BI: Tell me a little
bit more about how you came about deciding on a project like 365 Days of Pikes
Peak? How far ahead of your project start did you begin thinking about it? What
was your goal?
PPG: I had come up with the idea for the project about 6
months or more before I started, but hadn’t told anyone about until April 2010.
The minute I started talking about it, people told me that I had to do it!
started planning immediately and set a launch date of June 1st,
2010. My goal was simple; capture the beauty of Pikes Peak in photographs every
single day for a year... and share that with the world.
BI: What challenges did you anticipate prior to starting the
project, and which challenges caught you by surprise?
PPG: As I started preparing for the project, I knew it would
be a challenge to find enough time everyday to get out there and find the most
beautiful shot the day had to offer… what I didn’t anticipate is what that
really looked like.
There were some days where I had my day all planned out and
would get up at 4am to go for a long hike and set up deep in the forest for a
sunrise shot. And it would fail miserably. The sunrise ended up being
completely unremarkable! So I would hike back out, get home 8am and head back
out on my lunch break to try again. But mid day shots seldom work so I would
keep my eye on the weather and the light the entire afternoon and plan an
evening/sunset shoot instead. I would end up hiking out on a cliff in the
middle of nowhere, and wait for some magic at sunset. If I got home by 9pm on a
night like that I was lucky. Then I had 3 different photo shoots to sort
through. Often times that would be 500 pictures or more – and it would take
hours. I would pick my favorite shot of the day, write about my experiences
that day, and race to publish it on my blog, Facebook and Twitter by midnight.
I had to get it published by midnight because it was called the “Picture of the
Day”, not the picture of the day before! This hard deadline drove everything!
So on a day like that, I started at 4am and finished at
midnight - and then I would start all over again the next day. Not every day
was like this, but it happened often. To that extent, I had no clue what it
meant to do this every day for an entire year.
I had to readjust everything in my life to accommodate for the time
demands of the project and not let it overwhelm me. But soon found my groove
and I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences
of my life!
BI: I imagine you’ve met a number of people during your
journey, especially those who’ve helped you with access to locations etc. Besides meeting new people, what other
benefits have you gained during this project?
PPG: I think one of the biggest benefits of the project was
that it forced me to explore every corner of our community and I found the most
beautiful places on earth – right in my own backyard. I hike and explored some
of the most remote locations you could imagine. I thought I knew the Pikes Peak
region better than most, but I was discovering new things every day and loving
BI: What was it like working with Kickstarter to get the
funding to publish this book? Had you
considered following a more traditional publishing route first?
PPG: Kickstarter was probably the most interesting part of
this entire project. By using a crowd source funding solution to get the book
published, I changed the way many people think about bringing their dreams to
At the time my Kickstarter project funded, it was the 3rd highest funded project in my category.
This was a huge accomplishment for someone who had never been published
before for someone who didn’t even use their own name! And the publishing world
is taking notice.
Kickstarter gave someone like me the chance to do something
that the traditional publishing world would have never given me, and it is
doing the same for so many others who have great ideas/projects and a tribe of
people who are willing to support them.
Kickstarter changes the game for everyone, and I guarantee
we will all be hearing more about it as time goes on.
BI: Some of my favorite pictures from the book are the ones
that don’t necessarily have the Peak in them..
had you planned shots ahead of time for those times when the Peak wasn’t
PPG: My original vision was to get the summit of Pikes Peak
in the shot somehow with each picture. But as I began to explore all things
Pikes Peak, I realized that the summit was just a part of it. There are so many
beautiful things in our community that represent Pikes Peak that I had to
adjust my vision and incorporate those into the project or it wouldn’t be
BI: It’s been just
over a year since you completed the year long project.. besides publishing the
initial book last Fall, what else have you been up to?
PPG: Well, as of today I have published 3 books and the 2013
calendar, and I am very proud of that! As you know, I published the hardbound
coffee table book in October of last year, and today have created a newly
designed softcover version that is in limited release now, and will be
available in bookstores this September! I have also published a keepsake book
entitled “Images of Spring” and finally there is the 2013 wall calendar. It has been a ton of work to get these books
published, but I am so proud of how wonderful they turned out. My next focus is
to do a gallery exhibit and show the world how amazing the photos look in large
|Yes... those are PPG's trail trekking feet!
BI: Ok, now I have to
change subject a little… a few months
back you posted pics of your new Vibram Five Finger KSO’s.. What prompted that, and what are your
thoughts on minimalist shoes and the natural running style?
PPG: I love those
shoes!!! Sorry, I just had to blurt that out.
But the truth of the matter is that it was you and your blog
that got me thinking about minimalist shoes. I have had a lingering knee injury
that has kept me from running over the past year and so I had been working on
my elliptical to try to gain strength and get back to my pre-injury shape. After reading your blog I decided to take my
shoes off just to see what it did and how it felt. I was shocked at how taking my shoes off made
me change my long stride and heel strike approach to running… and how that in
turn took the jolt and impact off my knee. Within a month my knee pain was
virtually gone and I was running again. I am not saying this is a solution to
knee problems, but for me it was exactly what I needed and my Vibram Five
Finger KSO’s are the most amazing shoe I have ever owned. They are the only shoes I hike/run in now.
One of the most interesting and unexpected things I like about them is how
connected I feel to the trail. ( BI Note: I was able to take PPG up the Incline for his first trip.. we had a great run and looking forward to more!)
I can tell you that over the course of the project I hiked
hundreds of miles… and I wish I knew about them from the very beginning!