Truth and Trout in the Big Sky Journal

by Fire Girl Jess on February 10, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 7.28.14 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-10 at 7.27.05 PMThe Fly-Fishing issue of The Big Sky Journal has just come off the presses, and I’m thrilled to be part of this collection of fly-fishing stories and images for the third year in a row. (Time flies.) This year, fantastic editors Geoff and Seabring helped me curate a story from a photo shoot last April for Orvis, right here in Yellowstone country.

The shoot was a big undertaking; I was lucky enough to have a creative director give me free rein, and it spiraled into a multi-month project of planning, producing, organizing, and shooting, and then getting assets into the Orvis framework and to other publications. The shoot took place in April — a time that can be notoriously rough fishing here in the Bozeman area. I had a fantastic team, including angler/models Phoebe and Jackie and photo assistant extraordinaire Jenny.

Things went down, as they say. Read about a Land Cruiser called Rudy, a day exploring Yellowstone, fishing runoff water, and four girls on a Montana road trip here.

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Sourcing Models

by Fire Girl Jess on February 5, 2016

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IMG_8029I’ll let you in on a secret — in the outdoor industry, most of our models are our friends, and most of our “shoots” are really adventures where we bring a camera along for the ride; to get some work in on the side. Friend Jackie at Orvis is always down for an adventure, and when I lived on the East Coast we found ourselves out fishing whenever the chance came along. Brook trout in hillside streams? Bring it. Bass during the dog days of summer? Sure. Stripers off Martha’s Vineyard? Hell yes. These two images, recently published in an early spring Orvis fishing catalog, both feature Jackie.

The first was taken during a cold, wet early spring day on the Battenkill River, somewhat ironically about 15 minutes from Orvis HQ in southern Vermont. We were both eager to get outside after a long winter, and after battling a downpour and wind strong enough to create spray, called it a day and headed into town for a coffee, uncaring that our under-wader sweatpants drew less-than-approving looks from vacations New York City fashionistas.

The second shot, taken on Lake Champlain during the hot days of summer, was Jackie’s first go at poling a skiff. We were hunting gar, and she piloted us around a shoal where we cast at the prehistoric fish. A good, hot, fun day with lots of laughter. I’ve yet to meet a career model who would hop up on a platform and try to push a boat around a windy lake.

While I sometimes find myself working with agency “fashion” models, the kind who know how to pose and look pretty for the camera, somehow it’s always the more authentic shots that come from the “friend” models. And perhaps the more fun days as well.

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Images in the New Orvis Catalogs

by Fire Girl Jess on February 3, 2016

Received a couple new Orvis outdoor catalogs in the mail last week, and was happy to see some familiar imagery in use. From Belize to Vermont, Montana to Alaska, this is a fun collection of images. Even though I’m not officially part of Orvis any more, still fun to work with the team on a limited basis. (And please excuse the poor, yellowish iPhone shots of catalog pages. Airplane lighting!)

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First Look From Cuba

by Fire Girl Jess on February 2, 2016

Back from Cuba, then hit The Fly Fishing Show in New Jersey (great to see some of you there!) and finally now back in Bozeman and trying to catch up on “normal” life. I’ll pen a more thorough blog post later, but you can read a Part 1 and a Part 2 post on Chi Wulff about Cuba, and here are a few images hot off the hard drive.

Big news coming from a lot of different directions these days… stay tuned for more.

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New Partner: Global Rescue

by Fire Girl Jess on January 12, 2016

globalrescue1The network is rapidly expanding; 2016 is off to a fantastic start. It was such a pleasure to run into folks at the Denver show this past weekend — thanks to all of you who came looking for a chat.

I’m excited to announce a partnership with Global Rescue, a company who specializes in travel risk and crisis management. I’ve traveled under Global Rescue memberships for several years now, and always rest a little easier knowing if something happened help will be on the way. I’ve had great interactions with the team, and look forward to developing the partnership.

Off to Cuba on Thursday to shoot for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures; back in Bozeman for a few days at the end of the month before heading to the Somerset, New Jersey. Look forward to saying hi to some East Coast friends!

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Modes of travel: transferring supplies into Brevyeni Camp. Ponoi River, Kola Peninsula, Russia.

Modes of travel: transferring supplies into Brevyeni Camp. Ponoi River, Kola Peninsula, Russia.

Getting ready to head to the Denver Fly Fishing Show (January 8-10) and then to Somerset, NJ, at the end of the month (January 29-31). I’ll be with AFFTA at both shows, and look forward to catching up with old friends, making new, and getting some business done. If you’re at either show, please stop by and say hi!

In the middle — and the trip taking most of my attention right now — I’m heading down to Cuba on assignment for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. I’ve got a three-day bracket on either end of the trip and the trade shows, so packing right now is imperative. (And somehow I don’t think I’ll be needing flats clothing in Denver.) This is going to be a diverse, multi-location trip, so stay tuned for stories and images coming your way at the end of the month.

