• January 2013

Allen Birnbach Takes Us Rocky Mountain High

Colorado photographer Allen Birnbach’s career has spanned the worlds of advertising and fine art photography for more than three decades in 20+ countries.

Driven by an enthusiasm for finding solutions to complex lighting scenarios, Birnbach also has the ability to capture the essence of a situation—whether it be working with models on a shoot for Parents magazine, or covering a cattle drive in Colorado.

“My work is extremely rewarding and gives me great energy,” says Birnbach, who is also the husband of our Presentations columnist, artist and illustrator Alece Birnbach.

A fine art photographer at heart, Birnbach says his personal work is fueled by a love of the human spirit and the power and majesty of the planet we share.

Allen’s images have been exhibited in galleries around the world and are represented in numerous private and corporate collections. His work has been celebrated by Communication Arts, Photo District News, Photo Design, DoubleTake, and the Black and White Spider Awards, and it has appeared in numerous books and calendars, including “The World’s Greatest Black and White Photography, No.1.”

Currently, he is working on a project about the future of ranching in the West called, A Handful of Dust. Click here to learn more about the project.

Allen also teaches photography at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles, The Santa Fe Workshops, The Anderson Ranch, Focus on Nature (Iceland), as well as private workshops.

Scroll down for a glimpse of some of his favorite photos. And be sure to check out his website, and his blog for tips on taking great photos: ABetterPhotograph.com.


High Energy. This image was shot on assignment for DTS, the motion-picture sound company. It was an incredible day of shooting five dancers for the concept of “High Energy.” We worked on a cyclorama on a rooftop in Los Angeles so we could change the relationship of the light to the dancer as the day went on, and shot more than 3,300 frames that were then used for motion graphics presentation.Allen Birnbach


Playhouses. This image is from an editorial assignment for Parents magazine about the people who build amazing playhouses, then auction them off for after-school services for children throughout the city.Allen Birnbach


Fall Cattle Drive. Ranches throughout the West are under increasing pressure as they try to survive into the next generation. This photograph was made during a fall cattle drive where animals are moved from the high country down to lower elevation for the winter.Allen Birnbach


Spring Cattle Drive. Though romantic to outsiders, cattle drives can be challenging as ranchers increasingly have to deal with crossing public land and roads, and often work in rugged terrain where calves can get lost.Allen Birnbach


Baling Hay. Haying is important not only because it provides food for cattle during the winter, but because it can also be a source of income. Having enough water is increasingly an issue as cities in the West buy more water rights from individual ranches and create problems for their neighbors.Allen Birnbach


Ski! This is from a wonderful advertising campaign for Copper Mountain Resort. Because of my extensive background in fine art black and white photography, I was hired to shoot the whole campaign in film. And since my early years in business were spent shooting for ski magazines and manufacturers, it was a perfect assignment for me.Allen Birnbach


Be Wild. This is a photograph taken in the San Juan Mountains for a book on Colorado. There was a powerful summer storm the night before, and with all the lightning in the area, I had to sleep in my truck. But when dawn came, the clouds parted and the light through the moisture-laden air was magical.Allen Birnbach


True Love. On this assignment, I allowed the talent to create their own relationship, then guided the process to capture a real connection between them. Who would guess that these two are not grandmother and granddaughter?Allen Birnbach

Conflict Resolution

Got the New Year's Blues?

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