I sat down today to write a “things I’m thankful for post,” and it kind of spiraled. It’s been a hell of a year, and I’m not really sure where to start.
A year ago I was celebrating on a snowy day in Vermont, ensconced in the Orvis world and growing my freelance work. Today, I’m back in home country, living in Bozeman and neck-deep in the industry. In the past twelve months I’ve been able to travel to Belize, French Polynesia, Alaska, South Carolina, and throughout New England and the West for freelance shoots. Along the way I’ve met some of the coolest people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and had some truly incredible clients.
I’ve learned to throw spears with villagers in the South Pacific, swung mice for Dolly Varden in Alaska, and swum with migrating sockeye. Somewhere along the way I moved cross-country and have taken up roles with Yellow Dog Flyfishing and the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. This week alone I’ve picked up two significant new clients and learned I’ve landed my first Australian magazine cover.
Sometimes you pause in a moment and realize you’re experiencing something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have several of those this year.
So much to be thankful for, and it wouldn’t be possible without all of you. Thanks to the clients, the editors, and the anglers I’ve photographed along the way. Thanks to all the guides who have been happy to hold fish as I maneuver in for the shot, and to the bush pilots and boat captains who put up with my Pelican cases. And thanks to all of you who have followed along the way, who read this blog and who interact on social media. It would be a hella boring career without all of the awesome people I’ve met along the way.
Flipped to Costa’s home page and found another image from our Anaa shoot this past summer. This shot and creative also went out last week in an email.
This was the first fishing day of the shoot — first look at new water, first time getting lines wet and wading seemingly endless flats.
In short, it was the start of an incredible week.
Thanks again to Costa and IndiFly for the assignment.
There’s always some sort of lull between shooting and seeing shots be published. Sometimes it’s nice and short — my favorite thing about newspaper work is there’s usually only a few days between the shoot and publication. Other times it drags on… I’ve had projects 18+ months in the making. Anticipation somehow makes it all that much more rewarding when the images finally hit the streets.
This past May I was fortunate enough to travel to a remote atoll in the South Pacific, Anaa, to work on a project with Costa del Mar and the IndiFly Foundation. We had a week on location, assessing the fishery and getting to know the locals. There’s something magic about working in those far-off places, and hands-down that’s been one of my favorite shoots to date.
A few of the images made it into a feature in the latest The Fly Fish Journal, and I was thrilled to see more released in Costa’s 2016 Dealer Guide. The entire book is themed around the trip, and, as always, it’s interesting to see what shots the agency uses. More images, along with a write-up, will be released in Australian publication FlyLife in the coming months.
Check out the “case study” on my website, and browse through a few of the most recent clips. Huge thanks to the folks who put this shoot together; people can make or break a shoot like this, and in this case we clearly had an A-Team along.
Got the call last week from a 212 area code, offering a little flashback to my recent East Coast escapades. Picked it up to find a photo assignment for the New York Times waiting on the other end of the line, so I packed the bags and headed up to Helena, Montana’s capital, the next morning for an assignment.
The job was to photograph poet Tyler Knott Gregson for an upcoming article. Staged portraits are by no means my favorite thing—I love capturing portraits of people when they are actively engaged in something else and not thinking about the camera.
This was not one of those days.
That said, Tyler was fantastic to work with, and had already pre-scouted a location for the shoot. We set up, shot in a couple settings, and I was back in Bozeman by the late afternoon to file images. Still in awe at the digital world we live in.
Thanks to the Times for the assignment, Tyler for putting up with me, and Montana for providing a pretty awesome drive to work.
You can read my full write-up today on Chi Wulff, but the bottom line is this: we learn best by doing. A fact that was evident yesterday at Headhunters Fly Shop’s first women’s-only Spey clinic. I worked at the shop several years ago while shooting a long-term documentary project, and it was fantastic to be back on familiar waters and see old friends. There’s something about the stretch of the Missouri River between Helena and Great Falls; it has its own personality. It’s a little bit rock-and-roll, a little bit old school, and a whole lot of legit fishing.
Sara and Beth from Headhunters put on a lovely clinic for a group of eight women who had driven from all over the state to learn the basics of two-handed angling. While I was shooting the clinic for an upcoming article, I was able to put down the camera and pick up a rod for a bit. Good for the soul.
This was one email I was excited—and surprised—to see show up in my inbox this weekend. The subject line read “You Are a MIFA Winner,” and it took me a minute to recall the Moscow International Foto Awards, which I had entered this past summer. Seems like a lifetime ago (maybe it was).
A series of eight images from May’s South Pacific expedition with IndiFly and Costa took an honorable mention in the Professional Category for Editorial-Essay. It’s beyond surreal to see my name listed with photographic greats such as Ed Kasha; thanks to the Moscow team for the nod. This was a very special assignment, and the images are beginning to hit the streets in Costa’s 2016 dealer guide (look for a post later this week) and in the contest circuit.
Again, thanks to everyone who made this shoot possible. We had an awesome team in an amazing location, and while it was one of the more challenging shoots I’ve been on, it was also one of the more fun simply due to the people—both on the team and the locals we met on location. Excited to share these images with an international audience!
It’s finally November. Snow is in the forecast, the flip-flops have been replaced by boots, and I’m practically living in fleece. While I’m decidedly looking forward to the change in seasons (winter can be a great time to hunker down and write), part of me decidedly wants to be stalking some saltwater flat. Last November found me in Belize on assignment for Orvis, exploring jungles, flats, islands, and cities. Fun to look back at some of these images; many of which have made the rounds this past year in catalogs, email, and on the Orvis website.
You can find a full breakdown of the assignment and the assets created here, but in the meantime sip your morning coffee and let the mind drift to warmer climes. Head to Chi Wulff for the full photo essay.