Steamboat's Sleeping Giant Gallery to close at end of November

Photographer Don Tudor pulls an image of fall aspen trees from the printer Tuesday morning in the back room at the Sleeping Giant Gallery. The gallery at 601 Lincoln Ave. is closing at the end of November after nine years in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— Steamboat Springs photographer Don Tudor, known mostly for his images of the outdoors, is closing the Sleeping Giant Gallery in the Alpen Glow building at 601 Lincoln Ave. after nine years in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Tudor said his goal is to spend less time in a gallery and much more time in the field with his camera and tripod.

“It’s a bittersweet deal,” Tudor said Tuesday. "I’ve really enjoyed all of the people I’ve met coming in through that door and the stories they’ve told me of their own wildlife encounters. But I really spend too much of my life in here.”

Tudor said he is the last of the original business owners/tenants in Alpen Glow. He prints his own photographs up to 102 inches in length on a commercial-grade Epson inkjet printer and has a customer base of second-home owners, he said. They seek him out for his photographs of local landscapes, horse drives and wildlife. Ironically, he said, images of bison sell better than images captured locally of bull elk in the fall rut.

“I’ve sold a lot of photographs, but not consistently enough,” Tudor said. “I do well in the winter and summer, but I have 12 months of overhead and six months of business. I used to do well with the locals in the spring and fall framing things for them. But the working people in the valley aren’t spending money as much on things like framing.”

Tudor said there is nothing he enjoys more than being in the field with his cameras at dawn before anyone else is around to watch the light change on the landscape.

When people praise his photographs, he tells them he’s had some luck along the way.

The truth is, he has a strong eye for composition and remarkable persistence.

One of his iconic images of a field of golden mule's ears blossoms with Sleeping Giant in the background and the sky filled with mottled clouds glowing in the sunlight is a prime example.

“I needed a two-second exposure, and I had to go out there on a friend’s property every morning for three weeks in June before I got a calm morning” with the right combination of early light and cloud, Tudor recalled.

Sleeping Giant Gallery closes at the end of November, but Tudor still will offer prints of his photographs through his website at www.dontudorphotography.com. In the future, when he isn’t working on a commercial assignment, Tudor will be out in the mountain meadows to capture first light.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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