Lowes – Craftsman Tools Campaign

At long last we are finally able to share with you the images we shot earlier this summer for Lowes Home Improvement for their current Craftsman Tools Campaign.

This year marked the introduction of Craftsman Tools being sold at all Lowes locations.   We had the pleasure of once again teaming up with the good folks Kreber in a collaborative effort to create images for an Ad campaign,  POP, in store signage,  web and social media outlets over the course of several days.  During this time we photographed several people in a woodshop location working on various motors and machinery and also several people in a home garage environment with Craftsman tools.

As always it was a fantastic shoot with a great team!    Many thanks to all our wonderful clients from Lowes and Craftsman Tools for the opportunity.    Also thanks to Kreber for their collaboration and all their amazing support crew for doing a wonderful job of handling the production and coordination of this fantastic project!   Always a pleasure to work with such a professional and capable operation.   I look forward to the next one!!

 

Garden & Gun Magazine – Captains For Clean Water

I had the distinct pleasure to shoot with Garden and Gun Magazine recently.   Garden & Gun is an amazing publication with not only great editorial content but is also coveted among photographers as a publication that “get’s it”.   They have a history of working with really amazing photographers and giving them the creative freedom and support to do their very best work.    It was truly a pleasure working with them and I hope we have many more opportunities in the future.

For this assignment I was contacted by Margaret Houston the photo editor to shoot for an article featuring Captain Chris Wittman.    Chris is a fishing guide in Florida (Stillwater Charters) who heads up an organization called  “Captains For Clean Water”.   After being briefed on the article and what CFCW was all about,  I jumped at the chance to hop a plane back to Florida from Utah to shoot for G&G and do my part to  support such a worthy cause.

Captains For Clean Water is a Grassroots Nonprofit Organization Advocating for Clean Water & Healthy Estuaries Across South Florida.  They started out as a group of fishing guides that “had enough” of Florida’s poor water management practices. Given the destruction seen firsthand, they were convinced that if everyone knew what they knew, the problem would have been already fixed. They discovered, the solution has been delayed for decades because of a lack of political will and public awareness.


On average, billions of gallons of nutrient-laden fresh water flow into our lower estuaries via the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers every day. The concern to our estuaries is not just that these unnatural discharges contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicide, high nutrient loads and bacteria which have led to public health warnings; the volume of the fresh water alone is enough to disrupt our fragile marine ecosystems. The nutrients, and other pollutants, enter our waters through agricultural and urban areas in the center of the state, mostly north of Lake Okeechobee. Thankfully, with cooperation of farmers throughout the state, they have slowly been able to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen loads that enter the water supply, yet nutrient levels remain much higher than natural lake and river water.

Here’s what it’s all about…

Under normal circumstances, Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farmers may not contribute substantial nutrients to this water supply. When we experience heavy rains, however, sugar and other farm lands south of Lake Okeechobee flood. That water is then drained into ditches and ultimately pumped into Lake Okeechobee. This practice is known as back-pumping, and it adds fair amount of fresh water and nutrients to the lake. Back-pumping doesn’t happen on a daily basis, only during periods of heavy rains. The practice is justified in the name of reducing flood risk in largely agricultural areas south of Lake Okeechobee, however it is arguably a violation of the intent of the Clean Water Act and works mostly to the benefit of agricultural corporations operating in the EAA. And it is just one example of the many Lake Okeechobee water mismanagement issues facing our state.

The excess nutrients in Lake Okeechobee discharge water works to fuel toxic algae blooms in our marine (salt and freshwater) environments. The nutrients also have the potential to “fertilize” an already present red tide organism. These recurring fresh water discharges can create two deadly options for marine life in our estuaries: die in the fresh water discharge or be washed out to sea into a supercharged red tide bloom.

The murky, turbid Lake Okeechobee discharge water also kills seagrass, oysters and other life on the sea floor. It blocks light from reaching the seagrass and prohibits photosynthesis. Prolonged exposure to low salinity also kills grass, oysters, and other marine life.

Our seagrass beds and oysters are the foundation of estuarial marine life and an incredible natural filter. Without them, our estuary ecosystems face an uncertain future.

For many years we have witnessed, first hand, a decline in the lower Caloosahatchee, Pine Island Sound, and Indian River Lagoon estuaries due to this long term water mismanagement. While we drown in fresh water, Florida Bay is suffering from a lack of it, causing the water to become too salty to support critical sea life.

