C.I.T. PHOTOS by Nick Sadigh:

Nick was a Photography Camper with us in 2012, 2013, and a C.I.T. in 2014, and will be a counselor with us in 2015. Nick lives in Seattle and besides photography is interested in computer science, science, history, medicine, lacrosse, and crew! Thanks Nick for these Awesome photos!

Special Thanks To William Mesa of FlashFilmWorks…

William Mesa, founder and owner of FlashFilmWorks, a Hollywood  based special effects studio, was for two years in a row  one of our leading donors to our annual  scholarship fundraiser with crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo.  William is considered one of the most innovative visual effects director’s  in the film  industry.  He has three Emmy’s and has done  award- winning  work for The Fugitive, Outland,  Stand By Me, Rambo, The Karate Kid III, to name just a few of hundreds of his film credits.

You can read all about William and his amazing special effects company, FlashFilmWorks here:  http://www.flashfilmworks.com/billbio.htm

William attended a YMCA summer camp in Griffith Park near Los Angeles, as a teen, and some 50 years later still remembers this experience  not only as inspirational but  life changing.  Time- permitting William has kindly offered to visit our camp this summer, no promises, but there is always the possibility!

Bouldering Summer Camp!

The Circuit’s Camp Rockstar is a great way to keep your child active during the summer months! During each week-long session, our instructors provide a fun and social climbing environment in which to explore new terrain and build confidence on and off the wall. Through group games, one-on-one instruction, and open climbing time, campers will learn techniques to improve their climbing. In addition to working on climbing development, our instructors lead campers in fun activities including slacklining, yoga, and outdoor games. Camp Rockstar is an award winning summer camp! Visit our website for more information and to register online. Offered at our two Portland locations from June 16th – August 28th. New Tigard location August 4th – 28th. Monday - Friday. 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Ages 5-12.

The Circuit Bouldering Gym opened in 2005 in Southwest Portland. We now boast 2 Portland locations and a third 19,000 square foot facility coming to Tigard this summer!

Earning a Living as a Professional Photographer

While it is not a big part of our Photography Camp, Photography campers in 2014  will get a chance to “pick the brains”   of our professional photographers concerning  how exactly they have gone about earning all or part of  their living with photography.

I have been most fortunate in getting to know many professional photographers.  Some have  have become my best friends, hence the creation of the Columbia Gorge Teen Photography Camp.  Some specialize in weddings, portraits, corporate or travel photography.  The sky seems to be the limit with photography.  In terms of earning a living doing what you love, photography seems to be king!  Outdoor photographers often specialize in action sports they already participate in  at a high level:  These would include surfing,  kite surfing, windsurfing, snow skiing, snowboarding , water skiiing or wake boarding, or rock climbing or mountaineering, among many other sports and adventure sports.  This stands to reason!  A surfing photographer will get much better surfing photographs if he is an advanced or expert surfer.  He will know who the best surfers are to photograph, the best surfing beaches to shoot, the best wind and tide conditions to be present, and would also know the lingo and the ins and outs of that particular  action-sport.  Many photographers shoot a bit of this and a bit of that, to keep broadening their horizons, to replenish their bank accounts and to broaden their customer base. But many end up specializing in shooting the sport they love the most and actively pursue. 

Ski photography is something that is very close to my heart as I have worked as a skier for professional photographers, and even photographed some excellent skiers, myself. High level, adventurous alpine snow skiing, particularly powder skiing,  has been a very big part of my life for over 45 years.  I have had the good fortune to have skied with some of the best skiers in  the world, and with some of the best ski photographers of the world.  These guys earn their humble living, let me tell you…

