Chris Crisman Photography

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Crisman Forest Landscape

It’s that time of year again – time to take a moment and look forward at what opportunities and adventures await us in the coming weeks and months. Time to discuss and refine our team’s goals and ideals for the next 365 days, time to ask ourselves “what can we do differently, what can we do better this year? what can we create that will be new and different? How can we refine our craft?” Both practical and creative, we love to ask these questions and take even greater joy in answering them by creating new and inspiring images.

So what’s the plan for 2016? Isn’t it obvious?

Make new work. Make photographs and images that we’ve never seen before and create content that can embody our aesthetic and the ideas and vision of our clients. And as always, we’ll do our best to share.

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crisman ellsworth creek

Hi everyone! We’re super happy to to announce that the story we shot back in February for The Nature Conservancy has finally been released. Usually when we get the call from TNC, we need to prepare ourselves to go to some far off place and this job was no exception (and neither was the one we just got back from… we’ll be talking more about that in a few months!). This job had us go to southeastern Washington to the Ellsworth Creek Preserve to photograph their operation.

I’m sure a lot of people are wondering why TNC would put a logger with a fallen tree on the cover of their magazine… and that’s a good question. I’ll try to explain things as simply as possible. Back in the day (about 100 years ago), logging companies we’re cutting down everything they could get their hands on. They’d just completely clear cut entire forests – sadly, this is still happening as you’ll see in one of the pictures below. After a few decades pass, trees would grow back but the forest would all be the same height. There would be no diversity in the ecosystem. So TNC is thinning out these second growth forests to allow sunlight to get through to the ground and allow a natural diversity in plant life and wildlife to take hold while also creating jobs in the local community. Here’s a link to the story which is more detailed and explains things much better than I could ever do. (http://www.nature.org/magazine/archives/beyond-the-timber-wars.xml).

I’ve gotta say that this was one of the toughest shoots we’ve ever worked on. It rained the whole time we were there.. which makes sense since it’s a rainforest but rain and photo gear don’t get along. The terrain was steep, slippery, and overgrown. Most of the time I was carrying a Profoto 7b pack and a small octabank through the forest and Chris had the camera and tripod. We were falling all over the place even with the spikes our contact had loaned us, all while trying to keep the gear dry. We took a beating but sometimes that’s what it takes to make great pictures. I’ll let the pictures below tell the story.

Russell Shippey, timber faller, cutting corridor to pull out trees in second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Russell Shippey, timber faller, walking up a tree he just fell in a second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Russell Shippey, timber faller, cutting corridor to pull out trees in second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

 

Russell Shippey, timber faller, cutting corridor to pull out trees in second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Russell falling a tree in a second growth forest at Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Russell Shippey, timber faller, cutting corridor to pull out trees in second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Russell Shippey, timber faller, cutting corridor to pull out trees in second growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Kurt Bower, log loader, standing on back of logging truck with full load of trees at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Kurt Bower, log loader, standing on back of logging truck with full load of trees at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Kyle Smith, TNC forest manager, overlooking the Ellsworth Creek Preserve , WA on 2/11/15.

Kyle Smith, TNC forest manager, overlooking the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Kyle Smith, TNC forest manager, taking measurments in old growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

Kyle Smith, TNC forest manager, taking measurements of an 11-foot-wide western red cedar at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Aerial views of the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/10/15.

The effects of clear cutting seen from the air neighboring the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Landscape of old growth forest at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/12/15.

Landscape of a healthy old growth forest. This is the scene TNC is trying to create by thinning the second growth forests. 

Tom Kollasch in old growth forest and with big cedars at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/12/15.

Tom Kollasch, TNC Willapa Program director, in old growth forest and with big cedars at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Darryl Waddle, choker setter, in the logging yard at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/13/15.

Darryl Waddle, choker setter, in the logging yard at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Rober walls, choker setter, in the logging yard at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, WA on 2/13/15.

Robert Walls, choker setter, in the logging yard at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

And here’s a few BTS shots from our time in Washington:

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.02.30 AMA clear cut and the border of the Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.03.15 AMThis is the machine that pulls the thinned trees out of the forest up to the lumber yard. It’s very heavy. The workers specifically said don’t stand under it…. Chris fell directly under it. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.03.40 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.03.56 AMWe drove down to Astoria to catch our plane to get aerial shots of the preserve. We had to stop here. 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.04.47 AMLighthawk is a non-profit organization that donates air time to conservancy efforts. Chris is doing business before taking off.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.04.24 AMGetting aerial shots in our Lighthawk flight. Apparently the air is really cold going 100mph and having your hand out there is uncomfortable.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.05.17 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.06.10 AMChris working with the crane operator in the lumber yard.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.02.55 AMAnd lastly, it was oyster season while we were there. These were the largest oysters we’ve ever had. They were the size of our hands. 

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crisman wild horses

Hey everyone! This years Communication Arts Photography Annual was just delivered here to our studio. We’re always excited when this issue falls on our desk – there’s always so much amazing work included. So we’re equally excited to announce that our “Wild Horses” photo was selected to be included in the Advertising section!

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 We also owe a big congrats to fellow group member, Andy Anderson, for scoring the cover this year with a beautiful shot from his book, SALT. And we can’t forget fellow shooters Richard Schultz, Hunter Freeman, and Leigh Beisch – so proud to be part of such a talent group with Heather Elder Represents.

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Questions? Comments? Let us know at @crismanphoto on Instagram and /crismanphoto on Facebook.

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chris crisman landscape american west

We’re just getting back to the studio after a long run of shoots that took us from the coast of California to the desert & mountains of the Southwest. It’s great to be back home in Philadelphia for a minute, but our recent adventures couldn’t help remind us of trips out west earlier this year and some brand new landscape work that we’re excited to share. From Arizona to Nevada, Utah to Wyoming – keep reading to see more new landscapes and behind the scenes…

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chris crisman yellowstone landscape shooting

There’s no doubt about it. We’re working like crazy this year, shooting all over the country – every destination as unique as the previous. With a pace like this, it can be hard to take a breath and reflect on the scenery around you as the car rolls on down the highway.

On our most recent trip out west, we were fortunate enough to have a spent a day traveling through and making photos in Yellowstone National Park. This travel day also took us on an incredible detour to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. When we’re shooting in places this naturally beautiful it’s hard not to be inspired to make great photos – at the bare minimum, it’s all we can do to show the landscape justice. As always, we made sure to shoot a few behind the scenes to share…

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Here it is! Our newest landscape, shot last month in the deserts New Mexico. I should start by explaining that this photo has been almost a year in the making. The idea was sparked in Chris’s mind about ten months ago when we traveled out to Cleveland Ohio for a shoot.

Traveling around the city and looking at all of the old school infrastructure, we were inspired to make a photo that paid homage to the legacy of industry. Even after we left Ohio, the inspiration stuck with us. Keep reading for more of the story behind this photo…

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Whew. What a crazy run. Thankfully it’s Friday and also the 12th day straight we’ve been working, traveling all over and making photos. This trip took us home base in Philly to New Mexico, Los Angeles, the Mojave desert, Washington DC, New York, and back to Philadelphia.

We braved the surprisingly freezing temps and deceiving sands of the desert to make a new body of landscape work, shot a practically extraterrestrial editorial assignment, and spoke about the history of Chris’s career all in the past few days. It all flew by and now that it’s done, here’s our double dose of photos and stories. Keep reading to see what’s kept us busy the past fourteen days…

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