Matt Payne Photography Blog: The Passion Of Colorado Through Landscape Photography - A Conversation With Todd Caudle

July 1, 2020

Welcome to episode 167 of the F-Stop Collaborate and Listen podcast.

This week's episode features a photographer I have been following for many, many years and have had many interactions with on social media over the years. Todd Caudle is perhaps one of the most well-known landscape photographers in Colorado and is the owner of his own publishing company, Skyline Press, a vehicle that Todd uses to publish photography calendars, books, and note cards (and I'm confident if you were looking for someone to help you do the same that Todd would help you out).

Todd is an award-winning photographer who has explored countless miles of trails and backroads, primarily in our beloved home state of Colorado, seeking landscapes as they are experiencing their most fleeting moments. Rarely content to photograph a static landscape, he is always in pursuit of those dynamic events as weather ebbs and flows, as nighttime turns to day and back again, and as seasons change. His propensity for capturing dramatic climatic events led one close friend and fellow photographer to dub him Cloudman, and the nickname stuck. Todd began his photo career in a very different venue. From 1979 to 1994 he chased the Colorado concert scene, first by camping out at ticket outlets to secure the best seats and then sneaking his camera and lens into the arena, and later photographing freelance for a wide variety of local, national and international publications. In the process, he amassed a one-of-a-kind collection of images — most of which have never been seen — a virtual who’s who of big-name entertainers, from Michael Jackson to Metallica, and every genre in-between.

He photographed local assignments for Rolling Stone magazine, spent two years as the house photographer for Denver’s historic Paramount Theater, and supplied all the photographs for the Moody Blues’ legendary A Night at Red Rocks CD and video release.It was when Todd noticed he was spending more time ogling the sunsets over Red Rocks than the stars on stage that he decided to change directions and pursue his love of Colorado’s natural beauty with his camera full-time. From rock stars to rocks, if you will. In 1994 he left the barricades and the bouncers and the rude road managers behind to chase the light — and the clouds! — across the landscapes he loves so much. In 1992 he started Skyline Press and began publishing calendars, books and note cards featuring the beauty of Colorado. His 2005 book, 14,000 Feet – A Celebration of Colorado’s Highest Mountains, won the Colorado Book Award for Best Pictorial Book. He has since begun publishing a Utah scenic calendar to augment his popular Colorado titles.

Todd and I discuss some interesting topics, including:

  • How Todd got his start as a photographer.
  • What it was like to photograph super-star musicians.
  • How he transitioned into landscape photography.
  • How he got into the publishing business.
  • What encourages and discourages him about the current state of photography.
  • Mountain stretching in post-processing.
  • Lessons learned from Todd's critique of my work back in 2012.
  • ... and more!

I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Here are the people that Todd recommended for the podcast:

1. Dave Showalter.

2. Mike Pach.

3. Darren White.

Other items mentioned on the show:

1. 60-day Trial to Nature Photographer's Network.

I love hearing from the podcast listeners! Reach out to me via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter if you'd like to be on the podcast or if you have an idea of a topic we can talk about. Join the discussion over on Nature Photographer's Network! We have weekly discussions about each episode of the podcast. It's also free! We also have an Instagram page and a Facebook page for updates.

Thanks for stopping in, collaborating with us, and listening. See you next week.

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Please find a transcript of today's episode below:

1988, black & white, McNichols Arena, Michael Jackson, vertical