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.”

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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!

 

Winterberry Farm – American Worker Project #6

Earlier this fall,   I had the opportunity to shoot at Winterberry Farm as part of my American Worker Project.

WinterberryBlog02WinterberryBlog01Located in the heart of the Belgrade Lakes Region in Belgrade, Maine, Winterberry Farm is a small, diversified certified organic farm set on forty acres of open fields, pastures and woodland.      It is owned by a very nice and hard working family.    Mary Perry is the owner, and she along with her 3 kids, (Kenya,  Gil and Sage) run the farm.    As anyone can imagine,  running a farm is hard work but doing it on your own with just your 3 kids (Kenya is actually off to college now) is very hard work.  Did I mention that they don’t use machinery to tend the fields?    Instead they have 2 very stout oxen that do the heavy lifting.   Regardless, hard or not,  to look at them you just know that they love it.           For more on the family and their farm, see their website here here.

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Only fifteen minutes from Augusta and Waterville, it boasts an 1870’s Victorian farmhouse, a shaker-built barn, lush gardens, and the Winterberry Farm Farmstore where they sell some of Maine’s finest all-natural and certified organic foods.

Their mission is to create a sense of community and belonging by offering wholesome food and flowers and to restore old-fashioned values by inviting people to come and experience life the way it used to be, on their animal powered farm.

Their commitment to sustainable agriculture allows us to produce abundant food and flowers without depleting resources or polluting the environment.

Their certified organic food is produced specifically with families in mind, to ensure the health of our children and the land on which they are raised.

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Summertime Fun!

Well summer is finally here and let the fun begin!    Schools are out and it is time for kids everywhere to get out and enjoy all the things that kids get to do in the summer.    As many of you know every summer we move our base of operations to Maine to the quaint little town of Belgrade Lakes.      See the enclosed link to see some of the fun stuff we shot last summer and featured in a recent direct mail piece that went out to about 3,500 creatives at advertising agencies and client direct clients around the country.     Click here  or on the image below to see the mailer 

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This year we are looking forward to doing more great stuff.     Shooting several new projects both in video and stills of everything from a beverage project of teens enjoying a day of rope swinging at the lake, to a video project of a grandpa and grandson out fishing and other fun lifestyle scenarios.    I am also planning to start a personal series documenting real people such as river rafting guides, fishing guides,  boat builders,  commercial lobstermen and other local flavor.

I am looking to collaborate with as many people as I can on these projects so if you are a creative person or someone in the industry such as crew or talent or just want to come out and lend a hand and learn how we do what we do,  give me a call at 305/557-0694 or drop me an email at   barrett@petebarrett.com

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Microsoft In Education global print campaign – #1

We recently had the opportunity to shoot the “Microsoft In Education” global print campaign.    It was an awesome gig which had us creating 45 shots over the course of a fast paced 3 day shoot.   Talent on the shoot ranged from young grade school kids up through collegiate age students and teachers.   All in all the production from casting,  scouting, prepro,  shoot and post lasted just over 2 & 1/2 weeks.   The Microsoft in Education program is a program that gives computers and software technology to schools around the world so that students of all ages can learn and grow.    Working with an awesome team we were able to create a large amount of quality images in a short amount of time.    Thanks go to our awesome clients at Microsoft,  NHS and FCB.    I wish all clients were as great to work with!   Also could not have done it without my amazing crew!    Here are a few of the first shots of some of the older students.    More to come…..

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Shooting with the Moose and Pure Protein

Just wrapped an awesome shoot with St Louis based Moosylvania and Pure Protein!   We spent the better part of a week in production shooting a series of 5 print ads and 5 commercials for Pure Protein to be released in the coming months.     I can’t show anything just yet but we did some killer stuff!   Shooting all sports and active lifestyle.    Great clients and a fantastic crew,   Thanks everyone!   Images and footage to come as soon as I can show them.