When renowned Alta Ski Photographer, Lee Cohen, recently brought me a signed copy of his book, “Alta Magic,” I was stunned by its overall beauty, and by his uncanny ability to capture some of the most spectacular moments of this surreal-high action  sport of deep powder skiing.  While there are lots of ski photographers who shoot powder skiing, no one to my knowledge has ever  captured these sublime moments as subjectively and captivatingly and authentically  as Lee.  Please enjoy the following interview with celebrated ski photographer, Lee Cohen as he is interviewed by  backcountry.com.  Learn how he got started, and how he gets absolutely amazing photographs  again and again of the famous deep powder skiing of Alta, Utah.  Special thanks to Lee Cohen and backcountry.com for allowing us to reprint this fascinating interview.  Enjoy

posted on  December 2, 2013 

I grew up within the tight-knit community of Alta, Utah, and the walls of my bedroom and most of my surroundings were covered with photographs taken by Lee Cohen—everything from the iconic white-room powder turn somewhere in the Cottonwood Canyons to a triple-rigged raft engulfed in the powerful rapids of the Cataract Canyon River. If you’ve ever taken a moment to look through an outdoor magazine, or a Patagonia or Columbia clothing catalog, chances are you’ve seen one of Lee’s photographic visions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in New York. I skied a bunch as a kid, not as much as families that had ski houses. My dad had skied during the ’40s, so he took me to the old school places—this little place Silvermine that doesn’t exist any more, Bromley, Mt. Snow. I had some friends who had ski houses near Hunter and Stratton. I got to go with them sometimes.

How did you get your start in photography? Were there any specific
motivations or influences?

I liked shooting pictures, so I started shooting my friends skiing. There wasn’t really anybody around Alta doing that, and ski photography was in a considerably earlier stage. There were a few ski photographers then, but it wasn’t as big of a deal as it is now. There wasn’t any kind of scene like there is now, and there wasn’t even such a thing as a pro skier in the sense that there is now.


Visit BackCountry.com for the Full Interview

Review from Last Year’s Climbing Camp

We wanted to share the below note from last year’s Elsa Nader. Thanks Elsa!

Columbia Gorge Teen Climbing Camp has truly made me grow as a person. I have always had a passion for climbing, but do not have too much time for it in the busy school year. This camp was the perfect opportunity for me to get out of the city and explore the beautiful and expansive region of the Columbia Gorge, as well as get a lot of climbing in! Thanks to the small group I was able to make close new friends and have a genuine relationship with the instructor. Even though I was the only girl in my group the second year, I fit in and felt included in all aspects of the trip. On top of this I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and climbing with star female climber, Beth Rodden, at Smith Rocks. This experience greatly improved my climbing technique and provided a new perspective on climbing. Columbia Gorge Teen Camps are amazingly multi- faceted, which made for a well rounded, fulfilling, and most of all extremely fun camp experience. I wish I could go back for a third year, and I always think back of my two summers there with a smile.


- Elsa Nader

Craig Hanson photos from the Buffalo River

I just got back from a 5-day canoe trip on the Buffalo River, Arkansas. Had quite an adventure! It was my first time in the area and I was amazed by the abundance of wildlife. We encountered hundreds of turtles along the shore, countless blue heron and other birds, and even a bald eagle or two. One of the highlights of the trip was exploring the old ghost mining town of Rush that was once home for up to 5,000 fortune seekers. Those people have long since disappeared, but many of the wooden and stone structures they built remain, as well as the irises and roses they planted which have become wild and spread throughout the surrounding land.

Below are some of the many photos I took on the trip, including a few of the ghost town Rush. Aside from music and photography, canoeing is one of my great passions; I was actually first introduced to the sport at a summer camp in Minnesota when I was a teenager. It is my hope that some of our own campers will participate in activities that will develop into lifetime passions as well.

From Surafel Abeel

We recently received the below letter from one of our past campers. Thanks Surafel!!

Colombia Gorge Teen Camp is the best way to spend a summer! I was a camper two summers ago and I had the best ten days of my summer with entertaining activities like river rafting, rock climbing and backpacking.  There isn’t any single moment where you will be bored because you leave in the morning and have a great time in the wilderness, learning water sports from
world-class experts, from surfing in the ocean to white water rapids. And back at campsite just in

time for dinner. The food is delicious and you have plenty to make sure you’re full.  The days fly! Last summer, I went back as a counselor-in-training and had a blast with the campers and developed my leadership skills. Thank you Colombia Gorge Teen Camp for giving me an amazing camp experience and for teaching me leadership.


