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!

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!

 

The American Worker Project: Patti Dunn- TChoup Industries

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My most recent addition to my American Worker Project takes us down south to New Orleans, Louisiana where I had the opportunity to photograph Patti Dunn,   owner and lead designer for a very cool company called Tchoup Industries.   Patti is a ten year veteran pack and luggage designer in the outdoor industry and now operates a small store in New Orleans where she and a small team of local New Orleans residents,  manufactures and sells her cool custom hand made shoulder bags, backpacks and other accessories.

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All the bags and other products produced by Tchoup (pronounced CHOP) are done so by hand, right here in New Orleans using sustainable locally sourced materials.    Some of these natural materials include nutria fur and alligator leathers as well as recycled materials such as webbing strap that has been rejected by the auto industry, repurposed rice bags, discarded wool curtains,  irreparable boat sails, and more. They proudly to turn these materials into functional bags and accessories, instead of letting them go to waste in overcrowded landfills.

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If you are looking for a unique gift for someone special or maybe even something for yourself,  head on over to her website and see the many cool bags and other products they make!   tchoup04 tchoup05
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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

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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….

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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.

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!!

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Update from the road…Winter Edition – Part 1.

desert runWell it has been a while since I’ve posted a summary update from the road.     So much has happened since I last updated you back in late November I’m going to have to break this up into several posts.

As I reflect back on the whirlwind of the last few months I must take a moment to appreciate the view out my side window of my office in the back of our rig.     Today we find ourselves just outside of Park City Utah with a killer view of the snow capped Wassatch mountain range right out my side window.    It’s the kind of view that makes it hard to get work done as the mountains call to you.  Below is an image I made of this view just this morning.   Last night as I started writing this blog entry there was a soft pastel blue and pink sunset going on as the remnants of a 3 day storm that left the mountain with just over two feet of fresh powder started to break up and leave the area.    The next few days promise to be gorgeous blue bird days…  perfect weather for making some great images and harvesting the hidden powder in the back country behind the resorts.  But enough about that for now,   I’ll get back to the present day later in post #2.

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So what have we been up to here in the Barrett camp since Fall?   Where do I start?   The end of November and first week of December brought a few assignments that had me back in Florida shooting.     Because of these assignments and a schedule that required we be back in South FL at a pre determined point,   we had to skip over two locations that I really wanted to shoot.   One was The Outer Banks in North Carolina and the other was in West Virginia where I was to shoot coal miners for the American Worker Project.    A disappointment, but work is work and we’ll just have to circle back around another time to do these shots.

The rest of December and the first half of January was a blur as we found ourselves back in our home base of  South Florida.     We spent some much needed down time decompressing, visiting friends & family,  doing the holiday thing and working in the office doing post production work on all the images I’d shot in the past few months.    We also took a few weeks to explore other areas of our home state on the west coast from Naples,  up through St Pete and on up to the Panhandle.

SunriseAt this point our schedule demanded we hit the road as we had many miles and stops to make before getting here to Park City to capture the last months of the snow season.    Our first stop was more of a tourist/photo opportunity to visit the underground caverns (who knew Florida had caverns?) and explore the swampy bayou  ‘way down yonder by the Chattahoochee’.

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From there we spent a little over a week in the Big Easy… New Orleans, LA.    By then it was the beginnings of Mardi Gras so as you can imagine the town was abustle with tons of activity.   Parades happening daily all over the city and people having a great time celebrating.      I made some great connections to shoot  through some contacts at Peter Mayer Advertising,  who I had recently worked with, and also through the local tourism office.     New Orleans is a hot bed of creative artists and craftsmen and I jumped at the opportunity to shoot several of them for my American Worker Series (I’ve posted a few teasers from these 4 shoots here but I will be posting the real images soon!!)     We shot with Alex Gernier of Doorman Designs.   Alex makes furniture using reclaimed wood from the old houses of New Orleans destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.      Next came a shoot with Ben Dombey who is a glass blower who hand blows these amazing glass drinking glasses.    Each of them are unique in their own individual way and custom embossed with locally inspired items stamped in the base.    See Ben’s work here.       I also got the opportunity to shoot with Patti Dunn of Tchoup Industries.    Patti and her partner make these amazing hand made bags and backpacks.  You can visit her shop here to see their work.     While wandering through the French Quarter one day,  I stumbled upon the coolest little shop,  (The Bevolo Gas & Electric Light Museum) where they hand make old fashion style gas lanterns.    I talked to two of the craftsmen as they were building their lamps and ended up shooting them for my project as well.