Our state needs land in the Everglades Agricultural Area necessary to clean the Lake Okeechobee discharge water in an attempt to restore natural sheet flow to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. This will take large tracts of contiguous land for the construction of storm water treatment areas that will substantially reduce phosphorous and nitrogen levels in the water. Nutrient reduction is critical so we do not simply send our problem south.  For more information,  head over to www.captainsforcleanwater.org or pick up a copy of this month’s Garden And Gun Magazine and you can read the article!

_

Bonneville Part 2… Collaboration with Smalldog Imageworks.

One of the great things about being a creative person and working in the industry that I work in is when your work inspires other creative and talented people who’s work you love and admire.   There are times when this brings about opportunities to collaborate with those people on projects that both inspire and benefit each other.  One such opportunity arose when Scott Dorman from Smalldog Imageworks  wrote to tell me how much he liked the first Bonneville posts I had made (as he is very much a fan of classic cars and bikes.)   This led to me asking him if he would be interested in working on producing a few more of these images with me as I am creating a whole series from this shoot.   He jumped at the chance and the result was the first 3 images here in this post. What is interesting about all these images is none of these  vehicles were actually in motion when I shot them.    I shot them and many other pieces with the final images in mind, but the actual scene when shooting was much more random with many layers of people and cars in the background.   When this happens and I will often have the final composition in my mind but knowing that there is no way to get it in one shot in camera.   Instead I will work to make sure I have all the parts at the correct angles and perspectives with many variations and options I need to make it a reality and build it later in post.  I incorporate a lot of this into my everyday work but Scott takes this talent and multiplies it times 10 and was perfect choice to bring these images into reality.  He’s a real pro when it comes to picking the right angles so the perspectives work as well as people, body positions, and adding motion, the flying salt, spinning the tires & moving the ground.  It’s no surprise that he is one of the most sought after retouchers in the business today.

 

Winter’s Here… Time to go Ice Fishing!

Winter is finally upon us!  Winter is finally here which brings with it all sorts of fun stuff…Things like heading to New Hampshire with friends to take in the annual ice fishing derby!   These folks are serious about their ice fishing.   What a great excuse to head out on the snow and frozen lakes to drink beer,  ride snowmobiles and have fun!

Miami Cancer Institute Campaign Rolls Out first 2 of 8 Executions.

Well after a long wait and much anticipation the Miami Cancer Institute has finally begun to roll out it’s ad campaign shot by Pete Barrett last summer.   Shown here are the first two in a series of eight ads which Pete and his team created for MCI working in close collaboration with Republica Advertising and Cortez Brothers Productions.  All post production and retouching of the images was done by Pete Barrett.  Pete also worked closely in collaboration with Saddington & Baynes out of London to create and later incorporate the CGI letter “C” element that is a recurring prop in all of the ads.  

This was a great shoot that involved a fairly complex production, something that Pete is very well versed in.  Working closely with Cortez Brothers Productions (who was also producing a series of TV spots for the client),   Pete and his team of roughly 25-30 people shot 8 different executions of final images that involved combining lifestyle shots of people in an environment with a large 3 dimensional letter “C” also in the shot which would be created digitally in a CGI environment.  This required shooting many elements to be layered and retouched into the image in post as well as capturing lighting, shadowing and size & dimension measurement info that would later be used in the creation of the 3D – CGI letter “C” element made by Saddington and Baynes ensuring that it would look like it was actually physically there in the space.   Still to come are 6 more ads which we cannot disclose at this time as they have yet to be released to the public but as soon as they hit the streets we will post an update.   Stay tuned!!

Fly Fishing on the Snake River – Jackson Wyoming.

So this spring we found ourselves all over the upper MidWest exploring the Yellowstone National Park region down on through Jackson, Wyoming and the Teton National Forest.   While we were there I had the opportunity to shoot several different fly fishing shoots both still and video on the Snake River.

The first shoot I connected with Reel Deal Anglers owner Rhett Bain who connected me with his head angler Brian Chamberland.  We were here during the spring time which presents several challenges.    The first is there is heavy snow melt pouring down the mountains so many of the rivers tend to be washed out,  running heavy and brown.   The second,  more dangerous challenge is this is the time of year when all the Momma grizzly bears are coming out of their winter slumbers with their new bear cubs and sightings are frequent.   These bears are quite beautiful when viewed from a safe distance but to  surprise them and wander between mom and her cubs could be a deadly mistake.

