Eric R. Schickler learned at an early age that the fine art of communication was very important in life.
He talked his way out of more than a few fights on the playground and on the streets of his neighborhood. For those he couldn’t settle with words, he used his short, but very fast legs. He also worked the girls with carefully composed notes that pushed at the limits of literary persuasion.
When it was time to decide on a major for college, he realized that writing, visual arts and interpersonal relationships were his strengths. And if he could stay inside, study hard and focus, he might indeed be something some day.
Alas, he did earn a bachelors degree in Mass Communication from Saint Bonaventure University in Upstate N.Y., and then forged a 25-year career in communications, public relations and marketing. These positions included varied positions at nonprofit health-related organizations, PR agencies and local government entities.
But throughout his communications career, his love of photography and various creative communications interests kept vying for more attention. But what called the loudest was his innate attraction to nature and the great outdoors. It was obvious at a young age, but resurged and intensified later in life—after a few too many years inside office buildings.
To say Eric is the outdoorsy type would be one laughable understatement. His move from hometown Rochester, N.Y., to the mountains of Colorado as a young adult was part of a continuous lifestyle and career progression, one aimed squarely at outdoor life.
The climate differences were stark. His hometown’s weather patterns naturally steered residents into saving lots of “things to do on rainy days,” as there were plenty of them. Like others, Eric had a handful of regular rainy-day activities: music, reading, school, friends, writing, art and illustration.
Well aware of their son’s growing interest in all things visual, Eric’s parents gave him a college graduation gift he’ll always treasure, due to the impact it had on his life — a Canon 35 mm AE-1 SLR camera. This new toy, this valuable tool for recording the things he saw around him, was a train ticket to the outdoors. The weather conditions didn’t matter so much anymore. He had places to go and pictures to take.
After numerous vacations to even more Eastern U.S. destinations, and then five visits to Colorado, all with camera in tow, Eric’s passion for outdoor photography grew and his desire for higher outdoor adventure called for a bold step. So he moved his life to colorful Colorado.
Colorado’s 300 days per year of sunshine, blue skies and low humidity, paired with seemingly endless wilderness areas and adventure, served as a springboard to Eric’s lifestyle shift. Colorado represented a big open door to the outside world and, after walking through it, his focus was on outdoor exploration, adventure and the people immersed in it. And the camera was the vehicle for recording it.
Over three decades, Eric has amassed a large portfolio of outdoor photographic images, and written about his adventures and life experiences. He has traveled to Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico and Africa, to dozens of U.S. destinations and across the diverse landscapes of his home state of Colorado. These explorations have resulted in diverse portraits of people, landscapes, architecture, events, and wildlife, and unusual views and juxtapositions of objects around him. His photos offer unusual perspectives, create abstract imagery, convey stories through creative composition, annd document precious moments. They capture nature’s beauty, freeze action, stir moods and emotions, and often show that unusual human expression or interaction. Most of all, his images take viewers on outdoor adventures.
Eric’s creative vision, composition skills, and never-ending quest for “new-idea” photos have resulted in a unique flair for “artsy” photographs.
He has been retained by corporate, nonprofit and individual clients for some 18 years, delivering customized services, fun shoot experiences and high-impact, visually rewarding products.
Nowadays, nearly all of his professional and personal endeavors are intertwined, overlap or fit into both categories. Work is play, free time is spent working on his passions, clients are often friends, and his varied life interests feed his work. But all of this is connected by one unifying thread — the great outdoors.
A Colorado resident now for 30 years, Eric avoids the indoors as often as possible and, when trapped inside, is caught constantly opening windows. His photo shoots are adventures, physical tests, exercise routines, training, exploration, social interactions and sport.
His favorite professional work besides photography is teaching children and families alpine skiing on the scenic slopes of Vail Mountain Resort. Which means being outdoors all winter long. Which is just fine. It’s all part of the outdoor plan.