Learning to Counterbalance

by Fire Girl Jess on July 29, 2014

Scene from a morning run on a wet summer's day.

Scene from a morning run on a wet summer’s day.

Lately I’ve been a bit itchy, a bit restless. It’s not a foreign feeling for me; somehow it often hits this time of year—I’m an inclement weather person, and maybe there’s something about the wintertime snow / rain (depending where I’m living at any given time) that keeps the brain occupied and the creative juices flowing. Summer is a challenge and, at 26, I’m finally learning to recognize that the panicky, uneasy feeling the summer months tend to import will pass with time and patience.

The key is learning to survive in the meantime, and a big part of the survival tactic is learning to pace myself. For Fire Girl work, it’s important to diversify and make certain I work outside the comfortable world of fly fishing. A very real part of me misses covering news—forest fires, car crashes, working alongside the military—anything with inherent, serious danger. Miss the gravity of it, the weight of it, being kept awake in the middle of the night by a story that just seems to have more hidden parts, wondering what connects all the little dots.

Outdoor photography and fishing photography/writing will always pay the bills, and it’s fun as hell, but sometimes it’s nice to churn the brain into knots and see what comes of it.

And so, it’s a balance I continually work to figure out. Somehow I think maybe there’s no easy answer; that there will always be that push-pull balance to navigate. Business great Hugh Macleoud wrote, “The hunger will give you everything and it will take from you, everything. It will cost you your life, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.” I think I’m finally wrapping my head around that idea.

It’s a mental balance more than anything. I’ve been forcibly unplugging from the computer as often as I can, taking long hikes in the Green Mountains near Manchester. There’s a kind of unique peacefulness that comes from being out in the wilderness alone, and problems are chewed through far more easily when the body’s working overtime. I always return to the trailhead physically exhausted and (at least somewhat) mentally calmed. A new ritual of 5am runs through the quiet streets of town also affords some good “mental organization” time; I can revel in the quiet of the typically tourist-laden streets and peer in shop windows as I trot around rain-wet sidewalks and trails. I’m a hiker; definitely not a runner, but it’s about learning to counterbalance the mental with the physical and make some time to simply unplug.

Well, that’s this week’s odd little harangue. It’s been a productive couple weeks; look for more FGP articles and photos coming your way soon in various print and digital formats, and more tales of off-beat adventures coming to the blog. What’s the cliché? Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Looking a bit like fall already, perhaps.

Looking a bit like fall already, perhaps.


Summer sunset at Mountain Palace on Montana's Missouri River.

Summer sunset at Mountain Palace on Montana’s Missouri River.

When the guys over at Hammer Creek Fly Fishing emailed and asked if I’d be willing to write up a “five tips” post for fly-fishing photography, I was flattered.

And then, a little stumped.

How to distill the process down to five top tips? It proved to be a fun little challenge.

Give it a read and tell me what you think!

Thanks to Kyle Andes of Hammer Creek for making touch and for the opportunity for some guest writing!


Alternative Transportation

by Fire Girl Jess on July 21, 2014

Guide Rory Paterson aboard an Mi-8 on a supply run downriver. Ponoi River, Russia.

Guide Rory Paterson aboard an Mi-8 on a supply run downriver. Ponoi River, Russia.

Digging through the Russia archives for images for a submission. Came across this… different methods of transportation, from a few years ago.

Can honestly say I miss the hell out of riding the Mi-8s.


The Vermont Chronicles 20 July: The IFTD Post

by Fire Girl Jess on July 20, 2014

Head on over to Chi Wulff for a bit more reporting on IFTD… hopefully you’re delving into it armed with a mug brim-full of black coffee and a fly rod (and water) near at hand.


Reporting From IFTD

by Fire Girl Jess on July 17, 2014

The Orvis booth in full-on work mode, IFTD 2014.

The Orvis booth in full-on work mode, IFTD 2014.

I could grow to like Florida. I’m reporting from an outside patio… dusk is falling, I can hear live music from somewhere on the hotel compound, and it’s humid and warm and lovely. Big, puffy gulf clouds puff over the horizon and pink sunlight tints the skyline.

Somehow it’s a kind of weird, zen fit for a fishing industry gathering.

While I haven’t ventured much into ICAST land (conventional fishing still puzzles me, and I can’t throw a spinning rod to save my life, except as potentially a javelin), IFTD has proven to be a productive event for the week. It’s an idea-gathering ground of marketing mojo, press prowess, and pow-wow goodness with industry folk. Talk about a way to reenergize the writing at the day job.

