The Art of Happiness in Mountain Outlaw

by Fire Girl Jess on December 2, 2016

Mountain Outlaw just dropped their winter issue, and I was thrilled to see this image of Tea Rai leading off a feature on “The Art of Happiness.”

While exploring Anaa Atoll with Costa Sunglasses and The IndiFly Foundation, we took a day away from the fish and learned the sport of “patia fa” from the locals — throwing specially-built spears at a coconut suspended high on a pole. It was an afternoon of laughter, relaxation, and wholly new experiences. I can’t thank the people of Anaa enough for welcoming our motley little group with open arms!

Read the full winter issue of Mountain Outlaw here.



The best part about travel is the people you meet and the places you see. Fishing is an excuse to travel, and the sport in of itself generates some truly fantastic storytelling opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to explore a bit of the South Pacific over the past few years, and when Bjorn over at “Bonefish on the Brain” asked if I would mind doing an interview on the subject, I was more than happy to oblige. (And had some convenient airplane time in which to sit and answer questions!)

Here’s a snippet:

Bjorn: You shoot some mean photos. I’m wondering what sort of considerations you take when you head somewhere so remote in order to not have the whole trip go sideways on you.

Jess: Something always goes sideways; that’s a given. On this trip, I ended up in the little atoll clinic (luckily the rotating, listing French nurse was there at the time) with toe and foot infections from coral cuts. I ended up losing both toenails and by the end of the trip I could barely fit my feet into my flip-flops for the flight home. Part of the game, and there’s no question in my mind the images were worth it.

In planning any shoot, I sit down with the client beforehand and develop a shot list so I know what their “must have” shots are. This list can be as short as a half a page and as long as ten. If logistics allow, I sit down every evening with clients while on location to review shots and ensure they like what they are seeing. Typically we do it the first day or two, then they know they’re comfortable with what we’re shooting and it’s less of a worry. It’s always a good sign when the client starts to bring beer to the photo review.

I’m lucky to travel frequently enough to have developed a “gear list” with items I know I’ll need. It varies location by location and job by job, of course, but the basics stay the same. I take meticulous care of cameras on location — in saltwater locations they get swiped down with a damp cloth then dried each night, lenses and filters carefully cleaned, batteries charged, and memory cards backed up three times then cleared. If I don’t have time to do all that and sleep, then I don’t get sleep. It’s pretty simple.

You can read the full interview here. Thanks again to Bjorn for the opportunity!


Report: YD Belize On-the-Water Photo School Week

by Fire Girl Jess on October 30, 2016

Just back from a fantastic week teaching at the Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures first-ever On-the-Water Photography Workshop in Belize. We had a fantastic group along, and stayed busy with fishing, catamaran rides, snorkeling, exploring local towns, classroom sessions (complete with ceviche and Belikins) and evening reviews.

I’m already on another job (down in Jackson, WY for a few days) and will write up a more complete report later, but for now here are a few images from the trip. We’re looking at making this a series of workshops — stay tuned for information on future dates / locations!



Teaching in Belize

by Fire Girl Jess on October 20, 2016

Not a bad view. Riding copilot on the flight out of Ambergris Caye to Belize City.

After a busy week at the American Fly Fishing Trade Association Dealer Summit, I’m packing bags today to go teach an On-the-Water Photography Workshop in Belize with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. We’ve got an awesome group of students, and I’m excited to kick off what’s going to be an action-packed trip!

After this workshop, I bounce back to Bozeman then immediately head to Jackson Hole for a shoot, then turn directly around and fly to Texas to give a keynote talk to the Texas Women’s Fly Fishers. The blog might be quiet for a few weeks, but rest assured I’ll be back with reports soon!

Thanks to everyone who continues to reach out — you guys make this fun!


First Taste of Winter

by Fire Girl Jess on October 6, 2016

jess_hyalite-5I headed up into the mountains for a bit of small-stream fishing yesterday (more a mental break than anything) and ran into wind, snow, and temps dipping right around freezing. The fishing wasn’t bad — lots of little guys willing to nibble — but the real treat was having what’s been a busy stream throughout the summer all to myself as snow coated my hat. Come January I’ll be well and over the cold and snow, but the first blast of winter weather is always kind of cosy.

Yesterday I was impressed by the dark, dark skies — thunderstorm skies — accompanied only by the sound of wind through the trees and the eerie silence of softly-falling snow.

Hyalite is a popular canyon just south of Bozeman; it’s typically over-run with eager outdoors folk (or, as seems to be the case lately, wannabe outdoorsmen). A brief drive brings you to a gorgeous lake, and a myriad of trails can take you in any direction you please.



Autumn Rolls in Bozeman: Talking on Chi Wulff

by Fire Girl Jess on September 27, 2016


I jotted down a few words and shared a couple images this past week on Chi Wulff, talking about the turn to autumn. Frosty morning are here in full force, and leaves crunch underfoot, lining the downtown streets. Outdoorsmen are caught in the never-ending struggle of deciding whether to fish or hunt — the paradox of having too many good options — and fleece is appearing around town in force. I found myself pulling out winter layers the other day and debating which flip-flops might not make it another year. Somehow — I’m not sure how — summer is over and we’re heading into autumn.

I’m enjoying a few weeks before another hectic travel run. Mid-October kicks off the AFFTA Dealer Summit here in Bozeman, then I have a day before heading off to Belize to teach an On-the-Water Photography Workshop with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then back for half a day before heading to Jackson for a press trip. Then I’m back to Bozeman for about 12 hours before jumping on another plane and heading to Texas to speak to a fly-fishing group out of Dallas. Then, in mid-November, I come home and sleep.

Here’s to the sprint!


FlyLife Australia Image

by Fire Girl Jess on September 23, 2016


Always a pleasure to work with the gang from FlyLife Magazine down in Australia and New Zealand. This image of Nautilus Reels hard at rest after a long day in the salt in French Polynesia teamed nicely with a stellar article from Bill Mitchell in the most recent issue.