We had the good fortune of connecting with Colin Shreffler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Colin, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.” – It means that I can always make a choice to find the positive and be content in any situation. We can not control the things that happen to us but we can control how we choose to react to them.
In our personal or professional lives, we often find ourselves having to react to external forces outside of our control. Between the time that happens and the time we react, there is a gap of time. Early in my life that gap was so short that I didn’t even realize it was there and I would typically react emotionally or defensively. As I’ve aged, I’ve figured out that I can use that time, slow things down, and make more educated and positive decisions on how to react to my situation.
There are things that we simply can’t control. But we can always choose to see a situation from a different perspective. I find that when I do that I can always find a silver lining, empathy for another person, stay positive, and appreciate that life is not black and white, but infinite shades of grey; which is a beautiful thing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always considered myself to be very technical. My dad bought me a Commodore 64 as a child and I wrote my first program at the age of 10. I earned my undergraduate degree in physics, worked for NASA right out of college and have spent my time since then working as a self taught software engineer. I only recently realized that writing software was a creative process, not purely technical, and I had the epiphany that I was creative in other aspects of my life. I decided to explore that side of myself.
When my oldest son was in film school, I developed an interest in his studies and we worked on a video project together. It was during that time that I fell in love with the power of the photograph. Since then I have been addicted to learning and honing my skills. What I enjoy most about photography is how it allows me to view the world in a new way and ultimately how it connects me to others.
I am most proud of what ever it is that I’m currently working on. I’m never satisfied with my work and I’m always striving to do better.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned along the way is that we are each on our own journey. Every single one of us has had a unique experience and perspective. This often reveals itself to me by how someone connects to or reacts to a photograph.
To me, art, is about honesty. When I’m true to what I love, it will resonate with the right person at the right time. I love the idea that I can create something that can stir an emotional response in another human. I took a photo of a husband and wife during a wedding reception. Weeks later I witnessed the groom’s mother weep as she looked at that photo. That was powerful and that drives me to keep creating.
Learning to be a photographer was not easy. But it has been super fun and has changed my life. The moral of my story is that I labeled myself early on and I think that held me back from discovering a talent and passion. Believe in yourself and take the first step…
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park & Trail Ridge Road Latke Love in Littleton
Edelweiss in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
A concert at Red Rocks
Union American Bistro in Castle Rock
Camping anywhere in the Mountains
and a quick hop over to Moab, Utah
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family, of course. As someone who has had many interests, my wife has had to share me with my obsession for learning. My focus and passion has always been one of her favorite and least favorite things about me, but she has been patient and supportive. The best thing I’ve ever done with my life is to be a Dad. My children are my best friends and, ironically, have taught me more about the world and myself than I ever expected to teach them. My family is my joy, support, and greatest source of humility.