Fifty States Project: Arizona

chris crisman 50 states project arizona

We’re moving to the next great state on our list, Arizona. The Crisman team has traveled to Arizona a handful of times to shoot in the past few years, but the one assignment (over the course of two trips) that has really stuck with us was shooting a story on forest fires, logging, and forest conservation for The Nature Conservancy.

chris crisman 50 states project arizona

The crux of this assignment was to shoot the fire itself – something that a freak snowstorm in early April made impossible to do. Fire or not, we still made portraits, braving the elements to photograph essential people and landscapes for the story.

chris crisman 50 states project arizona

Ultimately, our editors at The Nature Conservancy decided it was best it we went back in warmer weather in search of a real fire to shoot – which, thanks to the help of our partners at the National Forest Service, we obviously found.

chris crisman 50 states project arizona

We owe a big thank you especially to Mary Lata, for taking us into the blaze itself, and her crew for watching over us and making sure we made it out of there safe and sound (albeit a little bit smoky).

chris crisman 50 states project arizona

Did you miss our original stories on Catching Fire for The Nature Conservancy? Take a look back in the blog archives at the two posts detailing our adventures: Catching Fire I and Catching Fire II.

Stay tuned for the next 47 states… Questions? Comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Nature Conservancy: Cutting a Clear Path

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The Escalante is remote, vast, and wild. From the desert floor to well over 10,000 feet, this region follows the course of the Escalante river, a twisted, winding, and beautiful river stretching from southern Utah into Arizona. This unparalleled beauty is under siege though – invasive species threaten the vulnerable ecosystem of the river and pose a threat to all plant and animal life in the area, including those who take it upon themselves to remedy the situation.

In the fall of 2013 we spent a week in the Escalante, shooting stills and motion for The Nature Conservancy. Our goal was not only to document the people involved and their conservation efforts, but to bring the river itself to life, a prominent player in the cast of characters that make up this wildly remote and beautiful landscape.

Our experiences in the Escalante were so diverse that we couldn’t limit the story to one blog post. Over the month of April, we’ll be sharing different parts of our behind the scenes story. Today we’re excited to share some of the images that ran in the story as well as behind the scenes from our adventure. Keep reading for more…

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Catching Fire – Part II

chris crisman nature conservancy arizona forest fire

Catching Fire – a beautiful yet dangerous subject, unpredictable and temperamental, photographing fire should always be approached with caution. When our editors at Nature Conservancy called asking us to shoot the ecosystem of wildfires and fire prevention in Arizona, we couldn’t say no. At that moment in February we had no idea the assignment would take us twice to the southwest, photographing all over the state, in blizzards and controlled burn fires. From loggers to scientists, firefighters to the homeowners they protect; we had the unique opportunity to meet and photograph people from all walks of life who have been affected by the climate of fire in which they live. It was truly a wild ride.

The second part of our story took place months later, when Chris traveled back to Arizona to shoot the real thing – Fire. As winter transitioned to spring in the Southwest, the snowfall of our previous adventure faded and fire season began. We knew that with warmer and drier weather developing, forest operations would begin and our chances of capturing a controlled burn would increase. Ultimately, our success in capturing a controlled burn depended on factors beyond our control – wind, weather, temperature – we were again at the mercy of Mother Nature to make the photos we needed. So what did we do? We hopped on a plane back to Arizona with our fingers crossed. Keep reading to see how our second adventure panned out… (more…)

Catching Fire – Part I

chris crisman nature conservancy arizona forest fire

Catching Fire – a beautiful yet dangerous subject, unpredictable and temperamental, photographing fire should always be approached with caution. When our editors at Nature Conservancy called asking us to shoot the ecosystem of wildfires and fire prevention in Arizona, we couldn’t say no. At that moment in February we had no idea the assignment would take us twice to the southwest, photographing all over the state, in blizzards and controlled burn fires. From loggers to scientists, firefighters to the homeowners they protect; we had the unique opportunity to meet and photograph people from all walks of life who have been affected by the climate of fire in which they live. It was truly a wild ride.

Since there’s so much to share in this story, we’re splitting up our coverage into two parts that represent our two trips to Arizona. Part I will cover our first trip in February of 2013 – a race against mother nature, a freak snowstorm, and few hikes through snow-covered mountains. As always, no matter the circumstance we did what we do best, we made photos. Keep reading to see more…

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