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Hell of a Year

by Fire Girl Jess on December 30, 2015

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That phrase is overused. Personally, I just rolled my eyes as I sit writing this at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport hoping for a flight out. I’ve been delayed a day, and it harkens back to being stuck last year in the Belize City airport with a group of Dutch Marines. They were a bit better company than what I’ve got today, but it’s always entertaining.

But, surprisingly, I didn’t delete the title of this post after I typed it. I paused, looked at it, listened to the guy behind me talking about the tornadoes that ransacked Dallas a few days ago. The worst in 65 years, they’re saying. I spent the night with family, about 20 miles from the tornadoes, dodging rain and rum, listening to the alert siren going off all too frequently and the steady staccato beat of the rain against the windows. And it fit. Because, you know, it’s been a hell of a year.

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The year started off slow; a cold, snowy winter in Vermont, steady work at Orvis and a busy run of articles and stories in magazines. Then came April and nearly three weeks back in Montana, shooting on my own time for a few magazine pieces, then the Orvis Guide Rendezvous in Missoula, and then a fashion / editorial shoot for Orvis. While prepping for the Orvis shoot, I got a call from Costa del Mar’s advertising agency. Did I want to go to a tiny atoll in the South Pacific in four weeks and shoot a campaign?

McGlothlin_2016-1795It wasn’t a hard question to answer. Two weeks back in Vermont and then I was off to the South Pacific with one of the coolest groups of anglers and industry professionals I’ve had a chance to work with. We chased bonefish, bluefin trevally, and a host of other species on the flats and reef edges. Dodged overly-friendly blacktop sharks, played soccer with the locals, ate raw fish in coconut milk at every meal, and learned to throw spears in the local’s sport of patia fa (throwing spears at a coconut suspended in the air on a pole). Met some incredible people along the way, and got my first trevally. Midway through my three-day trip back to the Northeast I sat in the Los Angeles airport, feet so swollen from a series of infected cuts they could barely fit into my flip-flops, and thought how awesome it all was. Sometimes life is unexpectedly grand.

I’d been back in Vermont less than 24 hours when I got an email asking if I’d like to travel to Alaska’s Bristol Bay Lodge in five weeks. Sometime in between French Polynesia and that trip, I headed to South Carolina to shoot several craftsmen for Orvis and then, before I knew it, I was traveling across the country and up to Alaska, where I was able to both fish and shoot images. The undisputed highlight of that trip was swinging mice for Dolly Varden and watching explosive takes, some from directions I never would have predicted. When you’re relaxed and just “seeing what happens,” that’s typically when it all comes together. Good company, killer fishing, photo-rich scenery, and a mellow black lab in the boat: that single day remains one of the best shooting (and fishing) sessions on the books.

Things mellowed for a few weeks after Alaska. Back in to the Orvis routine; August was spent managing pictures from the spring, catching up on  writing, and getting some serious small-stream brookie fishing in. This work comes in phases; there’s the fun, short creating phase and then the much longer, much less sexy business side of things. Most of my time is spent trying to find a balance between the two.

September came in with a bang, bringing in unexpected job offer to join the American Fly Fishing Trade Association as their Communications Director, and the day after I was offered a position to manage Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventure’s social media. After two weeks of serious deliberation, the choice to head back West was made. Back to Bozeman and on to new challenges. It was unexpectedly hard to leave parts of Orvis, and I’m looking forward to a reunion with friends this January at the Somerset fly-fishing show.Girls' Montana Road Trip

Bozeman has been a blur of work and hustle and networking, and that doesn’t seem to be changing. It’s interesting being back in familiar territory, and fun to reconnect with old fishing buddies. We’ve cooked up some local fishing projects for this winter that should be rather interesting… stay tuned. I’m living in a house with three dogs and five people, and somehow it all works.

2016 is starting off well; I’ll be in Bozeman for a total of eight days in January; on the road the rest of the time for work. Trade shows in Denver and Somerset take up both ends of the month, and a short-notice trip to Cuba and photograph a new location for Yellow Dog takes up the middle part. The spring is already booking up, and I’m eager to see what pops up… it seems often the best adventures come up with short notice and it’s a scramble to make them happen. But somehow it’s always worth it.

Business-wise, it was a good year. My first large commercial shoot for a client other than Orvis, my first Australian cover, placing as a runner-up in the Moscow Photo Awards… the list goes on and on. But as I sit and write this, the “accomplishments” fade against the memories of good times with good people in strange corners of the world, and a curiosity to what the new year will bring.

Thanks to everyone who has provided opportunities and offered support this past year. I’ve encountered some of the most incredible people in the strangest places — from Alaskan fishing guides I’ve kept in touch with, to Anaa islanders who I exchanged Christmas messages with on Facebook (it’s a weird digital world we live in, isn’t it?), to the random people I’ve met in airports along the way. None of this could happen without the roster of awesome clients, anglers, and editors who are patient enough to put up with “the girl with the camera.” Thanks, team, and here’s to a wild one to come.

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