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I also shot a ton of the local street musicians and in a few of the bars.   That is one thing that really stands out about New Orleans to me is the amount of musical talent that is everywhere.IMG_0802 copy2

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We wrapped up our Louisiana leg with a quick trip to Oak Alley Plantation.   Oak Alley is an old cotton plantation rich with history.    Once run completely by slave labor,  Oak Alley is still a working farm today but the home is historical landmark and run as a museum.  You may have seen it in several movies.

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From here we set out through Texas, New Mexico,  into Arizona and then on to Utah.   But that is a story for another evening….    Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Winter/Spring update from the road coming in a few days!!

Surfing Pioneer & Surf Shop Owner – The American Worker Project #5

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Heading on down the coast to Newport,  Rhode Island I met up and photographed my next subject for The American Worker Project.   His name is Sid Abbruzzi.    Sid is one of the early pioneers of East Coast Surfing and has owned an operated Water Brothers Surfing Company since 1971 making it the longest operating Surf Shop in New England.     During my brief visit with Sid I was treated to a virtual history of New England East Coast Surfing as Sid shared story after story with me about his life.    He is a super cool guy and has a ton of stories to share.      It just so happens that this very weekend on January 16th Sid is being inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame under the Pioneers of Surfing category.    Congrats to you Sid!!

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Sid is well known in the surf and skating world as one of the earliest pioneers of surfing.   He’s traveled the world surfing,  has rubbed elbows and is a friend with many surf and skating legends like Kelly Slater and Tony Hawk.     Starting back in the 6o’s he and a group of surfers travel far and wide looking for the perfect wave.   The late 60’s and early 70’s were a weird time in surfing.  After Vietnam many people had stopped surfing and the industry lacked direction as people tried to figure out if surfing was just a dying fad or was it something that could endure and evolve.

He ended up back in Newport and in 1971 he opened Water Brothers Surf Company in an old shack right on the beach in what was then, a derelict end of Newport Beach on a private beach called Seven Seas Beach.   Based on a handshake verbal agreement with the owner of the shack, he was able to lease the building for $300 a year until the land sold.   $300 a year!  for Newport Beach!     Well they had a pretty good run there until 1993 when someone bought the property and forced them to find a new location.   Sid describes those 21 years as “the wild west of east coast surfing”.   They were forced to find a direction and that they did…. They basically made up the rules as they went along,  did what ever they wanted and had a ball doing it.    In addition to surfing,  they also built large vert ramps for skating right next to the shop,   right on the beach.    During the 70’s & 80’s Water Brothers was THE place to be if you were a surfer or skater in the New England area.     SidAbbruzzi_07From there Sid moved his shop into a much larger space and opened was was to be the largest indoor skate park in the US.     This park is actually featured in one of Tony Hawk’s video games as a park you can skate within the game.     Over the years that location changed hands after a partnership turned sour and Sid eventually ended up in what is now his current location.   The shop as it stands now is a wonderful space and is like a museum of east coast surfing history.   The walls and ceilings are covered with memorabilia from a rich life in the surf industry and Sid is like a tour guide,  with a story to tell about each individual piece of history that surround his store.

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One story that stood out to me was how Sid actually saved one of Newport’s most coveted surf spots,  Ruggles Beach….  TWICE.      The first time was when he fought against city government officials who tried to outlaw surfing at the prime surfing spot.    He campaigned against the new law and won and was able to make a public park out of the area where everyone can enjoy it’s beauty and killer wave break.      The second time was when a developer had gotten approval to install a huge rock jetty at Ruggles that would have basically not only ruined the break but would have been an ecological disaster,  killing the ocean life and changing currents that could change the structure of the shore line forever.     Sid organized many people to campaign against this impending injustice and saved Ruggles Beach a second time.

