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Members in the News: Katie Dolan

Meet Your Artist: Katie Dolan

Get to know your Vail Valley artists


Photographer Katie Dolan says she always takes her camera with her to capture the unexpected.



Katie Dolan/Courtesy photo


Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?

A: My husband and I moved to the valley 15 years ago to be close to the ski slopes and close to my sister in Denver. It turned out to be even better than we expected, as we discovered new hiking trails, the Back Bowls, sharing the beauty of the valley with grown kids and grandchildren, and the joy of being in the woods with our two Newfoundland dogs.


Q: Where did your passion for art and photography come from?

A: My father was a great amateur photographer who spent hours (and many dollars) buying bulky underwater photography equipment. After he ran out of film or his lights needed recharging, he would ignore the beauty of the coral reefs and immediately head for the surface. I share his desire to try to capture on film what I see and, as a result, have way too many shots of the sunrise over the Gore Range. But it sure is breathtaking! 

Stop in and see Katie Dolan’s photography on display at the Vail Public Library during the month of April.

Katie Dolan/Courtesy photo


Q: Describe your style of art.

A: I particularly enjoy close shots of animals, clearly seeing the eyes creates a special intimacy and beauty. I use a long lens, so I can get images of wild creatures without getting too close. I also love the serendipity of wildlife photography and bring my camera wherever I go. As a fellow photographer has said, “My camera is like a third arm.”

Katie Dolan hopes that her photography helps people appreciate the wonder of Colorado’s wild places and animals.

Katie Dolan/Courtesy photo


Q: Who are your favorite artists?

A: Among photographers, I admire Rick Spitzer’s ability to find the rare and wonderful wild animal shot. Sabra Field, who is a fellow Middlebury College graduate, creates stunning and colorful block prints of natural scenes, mostly in Vermont. I love the vibrancy of her work. In addition, I recently had two of my photos in the Side-by-Side exhibit and loved working with the talented Hazel Murray and Laurie Bower.


Q: Tell us about one of your favorite pieces that you’ve worked on.

A: One very cold January evening, a fellow photographer and I lugged our tripods and cameras out to capture the rising Wolf Moon over the Gore Range. The resulting photograph is one of my favorites. I like the way the moon is cradled by the dip in the range and love the memories of that very frigid but fun adventure.

Katie Dolan photographed the Wolf Moon rising over the Gore Range east of Vail on a cold January night.

Katie Dolan/Courtesy photo


Q: Who has helped you along the way? Who/what inspires you?

A: The local photography group has been a wonderful way to learn new skills and find new places to photograph. The group meets monthly and sets up trips to special places around Colorado. I’ve photographed bison at the National Armory, Denver’s holiday lights, and Monte Vista’s sandhill cranes with fellow members of the group. I especially like wildlife photography and have been grateful to Rick Spitzer and Melissa Lipton for sharing their ideas and help.

I teach a Conservation Storytelling course to veterinary medicine and conservation biology master’s students, and we study the impact of photographs in shaping opinions. Research shows that good pictures of wild animals, especially youngsters, encourage conservation values and behavior. That belief led me to write several illustrated children’s books about wildlife issues, using photographs of local landscapes and animals.

Dolan dedicates time to conservation organizations and uses her talents to help spread the word about conservation issues.

Katie Dolan/Courtesy photo


Q: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

A: When not photographing, I volunteer for several conservation causes, teach and write about conservation issues, Newfoundland dogs and climate change. Fortunately, living in the Vail Valley lets me pursue these varied interests at the same time. However, my dogs do get a little tired of all my stops to take photographs each morning on our hike.


Q: What do you hope people take away from your work?

A: I hope my photographs help people appreciate the wonder of Colorado’s wild places and animals — cougars, moose, big horn sheep, elk, mule deer, ptarmigan, pikas and wolves. As the world and the Vail Valley get more crowded, we need to work harder to co-exist with wild creatures and find better ways to sustain healthy populations. I will be donating all profits from sales during the exhibit at the Vail Public Library to local wildlife conservation efforts.


Q: Where is your work shown (a local gallery) or how/where can people view it?

A: An exhibit of my photography is currently at the Vail Public Library during the month of April. People can also go to my website katielangedolan.com to see my work.


Reposted with permission from the Vail Daily

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