Jon Sheppard has adventures to spare<and share
Go out, have some adventures, take a few photos, listen to some stories, compile it all in a book. That1s life according to Jon Sheppard, one of Vail1s resident travelers.Key for Sheppard is sharing his adventures with people, and he will be doing just that as the grand finale act for the Vail Library1s Adventure Series tonight. His presentation will include a slide show and running commentary, designed to be more entertaining than anything else.3People will probably laugh a lot, he said. 3They won1t be crying, unless they got dragged there by a spouse or parent.He comes from a family that encourages traveling.3My parents moved a lot, but I always found them, he quipped.Sheppard has published three books, all with copious amounts of color photography and smaller pieces of text. All content is entirely his own.3Someday in a Place Out West, 3Always Colorado and 3Cowboys, Cowgirls & Wide Open Spaces all detail Sheppard1s love affair with the west, be it high mountain passes, uninhabited plains or ranches at round-up.He doesn1t have a favorite among his books, but 3Cowboys is the most recent, and therefore more present in his thoughts. Cowboys have been romantic figures throughout history, be it in novels, movies or poems. He deals with that. They are also hard-working people who live difficult lives. He deals with that, also. The book covers cowboys, both real and cinematic, from Montana to Central Texas.3Cowboys are a romantic legend of the West. They started in America, they didn1t come from someplace else, he said.Even today, both cowboys and cowgirls inspire daydreams. Why is America still fascinated with them?3The wide open spaces, the freedom, said Sheppard. 3Basically, most cowboys are working on their own<they1re free spirits<and riding a horse is something to be treasured. Same thing for the cowgirls. They love the wide open spaces. They1re certainly not doing it for the money, it1s almost an indescribable feeling…He was able to get into the real nitty gritty at the ranches by assimilating himself into their schedules and lives. One terrifically windy day, during branding time, he was able to shoot photos. The key to a successful shoot?3Horses have the right of way.Nobody tried to keep him out of the action, and he was able to be in the thick of it. He simply had to remember to watch his toes, and keep an eye out for anything coming from behind.Though special to him, cowboys are just one of his interests.3I1m traveling the highways, byways, back roads… I1ve jumped out of airplanes, climbed fourteeners. Life is an adventure if you make it that way, he said.His intent is to communicate these adventures to people who might not have them for themselves. A lone traveler, he rarely opts for company on his journeys. But he does speak with almost everyone he meets, and enjoys sharing his stories as much as listening to others1 tales. Describing himself as a born entertainer, he doesn1t plan on going into the technicalities of his photography during the presentation. He does intend to regale his audience with interesting details.3There are interesting stories to go with some of the images, he said. 3Others, we1ll breeze on through. I don1t want to give a lot of details that aren1t pertinent to people, though I will answer questions afterwards. I1ll also sign books, too. I learned how to write my name when I was little.Sheppard is currently finishing a book on New Zealand, which will probably come out next year. He has visited that country twice on a quest for images, and plans on returning yet again. In between his journeys, he is content to make his home in Colorado.3We have such a wide, diverse variety of land here, he said. 3Deserts, mountains, the great eastern plains are beautiful for what they offer.Sheppard speaks at the Vail Public Library1s Community Roomat 7 p.m. today. The presentation is free of charge.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.