Sunday, December 5, 2010

A lot of my time browsing the internet is spent studying other photographers. I'm constantly studying photographers work to better improve mine. Inspiration is what drives and motivates me to be a better photographer myself.

I have many favorite photographers and today, I'll focus on one, Michael Clark. If I were to broaden the scope a bit, there is one main specialty these photographers have in common, adventure/action sports (surfing, trail running, rock climbing, ect.). To be honest, this is my ultimate dream job. Why not? These guys get to see the world and it's most remote locations. So, back to point.

Michael Clark is one of the top adventure sport photographers out there. I love checking his site out, studying his photos, trying to pick up anything to apply to my own photography. Here is a good piece to read...

Behind the Scenes - Michael Clark

Check his stuff out. Worth looking at.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I have been looking around for a quality piece of equipment to protect my camera while it's raining. While checking out underwater housings the other day, I ran across this...

Aquatech Sport Shield
  • 3-ply breathable waterproof fabric
  • Three windows for viewing top LCD and main LCD screens
  • 3 zipper design allows adjustable access to tripod mount and lens
  • Custom flaps offer additional protection
  • Drawstring secures around wrist to keep out water
  • Requires AquaTech Eyepiece (sold separately)

Interior Dimensions:
10 x 5.0"; (25.4 x 12.7cm); Length x Diameter

Additional information:
May accommodate other lenses than those listed
Length = Length of Lens Sleeve from camera mount to end of neoprene seal
Diameter = Diameter of neoprene Lens Sleeve opening

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unalakleet River Lodge - Alaska - 2010

Stepping off the plane this past week was a sad experience. After spending an entire week at my favorite lodge in Alaska, I was back in the baking heat of Dallas. The high was 106 degrees. What a nightmare it is going from a refreshing 55 degrees with a cool breeze to nearly double the temperature. To brighter things, the week up at the Unalakleet River Lodge, was another unforgettable experience.

For those of you that don't know, I guided for the past three seasons at this lodge. As I wasn't guiding this summer, I wanted to host a Tailwaters' group to the lodge. I was pretty excited to get up there. Not only was I a guest at the lodge that previously employed me, but I also was given my old jet sled to cruise around to shoot photography and video.

The Unalakleet River Lodge is located approximately 400 miles northwest of Anchorage. After a quick Penn Air flight, we were greeted by Sal, the owner and a few guides. The town itself is quite rundown. It looks third world. 4-wheelers are the primary means of getting around and the summertime activity for the natives is fishing.

View Larger Map

Checking the weather is always pointless when visiting Alaska. I know for a fact that everyone else did, but I knew what was coming. It was cold and raining, exactly what I needed as I was coming from 22 straight days of temperatures over 100 degrees. I did have a problem, however. My job this past week was to document the trip by shooting video and photography. Constant downpour was not making this an easy task. My first day out, I was limited to shooting as it literally never stopped raining. After little footage captured, I needed a solution. The only thing that came to mind was an umbrella. Luckily, the lodge had some left over umbrellas they used to cover the garden from getting flooded. So, that is what I used. For the rest of the week, I filmed with the umbrella by my side. Photography on the other hand, was a different story. Obviously, shooting photography with one hand is complicated. I came home this week with the least count of photos I've ever had. It flat out wasn't a good week to shoot. Now, if I had an umbrella that mounted to a tripod or to the bottom of my camera it would have been a bit easier as I would have been able to shoot with two hands. When I got home, I did look up umbrellas that attach to either a tripod or that mount to the underside of a DSLR. I found this umbrella. I am definitely going to add one to my arsenal for future rainy days.

Thursday was an amazing day. The North River (my favorite), is one that feeds into the Unalakleet. It is almost always clear and allows for great sight fishing. In the past three seasons as a guide, we were always held back from navigating past a spot called "butches cove," about a 45 min jet sled ride up. With the help from this summer's higher rain accumulation, we had the opportunity to run our boats 2 hours up the North. This is a section of river I have always wanted to see as it rarely is seen by any guest or guide at the lodge. This river starts very narrow and closed in by trees and tundra banks. Shooting upwards, the river opens up into an incredible valley with views that are endless. It was the only stretch of water that week that was actually clear. I managed to bust out the underwater rig for a little bit, only getting two shots that I was relatively pleased with.

Fishing for me this trip was super fun. All I brought with me was a Sage TCX 6wt. Yes a bit light, but a perfect rod to have fun with for all species in Alaska. I had the most fun skating mouse patterns for BIG grayling. My biggest of the week measured at 21.5" and was pushing 3.5lbs. Of course I was angling alone so, sorry, no photo! Grayling aren't the most difficult species to catch, but they are fun. They wouldn't give up on the mouse pattern. It could have lasted all day if I wanted it to.

I'm not sure I could ever get tired of these guys. Coho fishing was like it always is at Unalakleet, nonstop, rod bending action! Everyone in the group found themselves unable to count the amount of fish being hauled in. Throw a fly in front of em' and they'll likely hit it. Due to the high water, the silvers were stacked in creeks and up in the grass, making it more like bass fishing than salmon fishing. They took wogs at times, but mostly were nailing bright colored streamers. As always these fish showed off their acrobatic skills, jumping and flipping until they tire.

We finished the week with claws and butter. It was an endless glutton of fresh king crab legs. I couldn't stop eating them! After our bellies were full we hit the bar for a bit (Alaskan Amber is always my choice) and then were stunned by the incredible sunset that saturated the sky. I grabbed my camera, a tripod, my ND filters and hiked up the hill to get a better view. What I saw was the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. I couldn't stop snapping shots. With my filter in place, I continued to snap sequences that I would later stitch together to create panoramas. Note that the ND filters I used are the plastic Cokin filters. I still haven't been able to afford the glass ND filters, but so far am pleased with the plastic substitute. Once I have glass filters, I will just bring them along for backups.

All in all, the week was nothing short of perfection. I do wish that I could have snapped a few more photos, but who cares. It was nice to devote some time to film (my main task on this trip) and capture some good fishing action.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alaska Gallery Coming Soon

I'm killing time at the Anchorage airport as I edit photos from the past week. The gallery will be up sometime later this week. Stay tuned...
I figured I would tease you all with a shot of the most incredible sunset I have ever witnessed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Renting Photo Equipment

I leave for Alaska on Saturday. This time I won't be guiding, I'll be hosting a Tailwaters group to Unalakleet River Lodge for a week. I have photographed this river for 3 seasons while guiding and leading up to this trip, I wanted to add a piece of equipment to the list. Can't buy so I will rent.

I'm still debating on whether to go with a macro or a fisheye lens. On one hand, I want to capture certain scenes with that distinct warped look. On the other, I still have not gotten a shot I have wanted for a long time, a macro shot of a grayling dorsal fin. I have decided to go with I was surprised to see the amount of equipment they had to offer, especially their underwater housings.

When I return from AK, I'll let you all know how the rental experience went. I'm hoping for a good one...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hatch is All Black

Ever since I discovered Hatch Outdoors, I have loved every thing about them. It was all sealed when I met John Torok, the president of Hatch. John is a great guy and knows his stuff, he also has great graphic design skill which I admire.

Anyways, I picked up a new reel last week. When they came out with the new color black, I knew exactly what I wanted.....all black. On another note, I was in a hurry and over powered my flash unit. It lead to my learning that black throws some kind of a strange glare/flare which is noticeable on the left side of both images. See it? I wonder what the cause is?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jokersdeck At La Grange - Deep Ellum - Dallas, Texas

I had the chance to go see Jokersdeck last night at La Grange in Deep Ellum. Super cool venue. Not sure what you would call it, but this place was a mixture of old fashioned and modern design. Zach, the drummer, is a fella I went to high school with and I have been watching him play music ever since. It's always fun getting out to see live music, and this time I brought the photo gear. It was the first time for me to shoot live music which I can say was a fun learning experience.

I brought the speedlites, a 24-70mm 2.8/L, and a 10-22mm 3.5. Threw the camera into manual and shot away.

Be sure to check out the Jokersdeck facebook page. Listen to some tunes and become a fan!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Twintail Clothing releases 2010 Catalog

It's been super busy here at the shop. We are nearly a week away from launching our brand new website, which I am confident to say will be one of the best in the industry. I will let you all decide that, however.

On another note, my mornings and nights have been consumed by the clothing company I started. I have been working vigorously on the Fall 2010 Catalog and am proud to say that it is finished and available to view. Just click on the catalog cover when you visit the Twintail home page and enjoy!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Busy Busy

It's been far too long since I made a post here. We (Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co.) are in the midst of a huge website project. As the designer/graphics/photographer guy, I am in charge of uploading thousands of products, images, descriptions, ect. So to say the least, I have been extremely busy.

For those of you that don't know, I am also in the beginning stages of starting a clothing company, Twintail Clothing Co. I released a few hats last spring, but ultimately was not happy with the hat manufacturer. Things such as comfort, and overall quality. These last months I have found a great hat and have been designing a catalog that will be released soon.

