Lisa Calvo – Oyster Farmer

The sun had just begun to look over our shoulders as we approached the beach of Cape May Court House, NJ. Nature had beaten us to the punch on their morning assignments. Seagulls were flocking over their breakfast feast as the tide rolled away from the shore. There was a morning breeze that swirled and helped to offset the smell that was left behind. These were our first impressions upon arriving at Lisa Calvo’s oyster farm.

No matter who you are, there’s always a great sense of anticipation when you meet someone that up to that point you could only envision. The small cottage where Lisa stores all of the needed equipment blended in with the rest of the buildings on the paved but sandy beachfront street. Lisa was the first to greet us. One by one we met the rest of her crew – Patty Woodruff, Diane Driessen, and Sarah Borsetti quietly walked over with coffees in hand and sleepy eyes; a 6AM call time comes early for everyone. We muddled near the quaint cottage as both of our teams prepared for the work ahead. Once all needed supplies were loaded into the beach cart, we headed down to the water.

Lisa, Sarah, Diane, Chris, and Mike walking to the farm
Lisa and Chris amounts the rows of racks

As we waded through the knee-deep water of low tide, we approached a series of racks perched out on a sandbar. Each rack looked like a bed frame cut off just above the legs. Upon each rack was a layer of netted bags. Each bag contained an appropriate number of growing oysters. Different sections of racks accommodate oysters at varied stages of growth. Lisa’s team focused on a section comprised of matured oysters that were ready to harvest.

Netted bag holding oysters
Lisa, Patty and Sarah

After a short set up, the oyster team quickly fell into their familiar process. While standing around a metal table supported by sawhorses, they began to sort the oysters. Meanwhile, camera in hand, Chris transitioned into shooting mode. Using PVC piping as a gauge of size, the team divided the oysters into three buckets. One bucket was for ideal large oysters, one for less attractive large oysters, and one for those that needed more time for growth. The ideal large oysters go to market, small ones return to the algae covered bag and the ugly ones, well that day, we ate them!

Sorting oysters
Lisa, Sarah, Diane, Chris, and Mike
Chris enjoying an oyster

We spent the majority of our morning gaining a better understanding of the positive environmental impact of oysters. These uncanny bivalves are particularly efficient at cleaning the water they live and grow in. For instance, a single two-inch oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. That is 16,800 gallons of water filtered in one year. Their presence in southern New Jersey has not only improved our dinner menus but also the cleanliness of the waters enjoyed on its coast. Lisa and her team are making a significant impact and at the forefront of a thriving industry. We are grateful for the opportunity and education from a world that we were always curious about. Perhaps you can put yourself in our shoes the next time you order a dozen oysters from Cape May.

Looking back: The Past Six Weeks

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

Whew. That’s about all we can say for the last six weeks. Starting in October, lasting through the entire month of November and just now after a quick bite of turkey and some stuffing, we can take a breath and reflect on how crazy-busy we’ve been these past few weeks. Our almost non-stop schedule of shoots has taken us across the country, up to NYC, down to tropical Puerto Rico, and crisscrossing a ton of cities in between including Washington DC, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Detroit to name a few.

So what do we have to show for all of this travel? As always our hands are tied to show the final results, but we’ve really created some beautiful new photos and have great stories to share along with them. For now though, we’ll tell our story through pictures and share a taste of everything we’ve seen. Enjoy!

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

chris crisman advertising photo travel busy

 

The past month and a half have sure been a wild ride and it’s not over quite yet. We’ll be jamming straight on through till 2015. As for now though, stay tuned and keep in touch below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Fifty States Project: The Introduction

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Although we’re only just half way through 2014, this year has already afforded the Crisman team opportunities to travel to beautiful and inspiring places, meet interesting and unique subjects, and do what we do best, all along the way. Yes, in a sense this happens every year, but 2014 marked a particular milestone for Chris that’s worth sharing: As of July 2014, Chris has either shot in, or traveled through all fifty states. We can guarantee that every single one of our shoots and adventures has some story to tell behind it, and we couldn’t think of a better place than right here on the blog to share those stories.

Fifty states, fifty stories, fifty blog posts. Stay tuned in the coming weeks, months, and maybe even years as we take a look at our journey across this great country. We can guarantee lots of photos, lots of randomness, and well we’re not really sure what else.

All we can say for now is stay tuned…

Washingtonian: Fun on the Water

chris crisman washingtonian cover fun on the water

Whenever we hear from the creatives at Washingtonian, we always know that we’ll be tasked to bring some wild idea to life and make beautiful photos in the process. As always, their latest cover shoot did not disappoint. Shoot some tubers in the middle of a river – sounds easy enough right? Little did we know what was in store for the Crisman team that day. Thankfully we didn’t lose any cameras or lights to the river, but there were plenty of close call – keep reading to find out the whole story…

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New Conceptual Portrait: Birdman

chris crisman personal conceptual portrait crows piano

This spring has afforded us the opportunity to make a handful of new conceptual portraits. You may remember our Wildman portrait from a few weeks ago, and our Gardener we released last week – today we are excited to share the latest fantastical, conceptual environmental portrait: Birdman. Born as a combination of ideas, this latest portrait still amazes me in the way it came together – a unique combination of serendipitous finds and discoveries, spread out over the course of two years.

Yes, that is a strange way to describe the making of a photo, but bear with me and keep reading for the full explanation…

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Field & Stream: Turkey Freaks

chris crisman jeff budz turkey hunter

When the call came in from our editors at Field & Stream to shoot the world’s top turkey hunter, we knew we were in for a good one. A few days later, Chris hopped a flight down to Florida and met up with Jeff Budz, a sportsman who is honestly crazy for turkey. What comes from spending the day with a top tier hunter who’s up for anything? Keep reading to find out…

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2013 in Review – Behind the Scenes

chris crisman monthly wrap october behind the scenes

We spend a lot of days on set. I’d throw out a number in days or hours, but to be honest it’s just too hard to count. Even if I won’t figure out the timing of it all, one thing that’s guaranteed with that many days on set is that we’ll be taking lots of behind the scenes and of course, lots of terrible test photos of every member of the crew.

So here we have it – our last post of the year, the final in our series of 2013 in review. We’ve scoured through our blog posts in the last 12 months and found way too many of our favorite behind the scenes/outtakes/test shots. Yes, they certainly aren’t flattering, but I can’t think of a better way to more accurately describe our year. Sometimes, words can’t even do it justice, the photos say it all.

chris crisman shell vpower ferarri photos

chris crisman weekly wrap up

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chris crisman photogaraphy weekly wrap

chris crisman weekly wrap up

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

chris crisman weekly wrap up

chris crisman nature conservancy arizona forest fire

chris crisman weekly wrap up

chris crisman three years studio manager robert luessen

chris crisman yellowstone landscape shooting

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman aarp the magazine editorial portraits travel envio

chris crisman advertising editorial photography weekly wrap

chris crisman medical hospital photography

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

chris crisman wired uk virgin galactic spaceport america photos

chris crisman weekly wrap up editorial advertising editorial tra

And there we have it – 2013 comes to a close. We’ll be taking New Years off, then getting back into action in 2014. We hope you’re as excited as we are for what the new years has in store. Cheers!