No single event led me down the road to focusing so much of my time and effort on attempting to document our native trout species in their natural environment. I could say I got the idea while observing a school of hundreds of brook trout hovering over an aquamarine seep amongst the lava rocks of the Upper Deschutes. Or maybe it came to me while scouting waterfalls deep in the Wilderness of the Purcells and seeing fifteen pound bull trout scurry off their gravel bar redds. But in reality it has been a lifelong connection with the natural world which I have fostered through activities as diverse as commercial fishing in Alaska to steep creeking in Mexico. There is no place I would rather be than out somewhere feeling the sting of the elements and fine tuning my judgement amongst powers much greater than myself. These photos are my way of sharing the stunning circle of life that all of us are part of.
While equipment and techniques used vary according to location, one thing that always rings true is that it takes a confluence of events for me to capture an image that will make an impact. Rivers are the most dynamic environment on earth and our native fish species are constantly adjusting to this dynamism. The first hard frost of the year sees me pouring over google earth, searching for potential freshwater seeps in the most remote corners of Yellowstone’s deadfall-infested marshes, where I know brilliantly colored brookies will be staging for their spawn. Just after the first heavy snow in the high country, when the Cottonwoods are a deep yellow, finds me stumbling over barb wire fences in search of a plug of hook nose browns charging headlong out of a reservoir for their fall ritual. Finding these spots during these moments is the key to having a chance to get that shot.
Flexibility is the key while in the field. During summer months I don a drysuit to shoot riffles stacked with trout lazily sipping mayflies. In smaller water and during the swing seasons I use a remote control and place the camera in likely spots. With the advent of digital cameras this type of photography became possible. Using a full frame Digital SLR with large capacity cards allows me to take as many as ten thousand high resolution shots in one day. At this sort of pace I will get a keeper one out of every ten days. My goal is not a photo documenting something. It is to create an image that stands as a piece of fine art as well as doing the location and species justice. Marrying the perfection of a red bellied Westslope Cutthroat to the kaleidoscope glacial scree bottom of a gin clear Glacier Park creek takes all the pieces to fall into place. Only when all the stars align do these places give up that image that exists in my mind.
The wilderness has been more than a place for me to find a challenge, it is a place to reconnect with a natural world that modern life too often pulls us away from. While it seems like just yesterday that I was standing on a street corner selling three dollar greeting cards from my first point and shoot, in reality it has been a long journey that I would never trade for anything. It has only been through the support of all around me that I have traveled through this difficult learning curve and continue to be able to pursue my passions. I hope you enjoy these moments I have captured and share them with your friends.
- All images are available as high resolution files for publication.
- Custom prints of all images on this site are available upon request (Allow extra time for delivery).