We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Ryser and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It started out as a hobby; I started a Facebook group for local wildlife photographers. It started out very slowly, with only a couple of dozen local photographers at first, and stayed that way for months. We’d add new members at a very slow pace for the longest time, and that was perfectly fine – this was a labor of love. Then we started adding lots of new members, mostly local, some from elsewhere in the state, and some from elsewhere in the US. We even had some from other countries.
We had members who were professional wildlife photographers, semi-professionals, lots of enthusiasts, and a lot of new photographers.
It made sense to see if we could use some of the more experienced photographers to offer training to the new photographers. We started a MeetUp group and started offering classes in various aspects of photography. We also started doing art shows.
What should our readers know about your business?
The actual business no longer exists; it’s a long story (if you’d like to cut this section, feel free)
I noticed an increasing trend of local wildlife photographers causing problems and behaving with questionable ethics towards wildlife (trampling down fences, crowding nests).
I made what I thought was a good ethical decision – I asked people to stop putting locations of any kind in their posts in the Facebook group. I had no idea how badly people would react to a simple request.
My role immediately switched from administrator to policeman; I started with gentle reminders of the new rule, and received hostility beyond my wildest expectations. eventually decided to shut down the Facebook group and the MeetUp group. The Facebook group now exists as a small, private group with less than 1% of the previous group population.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m afraid that most of the spots for a tour would be outside the city.
Day 1: Casa Bonita – it’s a bit on the campy side, but a must-see
Day 2: Roxborough State Park
Day 3: Mt Evans, with a respite in Idaho Springs, with a stop at 2 Brothers Deli (https://www.2brosdeli.com/)
Day 4: Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, with dinner at the Hunter’s Chop House (https://hunterschophouse.com/) or the Twin Owls Steakhouse (https://taharaa.com/twin-owls-steakhouse/)
Dat 5: Pikes Peak via the Cog Railway (https://www.cograilway.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1dGJBhD4ARIsANb6OdmK686Vi_TK9UimKmNKolZr3Xf5DiHKNpefyzhXhzchZ7MC0ue5ds0aAjMPEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds)
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?
Lauren Lang (https://www.facebook.com/laurenalang) She started the Art Show wing of the group.
Website: www.alpenglow.photo (some NSFW content)