Given these factors we chose to do a float down the river in an area that was less blown out than other areas around.   We launched on the Snake just below the spillway from the  Jackson Lake dam one crisp May morning just before dawn and headed out to make some great images and video.    Unfortunately while the early morning light is great for photos it is not necessarily great for fishing here on the Snake as they have better luck later in the day when the light is directly overhead.    I opted for the better light for this shoot in lieu of actually catching fish in harsh mid-day light.

In the end while we didn’t actually have much luck bringing in the big one,  we did manage to get some really great images and footage.     Thanks to Rhett and Brian and our angler that Brian brought along as well!   If you are ever in the Jackson area and want to go out for a great fishing experience make sure to give them a call.  (just let them pick the time if you actually want to catch fish and not just make pretty pictures)  😉

 

When Life Gives You Lemons….

There is the old adage,   “When life gives you lemons,  make lemonade”     I find this is something that I have to put into play quite a lot in my life,  even more so now that we find ourselves on our ongoing “adventure of a lifetime” roadtrip across this great country of ours.    Traveling across the land hauling your life along with you is exciting but as you can imagine, it presents some challenges.

For all the prep and planning we do, life on the road can throw you curve balls when you least expect them and you have to just roll with the punches and see where it takes you.   Often times if you look for the positive you will find opportunities will present themselves….   There is nothing I like more than times when you find that you have mistakenly taken a turn down the “wrong road” or had a issue that waylays you, rather than becoming a problem… it puts you in a place you never expected, which turns out to be exactly where you were supposed to be.     What I mean by this, is an opportunity or an experience presents itself that you never would have, had if it had not been for that problem or mistake you made that got you there.   Some call it Kismet or even Destiny.    Whatever you call it,  if you keep your eyes open you find some pretty cool experiences and photos to be made.  See the photo below which I created on the one such incident…

Earlier this fall we were just wrapping up spending the last 6 months bouncing around the Pacific Northwest, up and down the coast from Northern California to Canada.   Now setting our sights on Utah,  I had mistakenly turned East too early, and instead of taking an easy cut across the mountains in a valley,  we ended up on a very narrow, twisty & windy road through the Shasta Trinity Mountain range.     This makes for a white knuckle ride when you are pulling a 42 foot rig….   31,000 lbs of fun as you make your way over hills and around narrow passages. Not only was it a scary drive on it’s own, but the skies were jet black as an impending storm was about to hit.  Just when I began to really curse myself, trying to decide if I should turn back or press on through, I decided to pull over next to the river that was following my path just before the skies opened up to dump rain on us.

What I saw when I got out that I could not see while driving, was the view down river to our rear.     Here was this AMAZING mountain river location with the most incredible light shining through the oncoming rain that was falling.   I am lucky that I always try to have my camera ready and I was able to capture this amazing scene as it unfolded before me.     The only thing missing was a fly fishermen to complete the scene which I then added in with Photoshop later.   It made for a killer book shot and will also no doubt bring in some decent stock sales opportunities down the line.     I call this shot,   “When a wrong turn puts you exactly where you are  supposed to be.”

———————————————————————————————————

Another amazing opportunity that came from a bit of misfortune was when we were on our way from Park City Utah, to our March/April homebase of Breckenridge Colorado.  About 1/2 way there, in a little nothing town called Meeker CO, we had a mechanical issue with our tow vehicle which forced us to stop.   As luck would have it, there was a nice little RV Park just opening for the fishing season right on the river about a mile from where we broke down.       After checking in and getting the RV set up we set out to investigate our surroundings.   What we found was the little town of Meeker resembled more of a ghost town than anything.     It was during dinner that we asked the proprietor what there was to do in this town as we were going to be here a few days…  It was then that he mentioned that “every one is out at the dog races” for the weekend.