All of what I have just explained is why I have failed to post, and release my promised online magazine (which will still be released). I figure I will just surprise everyone when it is finished. I apologize for not providing content and will try harder to post quality, informative material.

Here are some product shots that I have been shooting lately. I keep hoping that one of these days I will pick up an assignment doing this kind of work!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Louisiana Redfish - Thoughts on Photography

This past week I was privileged to host a great group of guys down to southern Louisiana for a little bit of fishing. If you are here for a fishing report, I have written one on the Somethins' Fishy Blog. I am just going to talk about my experiences on the photography side of the trip.

Going in, I had all sorts of gadgets I wanted to try out. Along with the gadgets I wanted to experiment with some ideas I had been playing with in my head. As I listed in my previous post, you will notice that I had packed a shoot through umbrella and a manfrotto magic arm. Shoot through umbrellas create unique light and I wanted to experiment with that light as a fill inside the boat. In the past I have just used the standard hot shoe flash for fill. I wanted to add something different, though. With the magic arm, umbrella mount, and super clamp combined, I was working with a miniature, mobile studio setup. I could position the light anyway I wanted, anywhere I wanted. My immediate issue was the enormous amount of sunlight. In order to get a proper exposure in my particular situation It would have been necessary to have 2-3 speedlites setup. So I really didn't get to use the umbrella the way I intended. I was hoping for low light situations which would have given me the opportunity to create some soft, dramatic lighting. Maybe the boat is not the place to bring such equipment. It never hurts to try, and I definitely will try again to see if it's worth having. Aside from the experimenting, I did my normal thing and shot at every angle possible trying to pick up something fresh and new. Did I achieve fresh and new? I guess I will leave that to those that view my photos.

I did find use for the umbrella indoors, though. In the Spirits Hall, which is where the bar is, I setup the umbrella on the balcony. Spirits Hall has high walls and ceiling which made it easy to bounce light. My one umbrella lit up the entire room allowing me to get a higher shutter speed when shooting hand held.
It was a great trip and I learned so much. It would have been great to have water clarity for underwater shots, but I always have Los Roques to look forward to for that! For all the images on this trip please go to my website.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Louisiana here I come.

I leave for Louisiana on Sunday for 4 days of incredible saltwater fishing. I'm not sure what I am more excited about, the fishing, or the photography. Part of me is thinking about the massive 35lb redfish that will be cast to. The other part of me keeps going through so many cool shots I would like to get with my camera and underwater rig. I started to create a gear list for photography and then thought it would be better to just make a blog post about it. So here is what I will be dragging along with me....

Canon 30D
Canon 5D
Ikelite Underwater Housing
Canon 10-22mm f/3.4-4.5
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 70-200mm f/.2.8L
Canon 400mm f/4.5-5.6
Boom arm
24x24 Soft Box
Lastolite 3 in 1 umbrella
(3) Pocket Wizard
(2) Circular Polarizer
Re-Chargeable batteries (for speedlites)
Canon 580EXii
Canon 430EX
Manfrotto Magfiber tripod w/ballhead
Manfrotto Magic Arm w/quick release plate
Manfrotto Super Clamp
Manfrotto Swivel Umbrella Adaptor
Pelican 1510
Patagonia Great Divider

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Fly Photo Magazine: Issue #1 releases April 15, 2010!

With all the advancements in recent web tools, technology, ect., I have decided to approach marketing my photography with a more unique direction. Aside from photography, I spend a majority of my time as a graphic designer, so I figure I would put it to use in favor of myself. So, to the point...

Over the past 3 months I have slowly been designing a self promoting magazine which will be uploaded into an online page turner. This publication will be similar to that of This is Fly, and Catch Magazine only a bit shorter. I plan to add content related to all the destinations I travel to, with some other small stuff on the side. Originally I started out designing this to send out to editors and other potential clients to pick up work or sell photos. Throughout the process, it has slowly evolved into a short magazine. I am now creating this for everyone's viewing pleasure, in confidence that it will grow and create opportunity amongst others in the fly fishing/outdoor industry.

If it wasn't for my full time job, this would have been a two week project. I guess it doesn't matter though. I am twiddling my thumbs and making final touches until I travel to Louisiana to chase some bull redfish. This will be my closing story for the first issue of "The Fly Photo" magazine. I will attempt to make this a quarterly release, which solely depends on the content I can gather throughout the months in between. It would be great to bring in a section to feature another photographer looking to expose his/her work, or something along those lines. If you are interested in something like this, please email me here.

