We had the good fortune of connecting with Chip Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chip, how do you think about risk?
I have to laugh a little, I never even thought of the risks before starting my photography business. It was more of jump with both feet into the deep end and then figure everything out after that. But even as I write this, I still remember thinking back about all of the money I putting into this little project (and I still am) trying to make this work. Of course there are risks involved, we take risks just pulling out of the driveway in the morning. There are risks with everything you do.
There are risks in having children, obtaining the next degree, or starting something new. I guess through out my life, I have been willing to take risks, some life threatening, to achieve something I want. Take hiking up my first 14er (this is a mountain over 14, 000 feet in elevation). For somebody who has a fear of heights, it was a little intimating but it was my way of taking on this risk to maybe overcome this fear or at least learn how to deal with the fear.
I think back to when we had our three children, we thought of the risks, the cost, the time, but as everybody told us there is not a right time to have kids. Years later as they have grown into adults, there are still risks, fears, and of course joys with watching them grow up. Starting a business is full of risks….you have to be able to address each one, navigate through them, and determine the best course of action in handling each of the risks. Life is full of risks, but your character defines how you handle them.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am working to create an on line presence to sell my landscape and and nature photos. With the technology today, digital cameras, and social media I am in competition against a very large community of photographers that have been doing this for years. I would love to say this has totally replaced my income and I am now a full time photographer, but the reality is…no not yet. As I mentioned in the risk question, there are risks that come with it, but I am willing to keep working at it to find my place in the fine art photography world.
Lessons learning…well…there are some big ones out there. Instead of jumping in with both feet, I should have spent more time researching how to start a business. Should it be on line or should I open up a gallery. Do I start with social media first, or build my brand out there. These are just some of the topics I should have started with looking back at the beginning.
My story is a simple one. I wanted to bring my own interpretation of the local landscape of Colorado to the world, thus the name Colorful Colorado Photography. I hope to expand to the states around me, and as I grow my brand and business, set off to explore more of the country and bring my own photographic interpretation through my camera lens.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Because of where I live in the mountains of Colorado, we would spend the time outdoors. Hiking, sightseeing, and of course shooting photos of our beautiful state. I love to get out and hike or off road. My wife laughs that I am really happy when I am above 12,000 feet. That is where I feel at home. Again, remember that fear of heights…well I think I’ve learned how to handle that, ha ha.
As for the time of year….it would be in the fall. The fall color explosions are magnificent! I have so many “off the book” locations that not many people see, which also means untouched that it is exciting to be apart of the color glory of nature.
The central and southwest mountains of Colorado hold a special place in my heart. It allows me to escape where few people go. However, if I do run into other people, we all have a common goal, to be in nature. My friend and I would be meeting people and have short but meaningful conversations.
Some of my favorite places are the high off road passes of the San Juan Mountains, the trails and high off road passes of the Elk Range and the area around Twin Lakes and Crested Butte. These are places that I truly enjoy being outside soaking in the sun, the sounds, and the smells of the mountains.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife Dawn is my biggest supporter, but most importantly, she is the example of taking risks, creating success or dealing with failures. She works hard to be self employed. Dawn works to find that perfect mix and match of career opportunities to create success for herself. She is my example of try and try again until you succeed, however Dawn adds in: once you succeed, try to do something else along the way.
I would also add my friends and kids who support me in my mission to be a full time fine art landscape/nature photographer. They see the passion that I have for it and support me to succeed.
Facebook: Colorful Colorado Photography
The photos of me are taking by my wife Dawn Thomas. All others are example of my work.