Turns out he was right because by the time we had finished with our dinner,  the little town was suddenly overtaken by teams of people with their dogs.    After talking with some of them I learned that this was the weekend the final races for the season where taking place about 40 miles away in the White River National Forest.   The exact directions I got from 3 different people were,   “Just drive down this road a mile and turn right at ‘the sign’ and follow that road 39 miles until it ends”   I thought to myself,    “Umm…. Ok.   that doesn’t sound weird at all” as I looked on the tiny road to nowhere on the map.   So the very next morning despite any reservations,   I set off in good faith driving the 40 some miles farther down this tiny road taking me farther and farther from the tiny town of Meeker into the wilderness….  all the while thinking, “this must be some kind of joke”.    After about an hour,  low and behold the road ended as I had been told it would and there in the middle of the woods was this mini winter festival of dog sled enthusiasts and about 100 dogs.   You knew you were here as you pulled up because of the sound… ALL the dogs are barking!   It’s quite exciting walking around and seeing everyone getting ready for the races.    I have never seen dogs so excited about getting ready to run.   As their handlers get them harnessed up and hitched onto one another they are loosing their minds, barking and tugging at their leashes.     They actually have to tie them off to their cars or they would just take off without them. All in all it was quite a cool experience & you won’t find a nicer group of people.   Everyone was interested why I was there and who I was shooting for.     I got a quick lesson on the happenings of the day and intros to the folks running the show from the Rocky Mountain Dog Sled club.   I even met a nice older gentleman named Mike who was having his 70-something birthday that day and heading out on the course racing his dogs.   He’d been racing for over 35 years and not about to slow down now.

As I clicked away watching group after group of dogs heading out onto the trail towing their various handlers on sleds and skis, (Skijouring) it struck me yet again how cool this is…   here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere with no-one who can even look at my truck until Monday and I find myself with this opportunity to shoot some amazing sled dog races, continue building my book and meeting some really great people in the process.  Turned out to be a great weekend!    I love my job!

 

Update From the Road… Fall 2016

Monument Valley

Well it has once again been a while since my last update from the road… So what have we been up to? Summer came and went by in a flash and it was probably the busiest summer I’ve had in 20 years. Since my last post we have been nonstop with one project after another. The last two months alone I’ve crisscrossed the country from corner to corner multiple times crossing the Mississippi 12 times for various projects. We’ve been to Arizona, California, Maine, North Carolina, Jamaica, Florida twice and back to Oregon on projects for Huffy Bikes, Merck Pharmacueticals, Miami Cancer Institute, Vista Print, High West Whiskey and Alaska Brewing. Most of these projects are still in post production or not yet released to the public so I can’t show them yet, but I’ll post them as soon as I am allowed.

balloons

It is hard to believe but it has been a full year since we first left on our journey across the country. It has been a whirlwind trip so far and we have no plans to stop for the foreseeable future. To date we have logged close to 16,000 driving miles and I’ve flown well over 30,000 miles on various jobs that happened over the last year as well. See our Google MyMap to see where we have been.

gc4

It’s been the experience of a lifetime…. we have been to some amazing places and met some really great people along the way not to mention shooting a zillion photos. I have to thank my wife for pushing me to do this as if it weren’t for her persistence we never would have left on this trip and the opportunities and projects that have come from it probably never would have happened. My American Worker Project took off with a bang and continues to garner great exposure. Back in July we shot hot air ballooning in Sedona Arizona and most recently I shot in the Firestone Walker Brewery in their wooden barrel aging plant. A few new proposed shoots to continue the project include potential shoots with the US Coastguard training at Cape Disappointment in Washington and also shooting with the brave men and women who fight the wild fires out that have been raging throughout California this summer. We have also been shooting a ton of travel related subjects featuring the many amazing locations we have had the pleasure of visiting.

mv2Some of the best and most epic locations we had the pleasure of visiting included Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Yosemite National Park. We took advantage of all these locations for the High West Whiskey project which is currently in post production and creative stages with the ad agency. I am very excited about the images we have created here and can’t wait to share them with you. For now these teasers from my Instagram will have to do.

sir2

As we steam headlong into fall things are continuing to look good as we are being considered for assignments and image uses for various projects for Chase Bank, STP, Fidelity Investments, and Orvis Fishing. Fingers and toes crossed on these as they look to be some really cool projects!

names

Stay tuned for future adventures as our fall calendar is packed with travel to Washington, up into BC Canada, (around Vancouver up near Whistler) and returning back down through Oregon… With later plans taking us back into California, Utah and Colorado over the winter.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

firestonewalker0081 We recently had the opportunity to shoot at the Firestone Walker Brewing Company in California.      Firestone is a cool up and coming company in the brewing world.    Founded by Adam Firestone,   great grandson to Harvey Firestone of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and his brother in law David Walker.  Firestone Walker has a unique brewing process where they age their brew in oak barrels during fermentation.    This renders an oaky taste to the brew which is unique in a beer.

