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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Color Vibe Coke

So my most recent lifestyle portfolio project is one that is all about color and energy.  Back about a year ago, I was shooting at the Color Vibe 5K run and got some good images but thought that it would be even better to come back, and this time bring a handful of young models along with me to recreate the scene, but with a bit more control. This way I could provide them with direction and guide the energy the way I truly wanted it. It also gave me an opportunity to throw in some products and skew it a little more toward the commercial side so that it’s appropriate for my potential clients.  This one ended up targeted toward Coke, as I and my reps have had several RFP’s and estimates this year for several large Coke projects, both for national and international campaigns. We’re actually up for two more as we speak.  (fingers crossed!)   The idea for this latest project was inspired by the traditional spring Holi festival.   See below and more images to follow:ColorVibe2015_018

The inspiration for this event was of course the Holi Festival.   It started as a celebration of the victory of the good over the bad and the beginning of the spring in India. It also happens to be super fun and has evolved into events ranging from private parties to festivals. People have just taken the idea and run with it, which has turned into a fun thing to do.
In this case, we used a Color Vibe 5K Run as our backdrop so that we could get the depth and volume of people to add to our background. Having shot the event last year, I knew there were going to be thousands of people there covered in color and getting crazy in the after-party of the run.  I just brought in seven of my own millennial, ‘twenty-something’ models, our own giant box of multicolored powder and put them in the middle of the masses and directed them to have a great time. They kept throwing color and dancing to the music of the DJ that the venue had on the main stage. The models were awesome and really had a fun time with it.
I am planning a follow up to take this project one step further, shooting a motion version, all in variable speeds ramping from normal speed to extreme slow mo. The inspiration for this (more for the effect of the powder not the actual subject) is a great video on Vimeo that the folks at Variable did https://vimeo.com/40123818   I’ll be sure to share the results once we shoot it!”ColorVibe2015_148vFINALvertColorVibe2015_153ColorVibe2015_159v1ColorVibe2015_198

Heli Shot over the Everglades

Did some heli work shooting Airboats in the Everglades the other day for VISIT FLORIDA shooting stills for a print and for a TV campaign. Here’s a series of production stills of us making a low pass over the airboat shooting for TV.

Gotta give props to our PJ pilot from Cameracopters! Those guys know how to fly. Earlier in the day we were hovering over a 38 foot cabin cruiser on the ocean going about 40 miles per hour and we were so close I got hit by some of the bow spray from the boat!
Fun Stuff!

VISIT FLORIDA!


‘Tis the season for Tourism.    Just finished two weeks of Prepro and starting a week and a half of shooting for VISIT FLORIDA this week shooting with our friends at Alma DDB.   Shooting for print and TV commercials.    Great stuff!   Shooting all over Florida.    Should be a fantastic shoot.    Will post images as soon as I can release them!
Update:  The first ads are out now.   See them here