I’ve been working the show strictly in an Orvis capacity, and so have not been wearing my freelance hat, nor have I been toting around the camera kit. I feel rather naked without; my shoulder feels pretty damn empty without a camera strap hugging on, and my fingers itch for the well-worn grip of the Canon.

That said, it’s been awesome to work the Orvis booth, meet some of our dealers, and talk with folk from all sides of the industry. Orvis introduced some pretty rockin’ new product for 2015, and after months spent on naming and marketing for these products, it’s pretty exciting to hear to public’s thoughts.

So, with minimal reporting, here are a few iPhone photos from the show.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to talk. I finally met, face-to-face, a lot of folks I’ve worked with over the years, once more proving there is nothing that replaces a good, old-fashioned hand shake and face time. Looking forward to catching all you guys again in the coming months.

A plethora of rather sobering news coming from around the world today—I took a phone call from a friend with boots on the ground in the Gaza Strip this morning—served as a good reminder to many present that, at the end of the day, it’s only fishing. We work in a pretty awesome industry, filled with some incredible people (met even more today), but the real world never fails to remind us of the sport’s place in the big scene of things.

So here’s to those good days on the water.

The IFTD casting pond.

The IFTD casting pond.

The latest and greatest: Orvis Recon!

The latest from Orvis for 2015: the Recon.


Off to IFTD with Orvis

by Fire Girl Jess on July 14, 2014

Three Frenchmen take advantage of the day's last light. Missouri River, Montana.

Three Frenchmen take advantage of the day’s last light. Missouri River, Montana.

Bags are packed and I’m blazing through a night of work before heading off to join the rest of the Orvis Rod & Tackle gang tomorrow at the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show in Orlando. Looking forward to hitting the pavement with the guys I work with on a daily basis and seeing what’s new in the fly fishing realm (and showcase some of Orvis’ new 2015 product). Should be a busy week.

If you’re there, give me a shout! (Or, alternately, look for the only girl with the Orvis group.) Hope to see you there!


Back into the Ring: The Vermont Summer Festival

by Fire Girl Jess on July 13, 2014

McGlothlin_FGP_Horse_VYesterday was spent working in, for me, a rather old arena (pardon the pun… couldn’t resist). Some of you will know by now that, before writing and photography became a full-time career, I used to make a living in the equestrian industry. Said career involved managing a large boarding / training barn, a wide variety of lesson clients, and a string of horses in training.

After a stint working in Europe within that industry, I burned out. And burned out hard. The brain needed something different, and eventually that transition landed me where I am today. (And who the hell would have ever guessed Vermont?)

That said, some of my favorite assignments over the years have come in the form of something horsey—covering famed the Masters Tournament at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, part of the World Cup of Eventing with Event at Rebecca Farm in Montana, and a plethora of rodeos and rough outs along the way. I find myself frequently writing for equestrian magazines, dithering on about a new form of equine conditioning or a new industry trend.

Horses always come back one way or another.

And so, it was with a gleeful step that I made my way to the Vermont Summer Festival yesterday, held an arduous trek of about ten minutes from my apartment here in Manchester. (Small town win.) Photographing jumping horses is something I know and I love, and so, all in all, it was a pretty relaxed work day.

I have discovered a certain proclivity to a particular type of horse—those that most resemble my old competition partner. He was big and bay and rawboned, with monstrous ears and a bold Roman nose. Uploading images yesterday I discovered an inordinate amount of images that reflected that type of mount.

I also fell into the old habit of making internal bets as a horse enters the ring, debating if it will be a clean round or not. Force of habit—long years in the industry make reading equine quality second nature.

The Vermont Summer Festival runs from 1 July to 10 August; suffice to say I’m feeling pretty happy and pretty spoiled to have this kind of equestrian community in town for six weeks. It’s an interesting experience—I came home from the show yesterday bearing the signature scents of a horse show… sweat, the sweet smell of well-cared-for horses, and fly spray. Nostalgia reigned. At the same time, watching the trainers and the grooms and the riders who only ride as a social, society trend, it made me very much not miss that lifestyle.

Thought-provoking, at any rate.

The show’s weekly $30,000 Grand Prix takes place every Saturday, and I was able to catch it yesterday. Despite the hot, sticky weather, horses and riders looked to be fit and in fighting form. The course was wide—lots of odd half strides where the riders had to know their horses and the mount’s ability to either lengthen or shorten strides in between combinations.

As always, it was a pleasure to be back ringside. I’m looking forward to hitting the Vermont Summer Festival several more times this summer. Look for the images in an equestrian publication near you!

Off to the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show in Orlando this week. If you’re there, give me a shout! Looking forward to networking and meeting friends, both old and new.