In our shoot we focused on the various processes from working the initial brewing vats through quality control,   sampling the raw brew stock to labeling and packaging.firestonewalker0148

firestonewalker0315firestonewalker0494firestonewalkerthree

 

Shooting Vista Print in Jamaica.

I had the pleasure recently to travel back to Jamaica on an assignment for Vista Print.      I always love going to Jamaica.    The people there are always so nice.     We’ve spent many a month down there traveling to all corners of the map on assignments for Superclubs Resorts,  Jamaica Tourism and the like….

saju_diwh_columbus_0112web

This particular assignment was for Vista Print.    We were tasked with the mission to go to their international call center and photograph some of their most valued employees for a new customer service oriented campaign.    These are the people that man their call centers and are responsible for sales and customer relations and support.     Having a call center based in Jamaica is a bit out of the norm these days as most are hosted out of India.      The folks that work at this particular call center are a special bunch.    They all seem to genuinely love their jobs and it shows in the way they treat their customers.     Customer service is job one but it goes beyond that.   They have been known to develop ongoing relationships that go beyond what you would expect of even the best customer service employees.    One of these fine ladies actually had someone bring her cookies when she was taking a vacation to Jamaica with her family.    She tracked her down took time out of her vacation and brought her cookies!    Safe to say they are very likeable.

Because of that,  and the fact that they provide a quality product a very competitive prices,   Vista Print enjoys a large percentage of repeat and loyal customers.   The picture shown above is one of the many people we had the privilege of meeting and photographing.   Her name is Saju.   She had an amazing energy and was so pleased to be a star for a day for us.

Update from the Road – Part 2 Spring 2016

poppies

Hi there…   me again.    Thanks for coming back for Part 2 of my “Update from the Road”   Spring 2016 edition.   When we left off earlier this week I was recounting the various shoot projects from our stay here in Park City from the last couple months,  but that is just part of the story.      For those of you scratching your heads wondering “how the heck is this guy able to do this?”  I thought I’d share a little insight on what it takes to make it happen…   No I didn’t hit the lottery,   nor was I born with a silver spoon in my mouth.    Just good old hard work and careful planning & budgeting…

So what does it take keep this journey successful and profitable?   It is no different than if I were in my office back home in Florida.  Well it is different in that my view outside my office window is always different.   🙂

Wasaatch-Pano1BWweb

Day after day in between shoots and when we are not traveling,  I put in the long hours that feed the machine and do the things that make it all happen.  Like any small business owner I wear many hats….  The producer hat-   This entails countless days on the computer and the phone planning and producing our next project.    The retoucher hat-   There is a ton of post work from shoots past….  processing of images that need to be retouched, color graded and finished.    The marketer hat –   Once the images are finished comes the job of pushing these images out to the various portals such as online portfolios, websites, stock agencies,  social media,  getting new work to the reps and working on creating new marketing materials.   I’ve doubled down on my advertising budgets and am going heavy with my media buys this year.  We have just finished sending out our next three spreads in The Workbook for the book that comes out this fall.  Also we are going to be advertising in Communication Arts for the Photo Annual that comes out this summer.    I’m also very excited about the direct mail piece we are mailing now….  It is a 28 page 6.5 x 8 inch printed booklet of images from my American Worker Project  that is hot off the press at the printers and is mailing this week out to 3000 creatives and other clients across the country.    Click the image below to thumb through the booklet.

1

I also printed 5 hard cover books of images which are a Volume 1 of the American Worker Project…  That will serve as a supplement to my printed portfolios for in person showings.

book2

 

It Takes A Team:      Last but certainly not least are the people who support me…  All that I mention above is just part of what it takes run the biz…   I am fortunate to have a great team behind me and there is no way I could do all this without them.  My reps Blake and Glen at VISU are busy making the rounds with portfolio showings at advertising agencies all across the country from NY to Detroit,  Chicago and on to Minneapolis this month and they will show in the west from Dallas, on to LA,  San Francisco and Seattle later in the year.

tumblr_static_85m6u9m99ts00k4so8gkwwco4

 

I’ve also been working hard with my my marketing partners at Wonderful Machine getting some great press and establishing a ton of new contacts.   Working closely with Alex (pictured left and center below) we have implemented a whole new marketing plan….     She has been busy creating new,  targeted lists and then promoting to those people by sending out emails and working the phones,  getting people to look at the work and setting up meetings for me to show the work when we get to various cities around the country.

