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Image Quest Kicks Off In Valle Nevado

South American camp gives invaluable experience to aspiring ski photographers.

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With the austral winter in full swing, Valle Nevado, Chile is poised to host the second annual Image Quest photo camp. Founded by Tom Winter and Grant Gunderson, the camp is a must-attend for anyone interested in photography—particularly ski photography.

“We started this camp as the ultimate ‘bootstrapping’ experience,” Winter says. “Both Grant and I had to learn everything ourselves, on our own. We thought, ‘What if we developed a camp that taught all the tricks of the trade in a week?’”

The premise behind Image Quest: Spend a week in the Andes with some of skiing’s most published photographers and journalists. Learn how to use your camera in ways you never thought possible, learn how to market yourself, get insider strategies for working with photo editors, take a ton of photos, and get the ultimate jumpstart on how to turn your photographic passion into dollars in your wallet.

“The goal is to set up the participants to actually start getting paid for their images,” Winter says. “Photography is highly competitive, and with the digital revolution it’s becoming more so. But there will always be a need for good visual storytelling, and there will always be a market for great photos. This camp sets up participants to get their work published and to start a career in photography, even if they’re only planning on shooting part-time as a freelancer.”

This year the camp returns to Valle Nevado, Chile, which is an ideal venue for mountain photography. Perched on a high ridge with 360-degree views, the setting is breathtaking. With a choice of three hotels along with private condominiums, six restaurants and one of skiing’s most scenic outdoor pools, the resort has something for everyone.

“Valle Nevado is quite literally the front door to the Andes,” Winter says. “The resort has great terrain, and the surrounding mountains are beautiful and untouched. They provide an amazing backdrop for photography. Then there’s the light. I don’t know if you can find better sunsets in the world. The light lasts and lasts, it’s nearly impossible to take a bad photo under those conditions.”

Click here for a full gallery of past Image Quest photos.

For its second installment the camp will be headlined by Tom Winter. Winter, the current vice president of marketing for Liberty Skis and a member of Eider’s international freeride team, has more than two decades of experience in ski journalism, having held a variety of senior positions with magazines like Freeskier and Powder as well as having extensive freelance experience as a contributor to SKI Magazine, Skiing Magazine, The Ski Journal, The Los Angeles Times and other titles. He’s also a three-time winner of the National Association of Snowsports Journalists Association’s prestigious Hirsch Award for snowsports photography.

Gunderson is taking a hiatus for 2013 because he’s getting married, but Keri Bascetta, a ski industry veteran with an impressive background is replacing him.

Bascetta was SKI and Skiing magazines’ photography director as well as a photo editor for Warren Miller Entertainment. During her tenure at SKI, Bascetta’s photo direction and editing earned recognition from American Photography and SPD. She’s been a judge for the Arc’teryx Deep Winter photo competition in Whistler as well as a judge for PDN’s Great Outdoors Photo Contest—both positions that give her invaluable experience when it comes to working with Image Quest students.

The final member of the Image Quest team is Nils Schlebusch, a New York-based lifestyle and fashion photographer who has captured exotic locations around the globe. Schlebusch has an eye for detail and lighting, and has done everything from shooting high fashion in New York City, the beaches of Spain to rural Cuba. His portfolio includes blue chip clients such as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, American Express Custom Publishing, FHM Magazine and the Ritz Carlton.

The camp kicks off Aug. 9, and runs through Aug. 16. Skiing Magazine will provide regular camp updates along with photo galleries and other behind-the-scenes action—including insider photo tips.