Montana with Field and Stream

Historically, the flow of our year is defined by travel. The summertime usually provides a few breaks to spend some extra time with our families and that time at home to recoup is essential to our well being. However, when Field & Stream proposed an opportunity to work with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, all of that R&R was out the window. After a month long of uncertainty, our schedules aligned and we boarded a plane to Montana, ready to embark on an experience of a lifetime.

Yvon Chouinard

We set forth on our adventure through the beautiful landscape of Montana and we were pumped, to say the least. Thanks to Field & Stream we were on our way to spend two days fishing with Yvon and Kenton Carruth, Co-founder of First Lite Outfitters. Kenton is one of the nicest guys you could meet and if you are not familiar with THE Yvon Chouinard, then google him. We’ll wait… These two men live out life with a love of the outdoors as a guiding force. They both created clothing companies that cater to those who share that love of the wilderness. We traveled from Philadelphia, Pa to Augusta, Mt to spend some time in this majestic place and help tell the story of national public lands and the challenge to their future as a thriving place for future generations to enjoy.

On the road to Augusta, Mt

The plan was to meet in Augusta at Buckhorn Bar at 6PM. When we arrived at the quaint town, we noticed piles of sandbags scattered outside some local businesses. The town had recently experienced some seasonal flooding. The excessive amount of rain would show itself useful later in this tale. 


Augusta, MT

We arrived at Buckhorn Bar, passing under a pair of mounted horns as we entered. We walked into the dimmed lit neighborhood watering hole and found everyone already there with a beer in hand ready to eat. Fried chicken, the house specialty, was the cuisine of choice for the evening. Over a pint of beer and a basket of chicken, we began to get acquainted.

Buckhorn Bar

Once our bellies were full and thirst quenched, it was time to fish.  We hopped in our trucks and headed off to a nearby lake in Fairfield. Driving down a dusty dirt road, we chased the sun in hopes to take a few pictures before the day ended.  We made it with only a few moments left of daylight.

Fairfield, Mt
Fairfield, Mt

Yvon was the first to pull his fly rod out and began doing what he came to Montana to do. At the same time, with his tool of choice, Chris began documenting the gorgeous moment we were experiencing. 

Yvon 
Chris and Yvon

Unfortunately, the sun didn’t stick around and we were left to enjoy the tranquillity of our surroundings. Once the warm rays safely tucked themselves behind the mountains, we too packed up. Our shelter for the evening would be one of the few private hunting lodges inside Bob Marshall Wilderness. With an early morning ahead, we quickly settled into slumber.

Chris, Kenton Carruth, Hal Herring, Yvon, and Ryan Callaghan

6am arrived quickly and soon enough we were on the road again, this time to the South Fork of Sun River. Normally the water levels of the desired location run low. However, the recent flooding allowed us to travel by boat with ease. 

South Fork of Sun River
South Fork of Sun River

The seldom fished pools just above the Gibson Reservoir provide anglers a perfect scenario; low fishing pressure and a heavenly backdrop. The blissfully ice cold water was bustling with rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. The fish in that section of the Sun River were not large but they were hungry and striking every fly that hit the water.

Kenton and Chris
Chris and Yvon

When you stand in the steady crystal clear current, looking around at the perfection of nature, you understand why Yvon and Kenton passionately feel the need to preserve and improve our public lands. The idea that future generations could be deprived of these experiences is epically tragic.  

Yvon and Garret Smith

Yvon uses his voice and resources to advocate for and protect our public spaces. His firm stance against the current White House’s policy to reduce National Monuments caught him locking horns with Utah Rep. Rob Bishop. Bishop called to his constituents and fellow Republicans to boycott Patagonia. What Bishop didn’t realize was that those he was calling to arms were outfitters and the boycott request had the exact opposite effect. Patagonia’s sales increased by 600 percent that month.

There are people in this country with plenty of funds that want to end public lands. They wish to divvy up the open space to private owners, which would keep hunters and fisherman at bay. This is not how Yvon and Kenton had envisioned our nation’s public lands in the future. They value a life experiencing the outdoors quite similar to that of Theodore Roosevelt.

“The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.”

Theodore Roosevelt
Yvon and Kenton 

On a personal note, our very own Mike Ryan was personally mentored by Yvon and caught his first ever trout on this trip of a lifetime. These memories have fueled his new found passion for this leisurely sport. 

Yvon and Mike
Mike and his Trout

The West – Part VI

This week we’re blogging as we go, traveling and shooting throughout the western United States. Chris is on a seven day editorial project and we’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot. All content posted from previous day.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

6/21/13 – 6/23/13 – Long days on the road. When you’re planning a trip like this, it all looks a lot smaller and less spread out on Google maps. When you actually get your boots on the ground, only then do you realize how massive the western United States can be.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Hauling over 2500 miles in 7 days can take you a lot of places – locations and scenery you might not otherwise see. I’m working on hitting all of the 50 states and thanks to this trip, I managed to cross Idaho off that list.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

After days of shooting and traveling, our journey is finally coming to a close. This is the point where I can see the finish line and feel ready to be back home. It’s been fun.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @Crismanphoto or /Crismanphoto on Facebook. Cheers!