Meanwhile I’ve been working closely with my publicist Jessica  (also from WM – pictured on right below) to put together a press release announcing the work we are doing with my American Worker Project.    She then sent them out to a targeted list of about 40 photography trade publications and we have had a fantastic response from them.  To date we have had about 8 interviews and articles written about the project.    You can read some of them here.       Future plans are to broaden our reach to include various photo blogs and podcasts and outward to the advertising trades, consumer magazines and newspapers as well.3up

The proof is in the pudding:    Judging from the analytics that report activity on my website and blog, we are doing something right…  People seem to be liking what they are seeing.    Traffic on my website and blog over the last month has spiked as much as 15 times my normal daily traffic after some of the articles hit and my overall average has just about tripled on a day to day basis in since the articles ran.

The results of all this hard work:    It is very rewarding to see that all this work is leading to positive results….   The calls are coming in for bunches of cool projects.     Most of which I can’t give you the details of as we are under NDA’s.    But what I can tell you is  that we are up for a shoot with global reach for a beverage company shooting with an international sports star shooting in late June in Orlando.   I also had a call this morning for a job for AirBnB.

Jobs that have been awarded….  We have also had the good fortune to land a few really great gigs that are happening over the next two months…      One of these jobs is an awesome sports lifestyle oriented shoot with a large Pharmaceutical company that will have us shooting in the mountains of North Carolina early next month.

I am also extremely excited to be working on a project with a legend in the advertising industry, on some really exciting work for a Whiskey distiller.     This is an ongoing project that I will be shooting at various points in the upcoming month as we travel across the west from here in Park City on down through Monument Valley,   the Grand Canyon,  back through Sedona and then westward to California.    Should be some killer stuff that hopefully will catch the attention of the awards shows when finished.

Next week we are heading down to Jamaica for a quick job for Vista Print.   Should be cool,  it’s been a few years since I’ve shot in Jamaica.   Will be great to get back.

And last but not least,   getting back to what I mentioned earlier in Part 1,   I’ve just returned from Florida where we shot a tandem Print and TV shoot with Huffy Bikes alongside the talented director Ernie Mosteller of Fried Okra Entertainment.   Fun Stuff!!!

Huffybicycleslogo

Wrapping this up….     So that’s it for now.  Thanks for following along,  if you don’t already follow me on Instagram,  please do… my Instagram handle is @petebarrettphoto and is chock full of interesting shots from our adventures.

Don’t forget to check back in!!!  –  Stay tuned for more great adventures from the road in the coming months as we press on up the coast of California and north up the Pacific Coast Highway up through Big Sur,  Yosemite National Park,  through big sequoia country and northward through Oregon, Washington and hopefully British Columbia!

Park City Powder Cat Guides – The American Worker #8

JohnnyStairStepsV2This entry into The American Worker Series led me way up high to some of the very best back country skiing terrain available in the country.     I was very fortunate recently to have been invited to join the guides of Park City Powder Cats on the beautiful 1000 Peaks Ranch in the high Uinta Mountains  just east of Park City Utah for two days during a storm that dumped well over foot and a half of fresh powder on of some of the most epic terrain I have ever ridden.   Over the two days I met some amazing people and got some really great photos while getting access to some of the most epic skiing and snowboarding terrain one can find.    *Note-  Some of these images need to be seen large to really get enormity of the terrain…. click the image to see a larger version.PCPowdercats1394PCPowdercats1553For those of you that have not heard of back country Powder Cat skiing,  you don’t know what you have been missing.    Instead of skiing within the boundaries of a ski resort and being herded with the hoards and masses up ski lifts where you are lucky if you get one un-tracked line on a powder day,  you are instead being brought up a private mountain in a heated Powder Cat coach that delivers you and 9 or 10 other lucky skiers and snowboarders to the top of some of the best un-tracked terrain in the country.    At Park City Powder Cats they have over 43,000 acres of private land to choose from.   That is an area larger than Vail,  Aspen and Killington Mountains combined.    What that means is you can go for days and days and never have to ski over someone’s tracks if you choose not to.       We are talking HUGE bowls of steep and deep riding in some of the lightest and fluffiest powder I have ever experienced,  which says a lot as I have well over 20 years on the snow.

