Update From The Road. Winter Edition – Part 2


Last time on my “Update from the Road”, we had just left The Big Easy  –  New Orleans Louisiana.    We left town  just as Mardi Gras was reaching it’s fever pitch.    Just in time it would seem,  as we got to enjoy some of the mayhem and see a ton of parades but before the entire town shuts down and everything comes to a standstill while everyone parties at max levels.    We had work to do,  so off we went.     This time,  we headed north to Northern Louisiana/Texas Bayou country on a quest to meet some interesting back woods bayou fishing guides.

After getting a recommendation that Caddo Lake in the little town of Uncertain, Texas was the place to go to find such a person, we met Billy Carter.   Billy is the owner and proprietor of Johnson’s Landing Marina.   We had a great shoot with Billy touring the swamps around Caddo Lake.   Below is a few sample images from that shoot.   In case you missed it, I blogged earlier this month with a more in depth look at this shoot and info on Billy and the historic town of Uncertain, TX  Click Here to see this blog entry.


While we were there we also had the opportunity to shoot with a local legend in the area, who is simply known as Mr. Henry.   Mr. Henry was quite a character…  At almost 80 years old, he is the oldest bayou fisherman in the area.  He has spent most of his life fishing the waters around Lake Caddo fishing primarily for crappie.   He’s definitely one-of-a-kind.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  Here’s a quick teaser image but please stay tuned on my blog as I will be showing more of his pictures in the coming week.

CrappieFishermanV2webAfter leaving Uncertain we headed West….   The following days turned out to be very eventful as we crossed the great state of Texas.   We had the good fortune of being contacted a week prior by an ad agency client of mine who heard that I was going to be in the area.  They had a shoot they needed to get done for a major energy client of theirs and    asked “if I would be interested in shooting in Texas while we were there?”   Well of course the answer was yes, and as such we jumped at the opportunity to quickly pull together a stellar crew out of Dallas to do a quick shoot “Deep in the Heart of Texas” in the giant wind farms that dot the countryside of this huge state.    The initial use for these photos is internal but plans are that they will become part of an ongoing ad campaign that will be released later this year.   As with most advertising assignments,  I cannot divulge the client name or show any of the photos that we took until they have been released to the public.     So at least for now, you will just have to use your imagination…  🙂

However, I am allowed to say that we shot giant windmills and it was super cool!   I  know,  it’s not much,  but here’s a quick teaser shot I can show…


These things go on for miles and miles… Hundreds and hundreds of them.   If you’ve never seen one up close… well let’s just say they dwarf you.    To say they are impressive is an understatement.   They are absolutely massive.  Standing at over 300 feet tall,   each one has three giant blades, (each weighing almost 20 tons) that are constantly spinning as the wind blows.   Each of these tall windmills is capable of producing upwards of 3.6 megawatts or enough power to light up 3000 homes.   That is a whole lot of power.

From there we pushed on through to new Mexico where we did a quick overnight Boondock in the strange little town of Roswell New Mexico.   For those who don’t know,   Roswell is famous for its claim to have an abundance of alien and UFO activity.     Everywhere you go in this town there are little green men and UFOs.


From here our little wagon train pressed on westward to White Sands National Park to shoot some new personal work of the amazing landscape,  and also to do some car photography for the portfolio.    If you never been there,  I highly recommend it… it’s quite a sight to see.     Giant white sand dunes made up of the finest sugar sand you’ve ever seen,  that go on for miles and miles.  It is strange to see them in the middle of a giant desert plain.  The thought of “where the heck did these come from?” crosses your mind.  Upon educating yourself to local geological history, you find that they are a natural occurrence from millions and millions of years of erosion washing gypsum from the nearby mountains followed by the strong prevailing southwesterly winds that blow across the valley floor pushing the sand up onto itself forming these huge dunes.     They are quite unique as they are the only pure white sands dunes found anywhere on earth.