- Surafel Abeel


Photos from Southeast Asia

Why Sign up for our teen photo camp? Here is one of many reasons:   One evening at Camp this coming summer, Garret will present an exciting evening of fine art photography and commentary from his recent foray into Southeast Asia.   Hopefully someday you too will be able to travel and take marvelous photographs to sell back home or treasure for a lifetime.  Be sure and see Garret’s  attached photos from his recent four month trip  to Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and even Burma.   Below is a synopsis of his photo-journey to be expanded upon at camp this summer: 

I’ve always been intrigued by Southeast Asia, enamored by photographs I’ve seen since my childhood.  Taking a trip there has always been a dream of mine, so this year I decided to finally make it a reality.  With 60 lbs. of equipment strapped to my back, and a small duffel with a change of clothing slung across my chest, I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok.  I didn’t have an itinerary or a plan, I just knew I wanted to meet some amazing people and capture somewonderful  images, so I set off to make it happen.

As I knew I had an arduous journey ahead, I started my trip off in a relaxing way on the Thai island of Phuket, helping a fellow photographer out on a Television  show he was filming.  After two weeks shooting two dozen models on the most beautiful beach I’ve ever experienced, I was ready to see another side of Asia, a little more off the beaten path.  I flew to Hanoi, where I bought a motorcycle, and set off on the most amazing 4,000km ride  of my life.  My tour began to the north where I wandered China’s southern provinces, spending the evenings wandering the Li River valley and photographing the local fisherman. Unlike most fishermen, these used cormorant birds to catch the fish for them! From there I ventured onward  to China’s Redland, Doungchuen, where the earth and harvest give the land the most amazing pallet.  After then touring through the rice terraced mountains of northern Vietnam, it was another 2,000km through marvelous mountain landscapes and old fishing coastlines to Saigon until I finally made it to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  This is the  home of Angkor Wat in all of its ancient splendor, where my beloved bike and I parted ways.  It was then on to northern Thailand for the infamous lantern festivals, Loy Kathong and Yii Ping.    I was very  fortunate that both landed on the same day, so it was hundreds of thousands of floating lanterns and an entire weekend with fireworks filling every alleyway of the old city.  From there, I rented a motorcycle and headed for the Burmese border, where I spent a week wandering through miles of undeveloped caves and rainforests in Pang Mapha.  After that difficult journey, I was ready to relax a bit, so I began to work my way south.  After a brief stop in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, I took a catamaran to Koh Tao, one of Thailand’s tropical paradises.  I spent a week scuba diving ship wrecks, swimming with turtles and searching for whale sharks.  After 4 months on the road and 4 terabytes of images to go through, I headed back to Los Angeles, happy to see some familiar sights but quickly missing the fascinating land and people  I left behind.

It was odyssey or raw adventure I’ve always dreamt of having, and it  lived up the pedestal I’d placed it on.  It was life-changing  to experience such diverse and beautiful landscapes, and meet such an interesting cross section of people.  This is an intriguing  land where a hundred miles can separate two completely separate ways of life!   Diverse cultures have been developing for 1000′s of years, and there is an infinite number of things to explore and journeys to experience.  It was truly the definition of a trip of a lifetime, and I already can’t wait to have another.  Iceland, here I come!!

Columbia Gorge Teen Camps will be at the Summer Camp Expo in Newton, MA

Attention Parents and Teens: Here is a unique opportunity to meet with nearly 100 summer camps and summer youth programs all under one roof!!!

Summer Camp Expo, Newton, MA   February 3:  5:30 to 8:00p.m.

If you live in the Boston area you will not want to miss this great opportunity to meet with some of the best summer youth programs in the USA.  Check this link for more information:  http://www.campsourcenetwork.com/summer-camp-teen-program-events/

Be Sure and visit the booth belonging to Columbia Gorge Teen Camps for the best offerings in Outdoor Photography and Action Video, Rock Climbing and Water Sports!

Last Year's Summer Camp Expo