Environmental Lifestyle Imagery: Don’t be Average

Angler Geoff Mueller casts to cruising bonefish at Bair's Lodge, South Andros, Bahamas.

What is an environmental lifestyle image? Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? It’s an image that gives as much (if not more) attention to the environment, as it does to the activity taking place. It’s the perfect marriage between location

and recreation. It’s the type of image so many of us fall in love with because it highlights both an action or activity as well as a beautiful place. It’s an image that is both beautiful from a straight photographic standpoint, and one that connects with many viewers on a more personal level depending on their experience with the activity actually taking place in the image.

For me, it’s like having my cake and eating it too. I discovered my passion for photography in scenic landscape work. I have also been an avid participant in many recreational pursuits since a young age. It’s a combo that takes me to many beautiful locations, while watching and/or participating in the things I love to do.

This image embodies everything I love about fly fishing on the ocean. Clean, open air. Limitless space. Uninhibited motion. Surreal landscape. Endless skies. Soft, barefoot sand. Whether approaching it with a camera, or a rod in hand, it is an absolute dream.

This image was captured about 15 min before sunset. Having that sun low on the horizon emphasized the repetitive texture in this spit of sand. The location was perfect here. The activity was spot on. But the light it what brought this image to life. Without light, this image is an average shot of a dude casting to bonefish on a pleasant spit of sand in the middle of the Bahamas. And we all know that average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.

Don’t be average.

11 Best of 2011 from AdamBarkerPhotography

2011 was a spectacular year on all accounts. Foot upon foot of pow skied, fish from Wyoming to the Bahamas hooked, festivals in the far corners of the earth, ancient pathways crossed–all contributed to what could perhaps be one of my most productive years behind the lens. Cliche as it may be, I can’t help but look back in review and share some of my favorites from the past year.  As always, many thanks to my sponsors: Arc’teryx, Suunto, Mark Miller Subaru, Mountain Khakis, Manfrotto School of Xcellence, Clikelite Backpacks and Singh Ray Filters. Hope you all enjoy, and here’s to an even better 2012! (click on images to view larger versions)

1. Jesse Hall takes a moment to ponder human flight, as he stands inside the hot air balloon from which he’ll subsequently launch himself into gravity’s liberating grasp. Park City, UT.

2. Angler Al Chidester finds himself surrounded by all that is good in this world: fresh air, fall foliage…and fantastic fishing in some of western Wyoming’s most treasured water.

3. Fire and rain over Warm Creek Bay, Lake Powell, UT.

4. Hazy skies make for ethereal and ancient interpretations of East Jerusalem, Israel.

5. First light envelopes Agua Canyon in a glow only Mother Nature could furnish. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

6. Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch shows its true colors in crisp early morning light. Dallas Divide, CO.

7. Angler Geoff Mueller admires a healthy bonefish (caught and released) in Abaco Island’s skinniest of water.

8. Calm in the chaos of Hanoi traffic, Vietnam.

9. Bavaria’s finest color smiles upon a lone farmer’s shed in the fields near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

10. Skier Drew Stoecklein can, in fact turn right. At just the right time. In just the right place. Alta Backcountry, UT.

11. Angler Geoff Mueller and Oliver White tense up as they ply the waters off Abaco Island for huge permit.

Belize!!! (part 1)

Ever since I can recall actually discovering (via magazine/movies) the world of saltwater fly fishing, I have harbored the dream of experiencing it for myself one day. In short, it lives up to the hype–and then some.

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Weir tossed it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Wier tosses it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Just as Alaska is to freeskiing, Augusta is to golf or Monaco is to racing, so too, is Belize to saltwater fly fishing. Crystal clear water, mile-long flats and significant numbers of varying species of big game fish nearly guarantee an epic experience when plying this country’s Caribbean waters. Belize is a mecca for anglers seeking tarpon, permit, bonefish, snook and a host of other species of fish.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

I was fortunate to be spending my first Belize experience aboard a 58′ boat called the Rising Tide. Being on a boat gave me prime, immediate access to the water at the best times of day to be shooting, which are always very early and much later than most plan for. Were we staying on land, it would have required much earlier/later departures and just wouldn’t have been possible. Many thanks to Don Muelrath and Mike Copithorne of Off the Hook Fly Fishing for their assistance in setting up the trip.

MIkey Weir cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

MIkey Wier cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

When all was said and done, I shot well over 5,000 images and even managed to catch my first ever permit. Awesome! Also key to this trip was my underwater housing from Aquatech. It’s a whole new world below the surface, and I was so pleased to be able to capture these fish in their native element. Also, many thanks to Patagonia, Simms, Winston Rods and Lamson Reels for helping out on the product side of things.

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize