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Backpacker Magazine: Week Eight

Sunday, July 22, 2012 7:59 pm

Sooner than I imagined, my internship at BACKPACKER and summer in Boulder has come to an end. Although Friday officially marked my last day, I’ll be hard at work for one more week before saying my final farewells.

This week came and went like most. I spent a good deal of time working out details for the Rocky Mountain Journal and assisted in the studio a bit. I had another opportunity to model– this time for a product that will be featured in the Editor’s Choice for the fall gear guide. Trust me, this shoot was every bit as glamourous as modeling for the fitness slideshow… America’s Next Top Model, here I come (completely joking of course.)

As the internship comes to a close, I am extraordinarily grateful for the experience and perspective I’ve received. Working for a few years in photo editing and publication may be the perfect way to launch a successful freelance photography career–to have a stable job and steady income to rely on while I work to build my portfolio and branding. I’ll add a few thoughts to this after the end of next week. For now there’s much to process.

Until then,


Backpacker Magazine: Week Six

Sunday, July 8, 2012 11:33 pm

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for… visit for an informational slideshow on how to prepare your legs for hilly hikes (or beach week or whatever!) This slideshow was not only my debut as a fitness model but my first little bit of published content for BACKPACKER. Boom.

The July/August issue went to press on Tuesday which means the frenzy has settled quite a bit. A portion of the staff took advantage of the lull and went on vacation this week. I took off on Tuesday for a little hiking venture (very much encouraged around our office.) Monday night after work we set off for the town of Silver Plume where we camped at the base of Gray’s Peak. Early the next morning we set off to summit of the infamous Colorado fourteeners. Sitting at an elevation of 14,278 ft, Gray’s is the tallest mountain in the Colorado front range. The hike began around 12,00ft and in a matter of three hours we had gained over 2,000 ft of elevation. Don’t laugh when I tell you the hike was only about 4 miles each way– it was tough. I blame my sea-level lungs for the struggle at high altitude but honestly it was tough on the legs as well. The view from the top was beyond rewarding, check out this photo from the summit.

To the far left (hanging outside of the frame) is Torrey’s Peak, another fourteener. To the right you can see a rainstorm sweeping across the ridge. On the way down we got hit by that little gem. Rain, wind, hail, and all… whew. If you look really close you’ll see a little spider web structure at the base of the peak in the center of the image. To put things in perspective, that is the trail. If you ever make it out to Colorado, make time to do a fourteener, it’s truly an experience for the ole bucket list.

The rest of the work week was spent on preparing images for our web edition of the magazine. Our media group produces annual guides for several national parks including the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a good opportunity to get a few photos published… I’ll be spending time in the next week or so to plan and photograph parts of the park. Keep your fingers crossed, this would be a good step to put myself on the map for this media group.

The wildfires have finally been contained and we have been blessed with several days of rain– hallelujah! Here’s a photo of the Flatirons when the fire hit its climax earlier this week.

Until next time,


Backpacker Magazine: Week Five

Sunday, July 1, 2012 12:17 am

The offices of Active Interest Media have been anything but boring. The folks at Urban Climber announced that they would ship their last issue this week. After almost a decade the doors were closed on a fine publication as friends and colleagues said their goodbyes.

The reality of moving into the world of media and journalism is that the whole industry is undergoing a drastic transformation. As I sit blogging in my neighborhood Starbucks, exactly one of the nine other customers is reading a paperback novel. The rest of us? We’re glued to some sort of flashy digital device. In my case, I’m writing on a laptop while streaming NPR for free on my headphones. Every so often my phone bleeps to let me in on the latest happening… even if it is just a buddy wanting to go climb. It’s undeniable that the way we consume information has changed. It is disappointing to see Urban Climber close but it’s also an in valuable lesson. We don’t know how we’ll consume media just five years from now but as the trends show, it won’t be a print magazine. Photographers, writers, publishers have to generate income in ways other than by print sales. It’s up to a handful of us to discover just how to do that.

I’ve been assigned to a sub-committee of editors to kick off a pretty neat initiative for 2013. I wish I could tell you more about it but, again, it’ll have to wait. Some elements I’ve enjoyed are networking with other groups in the outdoor industry and watching a large scale initiative unfold. It’s also cool to work with a small team and be able to contribute.

This Wednesday was the annual Boulder Bike to Work Day. We had about 75% participation in our office. Some rode as many as 40 miles. The office provided breakfast and lunch. A group of us took a spin around the area during lunch. It was a great to spend more time with the staff outside the cubicles and conference rooms.

During lunch we’re encouraged to get out and do something active. Usually, I’ll go for a short run but with temperatures soaring above 100, it’s been a little less appealing. This week I decided to check out a couple rock climbing gyms close to the office. On Friday, I met some friends at the local favorite and had a blast. With about a month left here in Boulder, I may have to splurge for a membership. There’s just nothing quite like escaping the office for an afternoon climb.

All the best,


Backpacker Magazine: Week Four

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:35 am

It’s press week at Active Interest Media, which means everybody’s scrambling, not just the Climbing staff. Ready or not, the August issue goes to press on Friday. By the time it hits the news stands and your mailbox, digital content must be primed and ready to go. Every QR code, hyperlink, and trip ID must be linked to the appropriate photos, maps and slideshows… not to mention the iPad edition… and did we ever hear back from that sleeping bag company?

After weeks of emails, phone calls, and trips to the mail room, each and every piece of gear had finally arrived. It was time to hit the photo studio. I spent the better part of the morning steaming each and every merino wool and polypropylene wrinkle–have you ever tried to de-wrinkle a sleeping bag? I assure you, it is no small task.

Although it seems time consuming, steaming before shoots is a lifesaver. Once upon a time, I was working a portrait shoot for University Photographer Ken Bennett, due to extenuating circumstance we used an older, wrinkled backdrop. I spent several hours of a Saturday night photoshoping that background smooth. As I worked, our staff photographer Ben and photo assistant Andrew perfected the studio lighting. The time passed quickly as we kept each other company discussing political conspiracy theories… what really happened to JFK? In the words of the Avett Brother’s “ain’t it like most people, I’m no different, we love to talk on things we don’t know about.”

Before we could take a single picture, each product had to be styled. Did you know there are industry standards for the appropriate placing of shoe laces?

The best part of the shoot came at the very end of the day. I can’t give specifics but I learned a great party trick involving fire and cheese. Can’t wait until we’re both at a wine and cheese gathering? I guess you’ll just have to pick up the August issue of BACKPACKER and impress your friends yourself.

In addition to studio time, I spent an afternoon writing captions for our online photo slideshows. A seemingly simple task can be quite involved. After contacting each photographer, the info must be fact-checked and then crunched into one concise, catchy, inspirational sentence.

All around Boulder wildfires are burning. Today a lighting bolt struck only a few miles from town. While the authorities believe it’s under control, evacuations have begun. By night, the ridge of the mountain glows like lava.

The fires aren’t the only things ablaze. We’ve had the highest temperatures on record since 1946. It’s reached 1o6 twice and 100 almost everyday. The weekend cued a mad search for a place to cool off. We found the Eldorado Springs pool. The pool is located in the scenic Eldorado Canyon and is fed by natural spring water. Not only is it beautiful but the pool built by miners in 1905 deep end sinks to 30 feet in the deep end!

In the next couple weeks I’m looking forward to hiking a few fourteeners (peaks at or above 14,000 ft above sea level.) Perhaps Long’s Peak with a couple folks from the magazine. Of course, I’ll keep you in the know :)



Backpacker Magazine: Week Three

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:28 am

By the third week, BACKPACKER is starting to feel like home.