Issue #1 will consist of:
  • My latest season as a guide in Alaska with photos and a short intro of how I became a serious photographer
  • The wildest day I've ever had in Baja (as a photographer) with photos and short story
  • Upcoming trip to Louisiana with photos and short story

In addition to photos, I will include information about the gear I use, various prints that are for sale, photography tips, and other various goodies.

In oversight, this is just another fun project for me to work on in my spare time. The common phrase "practice makes perfect" is inspiration to me. For this project I will be able to continually practice my design, writing, and business skills. I hope that I can inspire other folks in the industry to take a hold of what they are good at and run with it. Please stay tuned for further updates and look for The Fly Photo magazine to be released on April 15, 2010!!

Don't forget to FOLLOW ME on Twitter
Check me out and BECOME A FAN on Facebook

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Behind the scene: Fly photography

This is one of many posts that I will add over the next few months regarding product photography.

Yesterday I got back into the product photography routine, consisting mostly flies for now. For those of you that don't know, I work at a fly shop/travel company called Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. in Dallas, Tx. We are amidst a new website and I have to capture product photos of everything we carry. To the point....

Something that has been an issue with fly photography is blowing out the highlights in the brighter colors. I am shooting on a white background, which needs to be blown in order for clean placement in our catalog and website. For darker flies this is no problem, but for the lighter ones it's a big problem. If I need to blow out the white background, the lighter materials in the fly will be blown out as well, and I lose detail. I put together a solution that has worked decently. Instead of taking my two softboxes and shooting directly down on the fly, which is what I have done in the past (don't get me wrong, it works great), I have created a system to where I have a light shooting from above and below the fly.

What I did was take a picture frame, strip it down to the glass only, and placed a piece of bright white photo paper in the frame. I placed the frame on a box I had constructed out of white foam board. I now have a way to shoot light from underneath the fly which will not only help blow out the white background, but will create a silhouette of the fly. This is very helpful when shooting brighter flies that contain white or neon colors. Now instead of powering two lights from above, I can bring in subtle light from above with one speedlite. Here is the set up:
You can view all of my photos in my product gallery here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GoPro HD HERO®: Sample Footage

A friend of mine turned me on to a pretty incredible little toy yesterday. Being the camera geek that I am, I have now become obsessed with it, and unfortunately will purchase it. As a photographer (soon to be videographer as well) I am constantly conjuring ideas for fresh material. Different angles, different gadgets, ect. all for the sake of producing an image that hasn't been seen before. That's the goal anyways. So, when I took a look at the Go Pro HERO HD video camera and it's capabilities, I was blown away. Not only is this camera down right sick, it is under $300 buck. It shoots in 1080p, 960p, and 720p. In the two lower resolutions the lens achieves an incredibly wide angle of view at 170 degrees. In 1080p, you still go wide, but cut down to 127 degrees. Did I mention it goes underwater with it's housing? Another cool part about this little guy is all the mounts you can purchase for it. Wrist mounts, suction cup mounts, blah blah blah. You can strap this camera to anything. What does that mean for me? I will have the ability to get crazy angles on the entire fishing experience. With a chest mount, shooting with 170 degrees of view, I can capture some pretty sweet stuff. Two trips are heading my way, Louisiana redfish and Los Roques, Venezuela. I will be sure to capture some fun and crazy angles for your viewing pleasure, and of course my typical still photography. Be sure and check these little (literally) guys out at and check out the sample surf video below!!!

GoPro HD HERO®: Sample Footage

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A few pieces of luggage

I shot some more luggage recently with my new lighting set up. I enjoy shooting larger products. There is no messing around with macro lenses, or getting situated right up on the subject. I do need to improve the overall set up for some of these shots though. With things such as backpacks, it is important to have the straps very visible. Sometimes this is difficult to do and you need certain materials to help you out. Some stiff wire wouldn't be a bad place to start. When I get some wire, I'll be sure and blog about it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Efficient Workflow: Creating Actions in Photoshop

Yesterday I had to go through and edit hundreds of dry, midge, and nymph photos. I have a routine for nearly every product photo I edit and I have done it so many times that it is fast and efficient. What slows me down the most though, is when I go to save the file, it throws me off when I have to run through the save process over and over. My solution is to create an action for saving files in certain locations. For example, with nymphs, I created a new action > hit record > save for web. I chose my folder named "nymphs" and click ok, and stopped the recording. Now, everytime I finish editing a nymph photo, I hit play and the my custom action will go through the save process with one click instead of 5. This may not be effective for a few photos, but when saving in bulk it will save time.

Saturday, January 2, 2010 feature

I am proud to say that I have been added to the list of featured photographers in the industry. is doing a great job of keeping everyone informed of what's going on in fly fishing. Thanks to the team at Midcurrent!