The American Worker Project: Patti Dunn- TChoup Industries

tchoup01

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.

tchoup02

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.

tchoup03

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
tchoup06

Update from the Road – Part 1… Spring 2016

IMG_3155

Well it’s been a while since my last “Update from the Road” and time has just been flying by!     When I last left you we were on our way to Park City, Utah to catch the tail end of the snow season with plans to shoot a bunch of winter and mountain adventure sports.      Today is the 6th of May & I’m typing this on a plane returning to Utah from a job we just shot in Orlando, (more on that later)  & reflecting on the last couple months.   Once again, our time here seems like a blur.

So much has happened….      If you’ve been keeping up with my blog entries,  you read about my shoot with Park City PowderCats.   If not you haven’t had the chance to read and see the photos yet,  you can read about it here.    It was such an amazing couple of days on some of the best snow imaginable, making some really cool images images and I also had the opportunity to meet some really great people.

We also shot with RAMP Sports which is a really cool ski and snowboard manufacturing company based right here in Park City Utah.    They have a very unique culture and make awesome hand made skis & snowboards using a very Earth friendly sustainable process using bamboo as a base.  All their products are not only green but they are also certified “Made In America”  as they are hand made right there in their shop.     I spent the day shooting a bunch of their employees at work and captured the various stages of the process of making these killer skis & boards.   Later that week I spent the morning skiing up high at The Canyons,  shooting their CEO Mike on one of the last powder days before the closing of Park City for the season.    I’ll post the images here on the blog as soon as I get the all clear from RAMP as some of the shots are proprietary in nature.   In the meantime,  here is a little teaser of one of the guys grinding the edges on a snowboard.

RAMPsports0532v2

It’s different up here…   It’s interesting being in a resort ski town and seeing the changes that occur after the resorts start to close.     The days are warm, the grass gets green & leaves start budding and flowering on the trees… which in itself is just like anywhere else in the spring I guess, but with one major difference…  While the lower elevations warm up quick and soon resemble spring,  it is still cold up high on the peaks.  Often times it will be warm and sunny and you look up at the mountains and they are covered in clouds….  Cold and clouds means SNOW!   That’s right,  there is still fresh snow up at 10,000 feet and higher and folks are still hiking and snowmobiling in and doing back country ski tours.    Just this past weekend Snowbird,  (where we shot last week) got 19 inches of snow over 2&1/2 days.     You’d never know spring has sprung there…. yet 15 minutes down the valley the sun was shining and it was a beautiful 60 degree day.

color snow mtn
Spring has sprung!     So as time presses on it would seem spring is here to stay.    As things in the lower elevations are warming up you start seeing people switching gears.   The snow toys get put away and out come the summer toys and along with them,  the road cyclists, mountain bikers, golfers and fishermen.  You know what that means?   Summer is right around the corner!!

We teamed up with fly fishing guide Joe Mitchell of Stony Brook Fly Fishing recently to shoot some cool fly fishing stuff on the lower Provo River just south of the Jordanelle Reservoir dam.   With the increased snow melt streaming down the mountains the rivers are running cold and fast and the fishing is great.     Up and down the rivers fishermen and women are out doing their best to catch their fill of the various fish that inhabit these waters.   I hope to be getting back out to get more of this tomorrow before pulling out of Park City to continue our journey.   I’ll be posting images soon from these shoots so stay tuned!    For now,   here’s a little teaser.

FlyfishUtah1_274_3a

Meanwhile back at the office….      The nice thing about being here for an extended period is we have been able to take the necessary time to shift into a different gear and hunker down and do the all important job of marketing.    As any photographer will tell you,   while we would all love to be shooting all the time,  most of our time is spent feeding the machine and beating our own drum doing the various things that we do to keep the work coming in.  After all,   if all you did was travel and shoot photos,  but never put in the hard but necessary work of getting it out there to the right people to see,   the proverbial well would run dry pretty quickly.    Then you are no longer a photographer and his family on an amazing photo journey but just a dude in a trailer who can’t afford to go anywhere.  or even worse…  a guy “living in a van down by the river!”   – Chris Farley.

Well,  the flight attendants are telling us we need to prepare for landing which is my cue to bring this post to a close.   We have lots of other news and information to share so the next post will likely be just around the corner.    Tune in next time… (later this week) when I talk about what it takes to make a journey like this not only possible but profitable.  I’ll be sharing some details about marketing & promotion and the results we are seeing from all our efforts.

So as they say in Germany…   “All feet are the same!”

*Update…. what the heck does that mean?  Why is he talking about Germany and feet?Sorry…  Bad language joke: if you say “All feet are the same” in just the right way, it sounds sorta like Auf Wiedersehen (German for Goodbye) & that is exactly what I am doing!   🙂

 

 

American Worker Project features in the Press…

So our American Worker Project has been enjoying some very nice Press lately.     With articles being posted online on APhotoEditor,   The Huffington Post,   Creative BoomAmerican Photography,  Popular Photography and The Phoblographer as well as the many news feeds that feed off of each of those publications,  it has been garnering lots of attention.    Click each of the links above to see the individual articles.

PressThe exposure and response from these articles has been fantastic.     More and more people are starting to follow along on Instagram  (you can follow here)  and the analytics show that traffic on my website and blog have exploded with about 15 times more hits than the normal average.    Plus, we have had several requests for the portfolio and a bunch of recent bid requests for a really nice job for a national campaign for a multinational Electronics and Appliance manufacturer and also a campaign for a large investment firm to shoot in California next month.    Fingers crossed on these!!  🙂   Thanks to everyone for following along and stay tuned as we have lots more great imagery planned in the months coming…

*Update:    We have also just booked great job for a global campaign for a large Pharmaceutical company based on our efforts!  Shooting early next month.   🙂   🙂   🙂

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

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.

Wasaatch-Pano1BWweb

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’.

Chattahoochee

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.

montage

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

IMG_0799

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.

oakalley slave

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!!

Fishing Guide & Conservationist – The American Worker Project #3

KennebecFishing0056

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!

KennebecFishing0956bv2 KennebecFishing1464sq KennebecFishing2056 KennebecFishing2492 KennebecFishing2734F KennebecFishing0206KennebecFishing2964a

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!
Lobstah08Lobstah09 Lobstah07Lobstah03Lobstah02

Hammond Lumber Company

HammondFinal01

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.

HammondFinal03HammondFinal04HammondFinal11HammondFinal05HammondFinal06 HammondFinal12HammondFinal21HammondFinal14HammondFinal15HammondFinal25

Road Trip Anyone?

All sorts of new and exciting things happening in the Barrett Camp these days!     We have been busier than ever with a new extended ongoing travel project.    Some of you may already be following us on our adventure, via Facebook and Instagram (follow me on Instagram @petebarrettphoto) but for the rest of you that don’t yet know,  here’s what we’re up to…

Hit the roadIt’s no secret that I love to travel and I am fortunate that I have a great career that very often finds me traveling to shoot photos for great clients all across the country as well as elsewhere in the world.    My wife also shares that passion for travel and several years ago she planted the seed for an idea of getting an RV and traveling all over the country with the family.    Something everyone would love to do at one point in their lives but for someone with a busy career and a family,  it seemed like a “pie in the sky” idea to me at first.    I have to credit her with being persistent and the more I considered it the more it started sounding not only do-able but also an amazing opportunity to shoot a TON of new work all over the country which also goes a long way toward giving me new and exciting things to promote for new upcoming assignment work.

Continue reading