This week began like any other with a staff meeting and project update. Three of our staff members including the editor-in-chief and my two superiors in the photo department competed in a 13 mile tough mudder over the weekend. If you aren’t sure what a tough mudder is check out The one they participated in was one of the most strenuous in the nation and included an optional haircut for charity at the beginning of the race. Not surprisingly, my co-workers jumped at the opportunity. Two of the three are still sporting mohawks. The third? His haircut was the outline of a hand on the top of his head. He has since shaved bald… still quite a sacrifice for someone who typically rocks shoulder length blond locks.

Part of my job as an intern is to do some preliminary product testing. So far I’ve had the opportunity to play with, I mean, test a fun little camera as well as an iphone photography accessory. Want to know what they are an what I thought? You’ll just have to wait.

On Wednesday I had my debut as a fitness model. In just a couple weeks you will be able to visit to prepare your legs to hit the trail.

Over the weekend, I joined a couple members of our staff for a climbing trip to Clear Water Canyon. Our routes weren’t quite this technical, but you can check out the climbing across the river in the photo below. The second photo I snagged while on a post-work hike through Gregory Canyon

Also, I joined our photo editor to shoot a photography how-to video for the website… stay tuned for links to the published content!



Backpacker Magazine: Week Two

Saturday, June 9, 2012 7:06 pm

I’d like to reassure you that I did indeed do the Wake Forest fight song justice– complete with my finest Rah! Rah! and clapping. After giving the entire staff (including the editor-in-chief!) quite the show, I found out that I was the first intern in Backpacker history to oblige them with a song.

Although I cannot reveal many details about the October issue, there are a few things to get excited about. It is the Survival issue and will be chalk full of epic stories about man going head on into the elements. There will also be a celebrity guest editor. The renown and respected _______ will join us with personal never-before-told stories of his own survival and advice on how to make it when you meet the unexpected in the wild. Did you really think I would tell you who? Pssht.

This week at Backpacker the lovely folks from Pentax came to show off their new camera line. I hadn’t paid too much attention to the company before (other than drooling over their 40mm pancake lens) but was pretty impressed with some of the new technology they’ve come up with. A few of my favorite features include the ring flash on a point and shoot, internal image stabilization, and weather proofing on all D-SLRs. Translation: Ring lighting gives even lighting to macro subjects. If you want to take an up close photo of something but need a little flash, this keeps the flash from being too bright in any one place. Internal image stabilization keeps an image from being blurry due to user error. Most companies use this technology in the lens, cheaper lenses won’t have this feature. If it’s in the camera you’re never left without it. And a D-SLR stands for Digital Single Reflex Lens. Meaning the camera works by light reflecting off a mirror. By the end of the presentation Pentax hadn’t quite sold me on any one camera but they are definitely on the map. I’ll be keeping tabs on them and maybe even shopping around a little more when it comes time to upgrade my camera.

In other news… I worked as an assistant to National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey for the better part of last year. This month his photo-essay on the Outer Banks of North Carolina is printed in National Geographic Magazine. Many hours of work and the fact that I call OBX home make this essay very near and dear to my heart. Next time you find your self near a news stand or a bookstore make sure you grab a copy.

Here are a couple of photos I’ve snapped with my phone. The first is a pic of David’s essay in Nat Geo. I went to visit my parents and picked up a copy in the airport.The second is a waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park where I went backpacking memorial day weekend. Don’t roll your eyes… or do… but I’ve become hooked on Instagram. It’s a fun way to share simple photos with friends and loved ones. Also, its so easy to take discrete photos. No one gets nervous when you whip out a phone. If you pull out your D-SLR (your new vocab word) everyone gets camera shy. Are you on Instagram? Check me out at @Lauren__Martinez (two underscores) I’d love to see what you are shooting!



Backpacker Magazine: Week One

Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:59 am

This marks the end of my first week as the photography intern at BACKPACKER Magazine.

