I tell photographers who ask me for advice they need to be shooting personal work as often as possible. If there’s a company or industry you want to get work in, fill the holes in your portfolio with the style you want to shoot (not just what you think will get you hired. Companies want to see fresh takes). It’s been a second since I’ve taken my own advice. I spent the summer in Chattanooga, TN and I was struggling to be inspired to shoot: I missed the expansive landscapes of the western US. I wanted to be building my auto portfolio, but couldn’t see past the dark & depressing tunnel of deciduous trees.
I decided I had to make something happen and come up with a solution, and the answer I came up with was water sports. I need to be able to show people recreating in their adventure vehicles in places I am not as inspired by as the west. I put out a request on some social media groups and got connected to Priscilla Brown in Bryson City, NC who had a new Ford Ranger, using it to move her full size raft around to the many rivers around the area. I scouted a location on the upper Nantahala and everything came together.
I didn’t have an assistant for this shoot, so I had to have Priscilla’s boyfriend, Baker, drive my Passat wagon while I hung out the back with the hatch open. I wish I had BTS footage of the drive – I made a makeshift seatbelt out of climbing gear and kept my feet on my bike rack. Worked like a charm and was totally safe…
To get the final shot of the Ranger next to the river, I put my tripod on the roof of my car, Ansel Adams style, triggering the camera with the Canon app and firing a Flashpoint XPLOR 300 in a Glow octabox all around the truck.
Asking the people I met around Flagstaff, I asked for some awesome locations to shoot different sports. Someone suggested Pumphouse Wash as a nice place to shoot yoga, but on my last day in Flagstaff, I was set to shoot with Missy Verhaeghe, a runner. I didn’t know what to expect, but we found the “trail” after doing a few u-turns, not realizing you park at a bridge and just climb down to the streambed. The wash is a tight canyon, with featured sandstone walls 50 feet or less apart. We walked past a few fun looking sport climbing routes that would be awesome to go back and try.
Flagstaff hadn’t received any precipitation since September, so the wash was completely dry. I was also expecting a bluebird day, but we were surprised with clouds giving us pretty flat light, which gave us a different feel.
Still getting used to my Sony A7RIII, I was super impressed by the autofocus’s ability to keep focus. The Sigma 35 does the best of all my non-Sony lenses, with the Sigma adapter, but the Sony 85mm 1.8 really showed it’s crazy abilities with Missy jumping between the rocks.
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Thank you Missy, you were awesome for withstanding the cold!
I landed in Bangkok at 2am, for a total of 25hrs in transit from New York City. I landed having no real plan besides eventually making it to Laos to climb with a few of my friends that were already there. I didn’t know how I was getting there. When my mom heard that I was planning on going straight to Laos she insisted that I explore Thailand.
In my short stop in the Shanghai airport, I had met a woman traveling by herself (to meet friends then head off to the islands). She wanted to share a taxi and felt safer going in one with me than venturing out into Bangkok alone at 3am. We decided to drop our bags off at the hotel where her friends were staying then immediately go explore the city. My goal was to stay awake until evening so I could avoid jetlag.
We ate some delicious street food and drinks, then headed out into the pre-dawn maze.
We found a lot of temples.
It was incredibly hot in Bangkok, and coming from the low humidity of Colorado, I felt like I was drowning. I had to get out of the city as soon as possible.
Besides the heat, I liked Bangkok. The city seemed to work well. I even went to the dentist!