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You can follow Sid on Instagram  @waterbrothers 

The Sheet Metal Man – The American Worker Installment #4

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For my 4th addition to The American Worker Project I decided to include a local icon in my home town of Belgrade Lakes Maine.    His name is John Gawler and he is another person that no matter when you see him,  he always greets you with a warm smile.    He is one of these guys who you’d be hard pressed to find someone who had something negative to say about him…  a genuinely good person.  

For most of his life John has made his living working in sheet metal which means he works a lot fabricating and installing people’s roofs, making metal chimneys, metal flashings and other things of that nature.   Over the years he has worked on pretty much everything from roofs for the locals to high profile jobs for people like Oscar De La Renta doing custom copper work on his New England home.   One might imagine that being a roofer in Maine can be tough especially in the winter months but you’d never know it talking to John…. he’s been doing it since he was 17 years old and seems to love every minute of it.   Ask him and he will tell you that he has always loved being outdoors and being up high, even as a kid he was always up high in a tree somewhere.

In addition to being a damn fine roofer,   John (and his whole immediate family) are extremely talented musicians and entertainers.    When I was a kid I remember they used to throw a folk festival called “The Buttermilk Hill Festival”  up on their farm every year. Today they regularly perform and play concerts for many of the local community events and elsewhere around the state.   They even have a few cd’s with their music on them.     But that is yet another story for another day….

 

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If you like what you see here,   please follow me on Instagram  @PeteBarrettPhoto to keep up with where we are in the world and what projects we are shooting.

Fishing Guide & Conservationist – The American Worker Project #3

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For my 3rd installment into The American Worker Project I chose to shoot long time Maine fishing guide Mike Guarino of Maine Wilderness Tours.  (Mike is the one in red)    I first met Mike back in 1998 on a stock photo shoot I did back in my Sharpshooters days.    I’ve seen him a bunch of times over the years and it occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a smile on his face.    He one of those guys that not only loves what he does for a living but generally seems to really enjoy life itself.     He does have a pretty good gig though,  there are worse jobs than going out in the great outdoors and fishing everyday.  😉

When I approached Mike this time with the idea of including him in The American Worker Project he was instantly on board.     He even recruited fellow angler Dr Peter Kallin to join us on this chilly fall morning to go out and create some great fishing stills and video.

Peter is not only a great fisherman subject but is also an avid conservationist.     In addition to a long career,   Peter is the Executive Director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance where he works tirelessly to help monitor and control the quality of the watershed in Maine’s most important resource,  its lakes.

Enjoy the images below.   I will be posting some video as well at a later date.   Stay tuned!

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Lobster Fishing- The American Worker Project #2

Lobstah10 My second installment into The American Worker Project brought me Down East to the coast of Maine in a little place called Brooklin Maine.    Specifically the waters off of Eggemoggin Reach just a few miles south of Mount Desert Island, but a seemingly miles away from all the crowds and tourists that one encounters when touring Acadia.

I was introduced to my new lobstering friends,  Patrick and his sister Sharlene Grant, by our new friend and host Laurie, of Ocean Front Camping of Reach Knolls in Brooklin.      Laurie and her husband Paul were amazing hosts and also a wealth of knowledge in assisting me with setting up several of my shoots.   But that is a story for another post….  Stay tuned.

Getting back to my exciting day of lobstering….   Here are a few more photos from that cold morning on the water.     Scroll down below the following photos for more info on my hard working subjects Patrick and Sharlene.

Lobstah13Lobstah05Lobstah04Lobstah12Lobstah16We started out our morning early at the crack of dawn,  what turned out to be a late start compared to their normal days.   After boarding their boat and loading up the day’s bait, we had a quick discussion about what we were going to shoot and how I can get the best shots without ending up in their way or over the side of the boat.  😉   I couldn’t have asked for better subjects.  They  were super nice and gave me free reign on their boat to shoot whatever I wanted.   

Patrick and Sharlene are second generation lobster fishermen.    Both started out at a very early age just as their father before them.   Sharlene worked the boats off and on over the years and took time every summer to fish alongside her brother and her dad.   Patrick has followed in his dads footsteps and has hardly missed a day on the water in over 30 years.    It is hard work, but when you talk with them you see that they really love it.    You would have to love it to get out on some of the cold mornings…    😉   It was a blustery 29 degrees Fahrenheit the day we went out.    Fortunately the sun was out.   I can only imagine what it must be like when it is cold and blowing with rain added in on top of that.