BACKPACKER is located in the outdoor Mecca of Boulder, Colorado, just minutes away from Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, and Eldorado Canyon. Travelers from around the globe come through Boulder to enjoy world class hiking, climbing, and cycling– not to mention skiing in the neighboring towns of Breckenridge and Vail…Location, location, location. Location is key because it attracts the best in any field, but especially in the outdoor world. Boulder is brimming with successful photographers and writers many of whom I’ve already had the opportunity to collaborate with at BACKPACKER.

A few highlights of the internship thus far include sitting in exec meetings to pitch story ideas for upcoming issues (even though I was fully hazed and made to sing the Wake Forest fight song, they invited me to give input and even ran with one of my ideas for the October issue! Another major perk? We got to taste test a chocolate bars one of the conservation groups sent, boom.) On Friday we had an informal lunch with the complete photo department to meet with a couple of freelancers we work with in Alaska. They are frequent contributors to BACKPACKER as well as several other publications. We connected on our love for the Patagonia Mountains, backpacking, and of course photography.

It’s been so valuable already just to be on the inside at BACKPACKER to understand how magazines work with freelance photographers and how artists make their mark on the industry.

In addition to updating this blog, I invite you to follow my adventures at The homepage is a blog updated with my most recent photo projects and musings.

All the best,


P.S. Here’s a little photo collage from my first week on the job

Alexander Adcock (7)
Gracious Addai (3)
Susie Alexander (6)
Assel Aljaied (10)
Megan Archey (7)
Kenneth Bailey (6)
Marco Banfi (3)
Johanna Beach (8)
Jessica Blackburn (8)
Tiffany Blackburn (9)
Meredith Bragg (9)
Quentin Brillantes (8)
Samuel Buchanan (5)
Robbie Bynum (1)
Cailey Forstall (9)
Cameron Steitz (5)
Cecelia Carchedi (2)
Carl Turner (1)
Adelina Cato (5)
Kristi Chan (7)
Brittani Chavious (12)
Avinav Chopra (1)
Hannah Clark (8)
Kathryn Covino (8)
Sarah Crosier (8)
Keshav Daga (8)
Jennifer Daye (7)
Mike Dempsey (8)
Eva Dickinson (2)
Will Dietsche (8)
Catherine Douglas (8)
Zanny Dow (8)
Stephen Eason (8)
Elisa Burton (1)
Epiphany Espinosa (5)
Hannah Shows (8)
Nina Foster (5)
Hannah Gable (8)
Charlie Garner (8)
Kent Garrett (8)
Nicholas Gomez-Garcia (8)
Gracie Wiener (6)
Brooks Hall (7)
Meghan Hall (7)
Tim Han (1)
Adrienne Henderson (1)
Ryon Huddleston (7)
Adeolu Ilesanmi (8)
Nicole Irving (8)
Jessica (8)
Dalton Jones (8)
Kevin Wang (5)
Ty Kraniak (11)
Nick Ladd (15)
Elizabeth Lane (8)
Yuan-Chih Lee (8)
Kenneth Lowery (5)
Duncan MacDougall (6)
Lauren Martinez (7)
John McMurray (8)
Megan Miller (5)
Colt Mienke (1)
Brad Neal (9)
David O'Connor (9)
Olivia Wolff (3)
Kristen Plantz (8)
Lucy Rawson (7)
Cynthia Redwine (6)
Julia Reed (8)
Matt Roemer (8)
Melissa Ryon (3)
Eleanor Saffian (8)
Kayla Santos (8)
Maddie Saveliff (2)
Lisa Shaffer (8)
Ben Smith (10)
Christian Spake (8)
Ollie Spalding (8)
Alan Spencer (8)
Anna Tal (8)
Shelby Taylor (8)
Jake Teitelbaum (5)
Segen Tekle (1)
Katherine Thomas (8)
Tommy Lisiak (8)
Travis McCall (8)
Jawad Wahabzada (5)
Kurt Walker (4)
Kristen Watkins (2)
Jonathan Williams (8)
Sathya Williams (1)
Katie Winokur (8)
Elaheh Ziglari (8)
Jenna Zimmerman (8)
ZSR (1)
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