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, we were convinced that if everyone knew what we 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, we 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!

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Sports Illustrated/McDonalds- Jack Sock

We recently did few shoots for Sports Illustrated for an advertorial for McDonalds.     This first one was with pro tennis player Jack Sock.     The assignment was to take him out to a location with a “Florida feel”  and capture him in various action poses while dressed in his street clothes.     There was an accompanying interview article with Jack about his background and his quick rise to fame within the pro tennis world.

Jack was really great to work with.    He gave us his all despite it being quite hot on the beach and having to jump many times in jeans and a button down shirt.    In the end  it made for a nice shot.    This is one of my favorites from the shoot.   The magazine went with a slightly different angle where he was performing his signature serve.    This one feels a bit more dynamic to me.

Aqua Zumba

Just wrapped a quick second shoot for Zumba ZLife Magazine shooting their Aqua Zumba fitness in the pool.    If you haven’t tried it, you should, it’s a heck of a workout.    It was a fun shoot.   We started out above water with this shot (below) and when the rain moved in on us we weather proofed our strobes and went under water and did some fun shots below the surface.

 

Update:    While we were shooting this assignment the client had a video guy doing a little behind the scenes shoot.   Check it out here.

 

Zumba ZLife Magazine

And now for something completely different….    The other day we had the opportunity to do something that is a bit different for me.     We shot a fashion spread for Zumba’s  ZLife Magazine.     It has been a long time since I have shot fashion and I found the change to be refreshing and a lot of fun.    Here are a few images from the shoot.

Chumley makes the big time in National Geographic Magazine!

Ok, so his name is not Chumley…  it is actually Uquq… but I like the name Chumley…

Once again,  ‘ol Chumley is getting some serious press.    Just this month,  I had the honor of placing my photo of Uquq  in the March 2011 issue of  National Geographic Magazine in the Visions of Earth section!

Just because something’s easy to copy doesn’t mean it’s free.

Interesting Post By Steve Pigeon in Applied Arts Online.

Copyrights and Wrongsby Steve Pigeon

Just because something’s easy to copy doesn’t mean it’s free

This is a trick question: A designer is creating a website for a client. The designer cuts corners and copies some preview images from an online stock photo site, without paying for them (and without telling the client that the images were unlicensed). So, who is legally responsible when the copyright owner shows up demanding payment for the stolen images? If you guessed the designer who created the website and got paid for doing it, you would be wrong. Continue reading

On The Road To Success.


We did a shoot recently for MyBusiness Magazine. The story was of a young entrepreneur named Jay Shectman. He is a smart high school kid who started his own tutoring business and ended up turning it into a successful company with many young tutors working for him. When I met him he was already setting his sights on his next company. Pretty impressive to see someone so young who just “get’s it”.

On the road to success!