We had the good fortune of connecting with David Swindler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up in the rolling landscape of Iowa and from a young age I loved exploring and playing in the woods near my home. The more time I spent outdoors, the more it ignited a passion for experiencing nature and the great outdoors. I was the oldest of five kids so I was a bit of a ring-leader. We were always up to something. From crafting an improvised raft to sail down a local river to biking the vast countryside, I realized that I was happiest when surrounded by nature. At age ten, I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. We were camping out on the North Rim and I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. When I stepped out of the tent, I was blown away by all the stars I could see and how vivid the Milky Way was. I think all I managed to say for the next 30 minutes was WOAH…while my jaw was hanging open. Any words felt like an understatement. Years later, while feeling restless as a chemical engineer, the memories of that starry night inspired me to start Action Photo Tours, a boutique photo-workshop operation. Trained as a classical pianist, I’ve always been artistic. But my engineering background in optics and photolithography give me an edge in understanding the technical aspects of photography. During our photo tours, you can expect in-depth discussions on composition, photographic techniques, and post-processing tricks. And I’ve certainly never lost my unquenchable thirst for exploring the great outdoors!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At Action Photo Tours, we cater directly to the needs of photographers. We get people to the right places at the right times, even if it means starting a hike at 3AM or staying up into the wee hours to photograph the Milky Way. We know how to chase the light and can provide technical photography instruction on all our tours. Finally, we realize that taking the photos is only half the battle. Learning how to become better at post-processing is a critical skill and something we try to teach either during one of our workshops or after a tour is over. These distinctions make us clearly stand out from our local competition. It was definitely not easy getting to where we are today. When I started Action Photo Tours, I started from the ground up with no name recognition nor notoriety. It took an incredible amount of effort to get the ball rolling. But with more and more reviews and word of mouth recommendations from delighted clients, my business began to grow quickly in organic fashion. With many photographers, their business is all about them and their own name. But I wanted to create something larger than that – I wanted to create a brand that would elicit the excitement I feel every time I photograph the great outdoors. Action Photo Tours describes us perfectly as we try to meld the perfect amount of adventure and action into our photography pursuits. Consistency is such an important thing. We strive to put out quality images, tutorials, and interesting commentary to keep our audience engaged and coming back again and again. Finding diverse and top-notch people that share our values has been hugely important. I can certainly attribute a lot of our success to the people that work with me and support me. You can only go so far as one individual. Leveraging the strengths and intelligence of a team is crucial.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m lucky to live in the heart of the Southwest in Kanab, UT. We are literally surrounded by some of the most beautiful places in the world with Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and the Grand Staircase Escalante all within easy reach. Depending on the level of adventure you want, we may do a rough 4×4 drive to a remove viewpoint of the Grand Canyon or go full throttle on a wet canyoneering adventure through a narrow slot canyon! There is so much to do around here in all seasons of the year.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was young, I really looked up to one of my Boy Scout leaders John Winter. Some of the backpack trips we did with him were pivitol in igniting my passion for the outdoors. I definitely owe him a debt of gratitude!