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Our next stop on the map found us in Sedona Arizona for a week enjoying the sights, hiking and the serenity of the red rock formations.    Here we did a bunch of shooting for stock, social media and the travel book.   I also began scouting & brainstorming for a shoot for my American Worker Project that we will be returning to shoot later this spring.   If all goes well and we can arrange it,  I hope to shoot a person who owns and operates his own hot air balloon company that runs tours over the picturesque area of Sedona.   Stay tuned for photos on that one… should be cool!   Here is a quick teaser iPhone photo.   More to come…..


From Sedona, we headed northward up past the Grand Canyon.  We did our best to put the blinders on and not look at it, as we will be returning here for a proper exploration later this spring and did not want to spoil the “oh my god” moment you hear so much about when you first see it.   This of course proved to be easier said than done,  as the drive itself is quite amazing just going past the area.   We did however stop to snap a few teaser photos and also hit Big Bend in Glen Canyon to shoot the following photos.  (see below)

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Stay tuned for a proper blog post with more images from here later in the spring when  we return in early May for a week of photo exploration.     I am currently working on making connections with a Canyon river guide who guides rafting and camping trips down the Colorado River.   This is another example of someone who has an amazing job and will be a perfect addition to my American worker project.   Fingers crossed on this one as it is a bucket list item for me!

But that is what this trip is all about…..   Creating amazing new images and getting to see and do all the cool things that this country has to offer.       It’s been an amazing experience for myself and my family so far and is now becoming a self perpetuating machine as clients are starting to take notice and job requests are coming in based on the images we are creating.

In a way it has been a very educational and moving experience.    You really appreciate the fact that you can create your own destiny.     Thoughts are things….   build it and they will come!     These words have meaning.   They are not just bumper stickers…..   The  proof is in the pudding!

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures on my next post where we find ourselves in Park City, Utah for the entire month of March and most of April shooting some really cool outdoor adventure type stuff,  catching up on the ever important office work, driving the sales and marketing machine and even shooting a couple assignments.

But as I always say…  that is a story for another day!    Until then… “May the Schwartz be with you!”

If you are not following me on Instagram please do,  or turn on a friend who might be interested in following.   My instagram handle is @PeteBarrettPhoto click here to follow along!



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!!


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.


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’.


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.


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


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!!

Bayou Fishing Guide – The American Worker Project #7

BillyCarter0993Our 7th installment into The American Worker Project found me shooting in a very cool place named “Uncertain” Texas.     The subject of this particular shoot was a man named Billy Carter.    Billy is a backwoods bayou fishing guide and owner of Johnson’s Ranch Marina on Caddo Lake in Uncertain TX.


Billy was really great to work with and totally into the project from the moment I called him.   We met at Johnson’s Ranch Marina predawn one chilly morning in early February and loaded our gear into Billy’s Go Devil fishing guide boat and set out deep into the bayou to catch the sunrise and shoot out and around beautiful Caddo Lake.

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Billy has lived on Caddo Lake his entire life and has been a fishing guide for at least 35 of those years.    As Billy will tell you,   we don’t go fishing,  we go out “catching”.     He certainly seems to know his stuff.    He knows where all the good fishing holes are and has the knowledge on how to catch them once you are there.    This is a totally different kind of fishing than I am used to being a Yankee fisherman myself used to clear water.   In the murky bayou waters you have much better luck running your bait on the bottom.

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Riding around with Billy was awesome as he recounted all his knowledge of an area steeped in history.     Caddo Lake was originally created when an earthquake opened up a hole in the earth.    It caused a wave that rose upstream causing the Mississippi River to run backwards for a couple days.   The lake was actually the first natural lake in Texas prior to the days of dam created lakes and as such quickly became a sportsman’s paradise.

Billy told countless more tales about the lake’s history…Back in the 1800’s large steamboats used to ply the tannic waters of Caddo Lake taking travelers to the then bustling town of Jefferson and return with loads of cotton.     Oil was discovered under the lake bottom and was the first over water or offshore drilling operation in history.   There are still hints of the old rigs found on parts of the lake today.   For more info on the history or Billy and his guide services click here.

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