Love to Explore

Many of us spend most of our days trapped inside four walls with a window, if we are lucky. While pounding away at a keyboard, we sometimes allow our minds to drift away to fantasies spending the day outside in the sun with the sounds of nature as our soundtrack. Yet, there are some who don’t have to dream of an escape because the outdoors is their office. One of these lucky individuals is Mia Anstine.

Mia Anstine

Mia grew up in a small town in southern Colorado. It was there that she learned she loved to explore the nature that surrounded her. Mia’s natural instinct to explore isn’t a surprise. She comes from a long line of hunters. Growing up her father hunted for food and her mother grew a garden and taught her how to fish. Their lives were simple and focused on the basic necessities of life. But it wasn’t until Mia and her mother moved to San Diego that she realized how fortunate she was as a child.

Many people in urban areas never notice birds, plants, or trees. But I quickly learned that looking hard enough led to finding wild places and outdoor areas to explore.

Mia Anstine

As she grew up her life began to take her further away from nature but no matter where she lived there were always places to go, explore, and learn about. Sometimes it would just take a little longer and she would have to wander a little further. Shortly after college Mia realized that she missed the country life and after moving to Texas and then Oregon she returned to her hometown in Colorado.

near Durango, Colorado

Even though she returned to her small town life in the mountains that she greatly missed she didn’t pursue a career in the outdoors.  As a highly successful salesperson for a building company, she worked tirelessly to stay in the top ranks. This left her little time to do what she loved, hunting. She was a single working mother like so many others that wanted to provide for her family. She wanted to be able to put food on the table like her father and his father before him. So, Mia began to head out on solo hunts on the weekend.  Sometimes her little girl would tag along and carry her shotgun for bird hunting.

The mother-daughter time was priceless, and the outdoors was a welcomed break from my non-stop commissioned sales job. The outdoors is good for your soul.  

Mia Anstine

It wasn’t until Mia met her now-husband, who owns an outfitting business, that she began to transition away from sales and into working in the outdoors. It all began when he was short a hunting guide.  Knowing that Mia was a good hunter he asked if she was willing to help. She agreed to fill in and that was the first step in her career as an advocate for the outdoors.


These days, I make a little less money than I did when I was the top salesperson for a large corporation, but everything I do to encourage others is empowering and brings me joy. It’s so rewarding. In all things I do, my mission is to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, cook, eat, survive, create and live life positively.

Mia Anstine

Jesse Eisenberg : NY Observer

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Hi everyone! Short and sweet post for you today. Back in July we got another call from the NY Observer. We love getting their calls because you never know who they’re going to have for us to shoot. They’ve given us Kevin Spacey, Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Kline, and a few others in the past. If you haven’t seen them, there are posts for each. Check them out!

This time it turned out to be Jesse Eisenberg and we were super stoked on this one. I LOVE movies. I’ve seen every movie ever. So yeah.. I celebrate his entire catalog… He’s been in a ton of stuff. He played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Zombieland is probably my favorite of his but Adventureland was great too. He’s also playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (!). Can’t wait! Anyways, back to it. He was great to photograph. Super generous with his time and very easy to talk to. The shoot went smoothly and we’re all very happy with the pictures. Many thanks to Jesse, the Observer, and the Library Hotel in NY for letting us use their roof. Enjoy!

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And of course, some BTS:

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Chris is pretty relaxed on set sometimes.

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And yours truly sitting in for another light test.

Nature Conservancy: The Clean Cut

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. 

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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.

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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. 

Featured In: Communication Arts Photography Annual 56

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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.

2014 in Review – Our Best Work

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We can’t believe that it’s already time to close the books on 2014. Forgive the cheesy expression, but it literally felt like only yesterday that we were gearing up for the year and jumping into our first shoots in January. In keeping with tradition from last year, we felt it was necessary to pause and take a look back through the images we’ve created this year. It’s been a tough edit – we tried to pick our top 10, but couldn’t stop there and landed at 13. We’ve made some many photos that we’re happy with and have to leave out a few that we’re not able to share quite yet. That being said, we wanted to share our favorites thus far, the best of the best.

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

No collection of images would be fit to show without a proper thank to you everyone involved in the process – including our wonderful clients from all over the globe, the extremely dedicated and talented crew who have helped produce these shoots, and of course our subjects themselves. Thank you, we couldn’t have done this without you.

Did we miss anything? Any of your favorites not included? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and/crismanphoto!

2014 – A New Year

chris crisman 2014

2014, It’s here.

In what felt like the blink of an eye 2013 has passed and we’re looking ahead at a brand new year. Although they flew by at an unprecedented pace, the past twelve months have been very good to us and afforded us countless opportunities to explore new places, meet new people, collaborate with countless talented individuals, and share our work and insights into this wild world we’re a part of. We’ve crossed off a few states on the list, traveled to unique and stunningly beautiful places, and of course captured and shared our thoughts and experiences along the way.

To be honest, at this point – after three years of writing on the blog, we don’t really know any other way to do it. Not every assignment we take or every photo we make ends up on the internet, but I can assure you that we’re always considering and finding new ways to showcase and share the incredible variety of experiences we welcome on a day to day basis.

There’s photography, cameras and gear, retouching, studio, location, travel, tech, business, creativity, and whatever the hell else we feel like sharing. But the big questions looking ahead at 2014 are: What else? What are we missing? What can we do better? Where can we grow? What else can we share? Who else can we collaborate with?

The answers are simple; just let us know.

2013 in Review – Best of the Blog

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We write a lot of blog posts. Whether it’s two or three a week, there’s 52 weeks in a year and it’s very easy to do the math and realize that I spend a lot of time with WordPress open, hashing out the next story or recalling tales from our latest adventure. I blog at the studio, I blog in the car, sometimes maybe I’m even blogging on set… and lately I’ve been finding that I get my best blogging done up in the air – the lack of distractions certainly helps me focus and hone my attention on crafting a story that’s actually worth reading. Hopefully it works.

Continuing our series of wrapping-up 2013, we felt it would only be fitting to comb through the archives and pick our favorite blog posts of the past year. If you’ve missed them before now is your chance to get reacquainted and most importantly enjoy our best of the blog.

chris crisman photography portfolio new printed portfolio

We shared a look into our brand new completely redesigned portfolio for 2013.

chris crisman photography how we travel tips and tricks
We took an analtyical look at how we travel and how to make it as efficient and awesome as possible.

chris crisman photography studio manager meditation
We shared the first of many Studio Manager Meditations on the subject of coiling cables.

chris crisman advertising director aarp commercial
We shared a look into Chris’s debut as a director with 4 commercial spots for AARP.

chris crisman three years studio manager robert luessen
I reflected on what it means to be a studio manager for three years.

chris crisman behind the scenes west adventure
We live-blogged a week of shooting and traveling out west this summer.

chris crisman tech post storage backup archiving
We got our geek on and explained the in and outs of our archival and storage system at the studio.

chris crisman nature conservancy arizona forest fire
We shared the story of Chasing Fire while going behind the scenes shooting for The Nature Conservancy.

chris crisman suitcase girl portrait
We shared the making of Suitcase Girl, a photo of ours that has been five years in the making.

crisman san antonio tourism
We went in-depth and explored what it took to create this unforgettable ad campaign for the city of San Antonio

So there you have it – our top 10, in no particular order, from the great year that 2013 has been. Looking forward we have a few drafts of blog posts on the table and a ton of new projects and images to share in the coming year, but we’re always open to suggestions. Just drop us a line and let us know.

Have a suggestion? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and/crismanphoto!