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!
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.”
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!
Well it has once again been a while since my last update from the road… So what have we been up to? Summer came and went by in a flash and it was probably the busiest summer I’ve had in 20 years. Since my last post we have been nonstop with one project after another. The last two months alone I’ve crisscrossed the country from corner to corner multiple times crossing the Mississippi 12 times for various projects. We’ve been to Arizona, California, Maine, North Carolina, Jamaica, Florida twice and back to Oregon on projects for Huffy Bikes, Merck Pharmacueticals, Miami Cancer Institute, Vista Print, High West Whiskey and Alaska Brewing. Most of these projects are still in post production or not yet released to the public so I can’t show them yet, but I’ll post them as soon as I am allowed.
It is hard to believe but it has been a full year since we first left on our journey across the country. It has been a whirlwind trip so far and we have no plans to stop for the foreseeable future. To date we have logged close to 16,000 driving miles and I’ve flown well over 30,000 miles on various jobs that happened over the last year as well. See our Google MyMap to see where we have been.
It’s been the experience of a lifetime…. we have been to some amazing places and met some really great people along the way not to mention shooting a zillion photos. I have to thank my wife for pushing me to do this as if it weren’t for her persistence we never would have left on this trip and the opportunities and projects that have come from it probably never would have happened. My American Worker Project took off with a bang and continues to garner great exposure. Back in July we shot hot air ballooning in Sedona Arizona and most recently I shot in the Firestone Walker Brewery in their wooden barrel aging plant. A few new proposed shoots to continue the project include potential shoots with the US Coastguard training at Cape Disappointment in Washington and also shooting with the brave men and women who fight the wild fires out that have been raging throughout California this summer. We have also been shooting a ton of travel related subjects featuring the many amazing locations we have had the pleasure of visiting.
Some of the best and most epic locations we had the pleasure of visiting included Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Yosemite National Park. We took advantage of all these locations for the High West Whiskey project which is currently in post production and creative stages with the ad agency. I am very excited about the images we have created here and can’t wait to share them with you. For now these teasers from my Instagram will have to do.
As we steam headlong into fall things are continuing to look good as we are being considered for assignments and image uses for various projects for Chase Bank, STP, Fidelity Investments, and Orvis Fishing. Fingers and toes crossed on these as they look to be some really cool projects!
Stay tuned for future adventures as our fall calendar is packed with travel to Washington, up into BC Canada, (around Vancouver up near Whistler) and returning back down through Oregon… With later plans taking us back into California, Utah and Colorado over the winter.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