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ABOUT

Colleen Miniuk Headshot

Hi! My name is Colleen Miniuk (pronounced "Min-ick." Formerly "Miniuk-Sperry"). I use the pronouns she/her/hers.

I'm a Corporate-America-escapee turned full-time freelance outdoor photographer, writer, publisher, instructor, and motivational speaker, supporting a wide range of assignments for editorial and commercial clients. Specializing in nature and outdoor recreation, my purpose as an outdoor communicator is to inspire and help others enjoy the Great Outdoors.

I currently reside in Chandler, Arizona, on the ancestral homelands of the Hohokam. Growing up in Ohio, Arkansas, and Illinois, I never intended to become an outdoor communicator...

In 1997, armed with a Bachelor of Business Administration-Computer Information Systems degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!), I moved to Phoenix, Arizona to begin a 10-year project management career in software development at Intel Corporation.

Initially as an outlet to corporate life, I began making photographs of the Western landscapes in late 2001 during my "Introduction to Photography" class at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Two years later, I started selling my photographs at art shows across Arizona. In 2006, I had my first photograph published in a magazine. Then, in February 2007, I left the grey cubicle walls of Corporate America to pursue a full-time career in photography and writing. Now, I can't imagine life wandering without a camera or a notebook in hand!

My publication credits include National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, AAA VIA, On Landscape, National Parks Traveler, and a broad variety of other publications. 

In hopes of encouraging others to enjoy the Great Outdoors, I have authored the award-winning guidebooks, Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers, A Guide to When, Where, & How (1st and 2nd editions). I also authored the instructional eBook, Seeing the Light in Outdoor Photography and acted as the publisher and editor for Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildlife, A Guide to When, Where, & How. I working on my first travel adventure memoir, Going with the Flow.

I have also served three times as an Artist-in-Residence with Acadia National Park (November 2010, October 2011, and January 2013) which enabled me to author the award-winning guidebook, Photographing Acadia National Park: The Essential Guide to When, Where, and How (1st and 2nd editions).

In celebration of the Colorado River watershed--and in hopes of encouraging all viewers to consider your own relationship with the Colorado River and other water sources where you live--16 of my photographs are featured in a solo photography exhibition "The Current Flows: Water in the Arid West." The show was curated by Jeanne Falk Adams (Ansel Adams' daughter-in-law) and was offered in conjunction with the Vital Waters photography exhibition. We produced a beautiful exhibition catalogue to accompany the show.

I'm just as excited to help others learn photography as I am making my own images, so I've proudly led photography workshops for my own company, CMS Photography, as well as organizations like the Arizona Highways Photography Workshops (AHPW), Moab Photography Symposium, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Wildlife Federation's "Becoming an Outdoor Woman," Through Each Others Eyes, and for numerous private clients. In 2017, I started Sheography, all women's photography workshops.

In late 2019, I started the photography advice column, Dear Bubbles (which I'm working on turning into a book).

I believe learning never ends, and so I'm proud to be an active member with the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). I have also served as the interim Executive Director during the first half of 2017 and the Secretary on the Board of Directors (from 2016-2019). I'm currently serving as the Treasurer. I've been named Outstanding Board Member five times and in 2019, I received the prestigious J. Hammond Brown Memorial Award for my dedicated service to the organization.

When I'm not photographing, writing, or teaching, I probably off camping, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, making sand and snow angels, taking adult ballet lessons, playing my flute, sipping Chardonnay or gin, reading, laughing, goofing off, wandering, and wondering...my life's motto is "You can sleep when you're dead." I intend to make the most of the short time I have on this Earth, helping and inspiring as many people as I can to do the same along the way. I promise I won't make you do a handstand or a sand angel on a workshop, but I firmly believe you should try both at least once in your life...

To get a better idea of my approach and philosophies in my photography, writing, business, and life, check out some of the fun interviews I've done with a variety of awesome people, visit my Interviews page.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope to cross paths with you "out there!" Until then, be well, be WILD!

~Colleen (aka "Bubbles")

 

Colleen Handstand
Photo credit Guy Tal
Photo credit Guy Tal