The West – Part V

This week we’re blogging as we go, traveling and shooting throughout the western United States. Chris is on a seven day editorial project and we’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot. All content posted from previous day.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

6/20/13 – Not many words from today. Very tired and very grateful that we’re in such a beautiful place.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @Crismanphoto or /Crismanphoto on Facebook. Cheers!

The West – Part IV

This week we’re blogging as we go, traveling and shooting throughout the western United States. Chris is on a seven day editorial project and we’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot. All content posted from previous day.

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6/19/13 – Not too much to say today. I’m grateful for opportunity and experience to see the country and be on the road, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be a trucker.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Up at 6AM, laying down for sleep at midnight. Been on the road every second in between. At least I’m making beautiful pictures.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto or /Crismanphoto on facebook. Cheers!

The West – Part III

This week we’re blogging as we go, traveling and shooting throughout the western United States. Chris is on a seven day editorial project and we’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot. All content posted from previous day.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

6/18/13 – You can spend days producing, prepping, and planning for an important day, but it’s the things your can’t plan for that you’re always going to remember. It doesn’t really matter if they are positive experiences or if they are something you’d like to forget. Today was one of those days that turned out better than expected and the strange surprises made it just right.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

We were dreading today’s shoot a bit. The projected high temperature was 110 degrees. We knew we’d be working hard, and moving quickly for at least 8 hours. We were prepped with gallons of water, a toxic amount of sunscreen, and outfitted my favorite shooting camoes. No matter how much the sun wanted to beat us down, we were ready.

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chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

In an uncalculated turn of events, I forgot that we’d be shooting in the mountains – about 7500 ft above sea level. Although the sun was strong, the temperature never broke 85. It was wonderful.

The project we’re working on has us photographing some unique people that put in some very valuable work for our country. Part of my process in going into a shoot is trying to understand a person as much as possible before I actually meet them (I don’t recommend this for everyone, it’s just the nature of our brief exposures with people). To meet someone who you have great expectations for and then be further impressed isn’t something I run into very often. Today was just one of those lucky days.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Did you know that Ladybugs have nests?If you step on a ladybug nest and aren’t aware because you’re completely focused on finishing a photograph, did you know that the Ladybugs will rapidly race up your bare legs like lemmings rushing for the cliffs. I learned all about this today.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @Crismanphoto or /Crismanphoto on Facebook. Cheers!

The West – Part II

This week we’re blogging as we go, traveling and shooting throughout the western United States. Chris is on a seven day editorial project and we’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot. All content posted from previous day.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

6/17/13 – Mondays are always tough. I’m on the road quite a bit and when a get chance to spend time at home, I like to shut off work as much as possible. Being that this past weekend included Father’s Day, transitioning back to work was particularly unfriendly. Couple that with a 6:00 AM call time trip to the airport, and I just had to take a deep breath and shuffle along.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

We travel so much now that we’ve developed a system for every part of the process. We have to pack the right numbers of bags right up to the 50 pound limit as to not get hit with one of the big over the top fees that the airlines would love to charge you. We know the area of the parking lot to head to in order increase our chances of finding our car in a week. There are a few other things that aren’t worth mentioning, but you probably get the idea. We take pride in making the airport transfer process a smooth ride. (For a bit more technical approach to how we travel, you may want to take a look at our blog post on the subject.)

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

In our time of unlimited wireless connectivity, I still have a very hard time keeping up with my email. If I’m shooting more than 3 days a week, it is impossible to keep my inbox at zero. The flights are usually my best opportunity to get caught up and also keep my mind organized for what lies ahead of us. However, unending shooting also creates a backlog of other work processes to keep up with.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

Today’s flight was an editing day, a mental prep day for this week’s shoots, and then a chunk of time being spent on overseeing the post production coming out of our studio right now. That said, if anyone reading this was expecting an email from me, I’ll advise you to email Robert this week if you need something quickly. (He’s not kidding. studio@crismanphoto.com is always available for emails).

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

This is one of those weeks that I feel more like a trucker/traveling salesman/wifi hotspot and less like a photographer. We’re going to hit 5 states in a week and most days we won’t have time to sit down and have a meal with the unique people we’re going to meet. There is a certain pace to things these days that is just what you have to do to make it all work.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

This post may sound like I’m complaining, but don’t be fooled.  I am grateful to be here, and there, and everywhere, doing exactly what I’m doing.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto or /Crismanphoto on facebook. Cheers!

The West – Part I

We’re excited to be kicking off a new project on the blog this week – something we’ve never quite done before. We’re going to take you deep behind the scenes and share what it’s like to live life on the road, before during and after the shoot.

To accomplish this, the Crisman team is dividing and conquering for the next week. Chris and photo assistant David Ohl will be traveling and shooting all week on and editorial project while I’m staying back in Philadelphia to hold down the fort – and of course, post their updates as they get relayed back to home base.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure

As we’re posting this, Chris and David are 30,000 feet up in the air, on their way to Phoenix, Arizona to start an adventure that will take them from the scorching deserts of the southwest, through the grand natural beauty of Yellowstone, and up north to the big sky country of Idaho before returning to the east coast. Until next Monday they have two airports, eight cities, dozens of energy drinks, thousands of miles and a ton of photos to look forward to. Stay tuned as their week unfolds, delivered to you daily here on the blog, @crismanphoto or on our Facebook page.