Today's guest is Emmy Winning Television Producer and Host Lisa Ballard. She is an award-winning Outdoor writer, photographer, and champion skier… She also paddles, casts a fly rod and shoots straight. We talk about her career, how she became a writer and she has great advice for anyone looking to begin a career writing and photographing in the Outdoor space.
Introduction to the Outdoors
I was born into it I think. I grew up in Lake Placid, New York, and the Adirondacks Saranac Lake. My dad was really into doing stuff outdoors, like skiing in particular, but you know, we hiked and we went fishing now and again, and we were just doing what all other families are doing? We'd go out on the lakes paddling or we'd water ski. I went to summer camp and, it was just our lifestyle and it's a lifestyle I've embraced my whole life.
Things we talked about
Dartmouth College Outings Club
The Travel Channel
Ski New England
Wildlife Journal -PBS
Outdoor Writers Association of America
OWAA Scholarships & Fellowships
New Hampshire Wildlife Journal
Trade Show Banner
Advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor biz or into, or photography
So a lot of people do it through a university degree, which is fine. If you had that opportunity, great, I did not. I got into it by being there, by being outdoors. But the key is no matter how you do it, and especially if you do it by the route that I took, which was literally on the job training. You really have to pick your mentors and really learn what you want to do. You might like to take pictures, let's take photography. You might like to take photos, get some good gear, take some training from somebody that you really like, what they do photographically Same with writing. You might think you write well, but read a lot of other people's writing and really try to get your work critiqued. There's nothing better than a writing critique or a photo critique in a workshop because you learn so much and you can't do it in isolation. I work as a freelancer and I spent many hours in the outdoors and also in my office by myself, but that time with colleagues and other people, whether it's in a workshop that I'm leading or a workshop I'm giving or at an OWAA conference or another conference. That's really, really valuable time because you can't do it in a vacuum, even though a lot of times you are by yourself. So that's my biggest piece of advice is really look at what other people are doing. And, and especially those people that are successful and that are similar. As a writer or as a photographer, you still have to learn the basics. You still have to know how to write with good grammar, and then you can take your poetic license.
It's unlikely that you're going to get published in national geographic your first time out, or outdoor life or whatever. You want to try to get stuff locally or regionally. They're not going to pay as well, so don't give up your day job yet. But as it grows, you'll find your path. It's just like anything, you have to build your portfolio. I think I've learned the most by really trying to understand what successful people are doing and, and understanding the craft, from that basic level.
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The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J R Tolkien
Books as Gifts
Hiking the White Mountains by Lisa Densmore
Gasparilla by Lisa Ballard, an early chapter book for kids
Favorite piece of Outdoor Gear under $100
Connect with Lisa