Photographer Cody Downard embodies the axiom that there's no time like the present to make a dream come true.
"My dream was to have a photo studio some day and then I decided that some day needed to be now," he said.
This week his dream became reality with Cody Downard Photography Gallery opening in downtown Eagle. The cozy studio is tucked in between Red Canyon Cafe and Mountain Pedaler at 132 Broadway.
The gallery showcases Downard's work, which he describes as "Rocky Mountain Fine Art." For people familiar with Downard's photography for Beaver Creek and Vail, as well as several ski and outdoor magazines, the gallery images may provide a surprise. They include Western landscapes, wildlife, horses, barns and people.
"I really love to shoot beautiful nature scenes and capturing that one special moment to share with others," Downard said.
He pointed to a striking photograph of a horse in a pasture as an example, saying he loved capturing that second when the horse looked directly at him and his shutter clicked - seizing an image of the wind and the light and the animal all in harmony.
A native of Eureka, Kan., Downard began his shooting career when he was just a kid. His dad was a runner, and he handed over the family camera and asked his son to shoot at races.
Downard graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in park and natural resource management in 1996. His degree interest took him to Yellowstone where he worked as a park ranger for a number of years. The sheer beauty of his surroundings rekindled his interest in photography.
Eventually Downard found his way to Colorado, where he worked at Keystone and then for Vail Resorts.
"I started taking more photography and worked with Jack Affleck," he said.
In the spring of 2002, Downard opened his own photography business.
Like any commercial photographer, Downard shoots weddings and portraits. He also books corporate events. The bread and butter aspect of his business has been ski and outdoor photography, which he notes can be a stressful undertaking. When the money shot is getting a great photo of Lindsay Vonn at a race gate, Downard said there is no margin for error.
"When she is hitting gate at 60 to 70 miles per hour, you have to be ready," he said.
While that part of his business is exhilarating, Downard said he relishes the opportunity the new gallery affords him to share his more contemplative work.
"People don't know about the western fine art part of what I do," he said. "I hope to pleasantly surprise the people who come visit."
Initial business hours for Cody Downard Photography Studio will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Otherwise the gallery will be open by appointment. "I am a working photographer, so I am often out on assignment. I don't want to disappoint people who want to come to the gallery, so I ask that they call me and set up a time to visit," Downard said.