At this very moment Hank Blum is most likely scouting a remote area of Southwestern Colorado in search of inspiration. A Durango-based hiker and self taught photographer, he finds joy and deep satisfaction from being immersed in nature and seeking off-trail photo opportunities that take an effort to reach. He’s also a Star Wars fan and can be seen walking the streets of downtown on certain occasions and events wearing his authentic stormtrooper suit … with about fifty people following and videoing him. Hank’s expertly composed images are set apart from the expected landscapes with his fine art stormtrooper in nature series.
Lugging the suit in a backpack into the mountains is no small feat, and with the help of his wife to tow the camera equipment, hit the shutter, and occasionally keep the 911 rescue number handy on her phone, Hank has captured some fabulous moments, like: the stormtrooper painting Red Mountain, paddle boarding a mountain lake, standing watch over Durango, or gazing out onto desert landscapes. (Can you imagine the looks on hiker’s faces who happen upon his shoots out in the middle of nowhere?)
His portfolio also displays absolutely stunning images of turquoise lakes, glowing gold aspens, Southwestern landmarks, brewing storms against scenic backdrops, and his video of driving through Red Mountain Pass, one of the most dangerous roads in the world that he considers to be one of the most beautiful, has 1.6 million views on his Facebook page, and counting.
There is an obvious whimsical sensibility to his work, along with a sincere love of life and appreciation to make each day meaningful. Thankfully, he prefers to share this with us all. We are pleased to introduce this inventive, untiring artist and one of the nicest people you could meet, Hank Blum …
SWD GUEST Q&A:
SWD: Are you originally from the Southwest? If not, what brought you to the area?
Hank: I am from Dallas, TX. I moved here because I needed a change in my life and my father conveniently lived here in Durango. He’d wanted to live here since he was 19 years old.
SWD: Soft Tacos or Crunchy?
Hank: Soft Tacos
SWD: What is your favorite adventure or getaway in the Southwest?
Hank: Santa Fe
SWD: What is your favorite Southwestern National Park?
Hank: Grand Canyon
SWD: Red or Green (or Christmas)?
Hank: Christmas if available, otherwise I would choose green if I could only choose one.
SWD: What is the most satisfying aspect of what you do?
Hank: Landscape photography gives me an appreciation for the world that we live in. I love being outside and enjoy hiking to hard to reach places for an opportunity to see and experience things we sometimes take for granted. It provides me with some wonderful memories and photographs that I can share with others.
SWD: What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Hank: The challenging aspect about shooting landscape photography, for me at least, is that even if you come close to capturing the beauty of what you’re seeing with your own eyes, the viewer doesn’t feel the sun on their face, or smell the explosion of wildflowers beneath me.
SWD: Corn or flour tortillas?
Hank: Corn tortillas unless I am eating fajitas.
SWD: Do you cook? What do you love to make?
Hank: I love to cook and I make the best BBQ chicken you will ever taste. I have been barbecuing chicken since I was 7. I dare somebody to challenge me. 😉
SWD: What do you absolutely refuse to eat?
Hank: I have a very simple palate, so only dislike a few things and pickled beets is at the top.
SWD: This may have just been answered, but … What are your thoughts on menudo (and no, we don’t mean the boy band)?
Hank: I have eaten it without knowing what it was and it was delicious.
SWD: If you hypothetically moved away from the Southwest, what would you ask people to send to you in a care package? What would you miss the most about the Southwest?
Hank: I would want some Hatch green chile in a care package. I would miss the vast terrain and landscapes. It is very special to be in the desert one minute and in the mountains the next.
SWD: Is there a Southwest destination you’ve been wanting to visit?
Hank: Sedona. My mother loves Sedona.
SWD: Do you have a mantra?
Hank: You only get one at bat in life. Why would you not do what you love and enjoy life?