Lon Lauber is a full-time freelance outdoor photographer and writer. The Spokane, Washington native studied photojournalism at Syracuse University through a special program as a U.S. Navy photographer. After eight years as a Navy photographer and photojournalist, Lon has spent the last 30 years traveling the world with a camera, bow, shotgun or fly rod in his hands. His passionate participation in these outdoor activities it what makes his imagery unique. Because Lon knows how to hunt and fish, and understands wildlife his photographs are more genuine.
One of Lon's photos is a 6' x 9' enlargement displayed in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. He is the winner of many national and Alaska state photo awards including First Place in the Roger Tory Peterson Institute Nature Photography Contest and several awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He won Grand Prize in the Alaska State Photo Contest three out of five years. Lon is co-photographer of the acclaimed eagle book, "Sovereign Wings." His work has been illustrated in National Geographic, Field and Stream and Sierra Club books; Audubon, Impact, Kodak, Tide-Mark and Willow Creek Press calendars, many advertisements and countless magazines including: Alaska, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, Bowhunter, Ducks Unlimited, Field and Stream, National Geographic, Outdoor Life, Pheasant Forever, Ranger Rick and Sports Afield.
Along with his photography, Lon writes for many outdoor magazines. In addition to free-lancing, Lon taught photography for the Adak rural extension of the University of Alaska for six years. After living on Adak for seven years and in Wasilla for 10 years, Lon now resides in his hometown Spokane, Washington.
Lon says he's at his best in nature. "It's almost like a light switch, when I slip on my outdoor gear and head into the wilderness, I quickly become a different being. I sort of melt into nature, physically and emotionally.
"I've enjoyed the outdoors as long as I can remember. I guess that's why I ended up in Alaska for seventeen years. The inclement weather makes my work difficult at times, especially the lighting. But, on those days when it is nice, I really kick into a photographic high. And, that's when I make my strongest images.”
"My goal is to communicate with every photo I make. Whether it's conveying closeness with a sea otter and pup, the majesty of an eagle, or people enjoying the outdoors, I hope to evoke emotion or inform. If you smile or gain insight into the wonders of nature from my images, then I have succeeded."
Influenced by his father and older brother, Lon E. Lauber became interested in archery at the age of six. While growing up in Spokane, WA, Lon used a fiberglass recurve bow and wooden arrows for target practice and to hunt scrap fish.
"As long as I can remember, there was a hay-bale target butt in our family's garage," he said. "As a child, I used to practice until my fingers were blistered. When the blisters turned to calluses, I taped my bow onto the handle bar of my bike and rode 12 miles round trip to hunt suckers and carp.
"Archery, hunting, fishing and photography are the only childhood activities I'm still interested in," he said.
After a ten-year stint as a rifle hunter, Lon bought his first compound bow in 1981. That fall, while attending Syracuse University, he killed his first deer with a bow.
"My tree stand was only twenty minutes from my apartment so after school and on my days off I went hunting," he said. "Shooting that big whitetail doe at 18 yards with archery tackle was more thrilling than any hunting experience to date."
Lon has been strictly bowhunting big game for 35 years now. Over the years he has killed whitetail, mule, Columbian and Sitka black-tailed deer, black bear, brown bear, Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt elk, Central barren-ground and barren-ground caribou, Dall sheep, mountain goat, musk-ox, javelina, coyote, fox, Moreno sheep, feral hog, pronghorn antelope, moose, European wild boar and fallow deer as well as numerous game birds and small game.
Of the hundreds of animals Lon has bagged with a bow, 52 are Pope and Young-class trophies. Surprisingly, one of his fondest trophies is a cow elk he shot more than three decades ago.
"I've been fortunate while bowhunting and bagged quite a few trophy-class animals," he said. "However, a cow elk I shot in Washington state ranks right near the top of my bowhunting accomplishments. Just before dark on the 13th day of hunting below-freezing weather and bucking thigh-deep snow, I managed to put it all together. I made a humane, 27-yard shot. To me, the circumstances of the hunt make the trophy more than the animal's headgear."
Lon is a nine-time Alaska State archery champion, winning titles in 3-D, 3-D, broadhead, field and indoor archery disciplines. Also, Lon has been a media Pro Staff member of Browning and or Mathews Archery for the last 30 years.
His writing and photography assignments are published in most all of the major outdoor publications on a regular basis. In 2005, Lon published his first book, “The Bowhunter’s Guide to Accurate Shooting”. This 127-page book is lavishly illustrated with more than 150 color photos, charts and graphics. It is based on Lon’s decades of bowhunting experience.
Following family tradition, Lon's sons are active archers too. "Tyler is 28 but he's been shooting a bow since he was two years old." Lon said. "I started my youngest son, Trevor, now 24, when he was eighteen months old.
Aldo Leopold said, 'if you don't want to go hunting for your son, take your son hunting,' so I continually involve my boys in outdoor activities."
Bird Hunting Biography
Lon started hunting upland birds when he was 11 years old. "I remember using my dad's 16 gauge single shot Stevens shotgun on my first ever ruffed grouse hunt. I managed to get a young-of-year bird that day. I was so proud to become a 'real' hunter," he said. Even today, some 45 years later, the smell of shotshell gunpowder brings him back to those formative days!
Over the years, Lon has hunted upland birds and waterfowl from Washington to New York, Alabama to Alaska and even pheasant and duck hunting in Korea.
Nowadays, you can find Lon and his two pointing labs, Kacee and Tori walking the upland fields and hiding in marshes in the northwest to the Dakotas pursing all species of birds. Lon spends more than a month each year in pursuit of bird hunting images and hunting upland birds and waterfowl himself.
Fly Fishing Biography
Lon started fishing with his dad before kindergarten. "I have fond memories of my dad carrying me piggy-back style over a stream and then him laughing at himself for catching a minnow-sized rainbow trout," he said. "Dad laughed so hard he started crying. Then, he let the little trout go, only to instantly catch another pint-sized trout. And the laughing continued!"
Although Lon has fly fished since his high-school days, in the last 14 years, he has had the good fortune to fly fish extensively with his good friend, Steve Boharski, who is a world-class fly fisherman. Under Steve's tutelage, Lon has become a proficient fly fisherman himself. For example, in 2015 Lon spent 45 days fly fishing. He caught more than 1,100 fish on a fly rod that year and shot more than 20,000 images along the way!
He has caught: rainbow, cutthroat, brown, bull and brook trout, and steelhead along with all five salmon species and most of the fishes in the spiny ray family too.
Throughout his life, Lon has traveled the countryside with a fly rod in one hand and probably a camera in the other hand. He usually spends 30-50 days per year photographing fly fishing and fly fishing himself for various trout and spiny ray species. Lon's fly fishing photos have graced the cover and inside pages of Trout Magazine, Outdoor LIfe and fly fishing calendars.