The job of a commercial lobsterman is hard.   You work really long hours,  get up super early and head out to search for your bouys in a sea of what seems like millions of bouys. This task of finding your traps (or Pots) has been simplified somewhat with the invention of the GPS but finding them and hauling them in is still an arduous task.    Patrick captains the boat and snags and hauls in the traps while Sharlene preps the bait and does all the measuring, banding and sorting of the keepers vs the rejects.    Then Patrick drops the pots and the process is repeated about a zillion times.    All the while being soaked with freezing cold water.   Simple right?  😉   Watching them work was something else,   they are like a well oiled machine.      One of the highlights of the day was when Sharlene pulled in a pot that at first glance only had two lobsters in it… upon further inspection it turned out to be one lobster that had shed its shell and left a perfectly preserved shell of its former self right next to it.    A pretty rare find,  even for a seasoned pro.

All in all we had a pretty good day.   While it started out slow,   it picked up about mid morning.   Patrick joked that it seemed like every time I would switch from stills to video  we seemed to bring in lots more pots full with lobsters.    Sounds like a joke but it literally happened like that 3 times in a row.   Stay tuned for an update with our video we shot that day.  In the end we went back in to port with about 4oo+ pounds of lobster.    Which is a pretty good haul for about 1/2 days worth of  lobstering at the end of the season.

At the end of the day they sent me home with a giant bucket of lobsters and a few crabs and my family and I had the feast of our lives!    Thanks so much to them both for making me feel welcome and for being such great subjects!
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Hammond Lumber Company

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As I recently posted,   I have begun my new series,  The American Worker Project which will be an ongoing project as we travel around the country,  documenting the American Worker.      I chose to start this adventure and visual assignment in my home town in Belgrade Maine.      As many of you know I grew up in Maine and it is where we spend the better portion of each summer for the last 14 years when not off on assignment somewhere.

I figure what better place to start than the area you know best.      I chose Hammond Lumber Company because it is a classic example of a good old fashioned family business with its heart and soul wrapped firmly in the people that work there.    That and it helps that it helps that helps I am also good friends from back in our childhood days with one of the principles of the company.

Hammond Lumber is a company that was started back in the early 50’s by Skip Hammond with only $50 and a dream.     It has been a staple in the town and now around the entire state of Maine ever since.      For over 60 years they have grown from a small mill with 3 employees including Skip himself to a large company with 13 stores and counting with many many loyal employees,  many of whom have worked there for 20 – 30 years or more.      Hammond Lumber is one of those special kind of businesses where you  know you are much more to them than just a number.    They offer personal service that is rare these days,   all at a fair price.

I’d like to thank Mike Hammond and the other great folks at Hammond for giving me cart blanche and basically unrestricted access to film in their main saw mill.    Over the coarse of 3 days we shot a ton of video footage and stills of their hard working employees.

Here are just a few images from the shoot.     Click here or on any of the images to see a larger gallery of images posted to my website.

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Beginning The American Worker Project.

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Well at long last after hunkering down over the holidays we are able to post the first of many shoots to come for my new ongoing project called “The American Worker Project”. As we are traveling around the country we are getting the opportunity to meet and shoot all sorts of new people and things.     The American Worker Project is a way to visually feature and document (both on video and stills) some of the wonderful people we are meeting along our journey.   So far we have had the great pleasure to shoot in a lumber yard in Maine,  lobster fishermen on a lobster boat,    a man who hand makes wooden boats and also carves wooden boat models,  an old friend and metal roof man,  the owner of the oldest surf shop in New England,   Amish dairy farmers,  a train engineer and much more.   Here are a few images of the first of many to come.   Stay tuned….

UPDATE:   Added more shots from new shoots,  see below…

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Flashes of Hope

logo-1I was recently asked to shoot for a really good cause for a program called “Flashes of Hope”     This is a program where photographers donate their time and services to photograph young cancer pediatric patients and their families to help in the fight against childhood cancer.     It is a fantastic program that raises money for cancer research for kids and also gives the kids and their parents a nice experience of being a star for a day and the parents receive a lasting memory of their child to cherish.    Special thanks go to my assistant Abdiel Thorne and my make up artist Candace Wessinger who also generously donated their time for such a worthy cause.

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