


So the ability to capture these images and express myself artistically and creatively, and the ability to take the tool with me, just suits my style. I also really like the experience of being able to create these images where I have to be in that spot. ... I get to see that storm brewing over the top of that oak tree, and I get to experience that and capture that instant in time.&

Visit , or call him at 482-6055.