A warning though….  a few good days here will literally ruin your experience at even the very best ski resort out there.    It sets the benchmark way high and everything else pales by comparison.  🙂

CatOnPeak1 PCPowdercats1604v2sqSo epic skiing aside,  my reason for being here was to shoot the people that make it all happen at PCcats.     I wanted to document the hard working ski guides,  snow safety and drivers that take people out day after day into some of the most incredible,  (yet potentially dangerous) areas to feed their nonstop craving for fresh un-tracked powder.       Over our two day shoot I had the pleasure of shooting and riding with their amazing guides Johnny,  Jason, Chris and Nancy.     These folks have the best jobs in the world and they are very good at it.    Their ever present positive attitude is infectious.     Though I guess it would be easy to be positive given the venue in which they work!

PCPowdercats0456Sq PCPowdercats1802sq It’s not all just “atta boy’s and good jobs” though,  in addition to making sure people have a great time,  this hard working team’s most important job is one of making sure your experience is a safe one.   You have to remember that this is the back country and it can be extremely dangerous if you do not respect it and know what you are doing.  Avalance potential is ever present in the back country and it is paramount that you know what to do and not to do.   Every skiier is given an avalanche beacon and a safety briefing in the morning before leaving base camp.    Before each individual run,  they tell you exactly where to go, or (more importantly), where not to go to keep you safe.    The guides work very closely with their expert snow safety patrols.   Together they constantly assess the conditions and determine where their next run will be and exactly what parts of each peak will be not only the best run,  but also how to best approach these runs to get everyone down safely without incedent.PCPowdercats0371

PCPowdercats0865sqTheir snow safety team are constantly out on the various parts of the mountain during the day cutting new lines,  knocking down dangerous cornices and throwing the occasional explosive charge to help mitigate much of the avalanche risk.    They work hand in hand with the guides to help them to craft the perfect day for their guests and keep them out of harm’s way.PCPowdercats0952-2v3The image above shows snow safety patrollers Dave and Wes setting a charge to help shake loose any dangerous snow that might potentially be a problem to their guests.   This particular shot was from Day 1 of our shoot way up high around 11,000 feet on a seriously steep grade with a dangerous cornice during one of the only moments where the visibility was good and not a complete white out.    Nothing like heading out to the top of the world and throwing explosives, all in the name of safety!     They have to be on top of their game and have razor sharp focus as without what they do,  as the guides would have no way of knowing what each face is doing on that particular day without them.

 

PCPowdercats1815webThis is General Manager and head honcho Ron.    This guy is amazing.   He is quite literally everywhere doing every conceivable job you can think of… from helping coordinate guests, to running a cat up the mountain to groom the cat trails so that the drivers can get the guests to where they need to be, to shuttling people out on snowmobiles that need to get to different areas around the mountain, to coordinating with a production company filming a movie on property.  He does everything and all with a constant smile on his face!   With him running the show and his amazing “Can Do” attitude it is no surprise that he has such a well oiled and positive team.   Good management filters down through the ranks and it shows throughout their entire operation.

PCPowdercats0265Last but not least are their team of talented powder cat drivers.    Without these guys at the helm they wouldn’t be able to deliver their guests to these amazing spots.    Make no mistake, their job is not easy.    They have to be experts at what they are doing.  These are large, HEAVY pieces of machinery,  they do everything from crossing running ice cold river beds to climbing up super steep grades and chugging through giant snow drifts that can take 5 or 6 tries to get through.    There are many times on any given climb when you look out the window and realize you are motoring up a steep grade riding on only a tiny ridge line with no room to spare on either side, and thousand foot drops to your right and left.    These guys do it without breaking a sweat!!

If you are an advanced skiier and you’ve never done this before,   you owe it to yourself to save up and go out and do it at least once.     I guarantee when you leave, you will leave craving your next opportunity!     You can reach them here to book your next trip!!

PCcats-Basecamp-web