Heroes of Conservation – Jeff Gorr

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

Earlier this year we received a call from our editors at Field and Stream magazine to photograph their Heroes of Conservation finalists for 2013. Since 2005, the magazine has been profiling and recognizing a handful of dedicated sportsmen and women who work to protect, improve, or create wildlife habitat and embody the spirit of conservation.

We’ve had the honor of meeting and photographing some of these heroes in the past, (you may remember we blogged about the shoots last fall) and this year was particularly significant because we were given the task to photograph all six of the Heroes. Taking us from Wisconsin to Maryland, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oklahoma in the span of two weeks, this assignment was a whirlwind tour of the country. We wrapped up these shoots having met and made great photos of six inspiring conservationists. We’re excited to share the stories and the behind the scenes for each shoot – kicking it off with our first Hero: Jeff Gorr, the chairman of The Sheboygan County Greenwing Day. Keep reading for more of our adventure with Jeff…


We were off to an early start in Wisconsin, meeting up with Jeff and then traveling out to a restored wetland project that he uses as duck and goose hunting grounds.

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

As with almost any of our Field & Stream shoots, we jumped right into the thick of it, setting up our tripod right in the marsh with Jeff while he practiced a few duck calls for the camera. Just out of frame and directly next to me is our lighting for this shot, perched precariously on the bank of the pond and tightly held onto to prevent any falls into the water. Pond scum on tripod legs isn’t so bad – pond scum on an octabank is not as easy to clean.


To get a bit more technical about our setup, we needed a light that was portable and easy to move around, yet still could have a nice contrasty and shaping output on our subject. We opted for a small, 36” octabank and positioned it just outside of the pond, at approximately a 45° angle to our subject. We wanted to work just above the ambient exposure, using the sun as a natural back-light, but also providing a base exposure for the entire scene. Firing the octabank at 1500 w/s, we were using our flash exposure to add some extra emphasis and shape to the subject.

cc2013028 - Jeffrey Gorr photographed for Field & Stream Magazin

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

Once we knocked out our first  shot with Jeff and his dog, we setup for a few more portraits nearby in some deeper reeds. We kept the light similar, trying to focus it very directly on our subject.

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

After shooting a handful of the options at the pond, we moved to a nearby field where Jeff hunts geese and setup for another portrait.

He was quick to remind us that even though his goose decoys may not look believable up close from the camera’s point of view, no geese he’s hunting ever manage to get that close. Guess Jeff is a good shot.

chris crisman field and stream heroes of conservation

Our shoot even came with a bonus lesson on gun safety for yours truly – and of course a great opportunity for a bad-ass light test photo. Don’t worry, it was not loaded.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more new portraits and behind the scenes from our adventures shooting the 2013 Heroes of Conservation.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

13 replies to “Heroes of Conservation – Jeff Gorr”

  1. Thanks, great post. LOVE the lighting diagram, complete with reeds. The photos ain’t bad, either 🙂
    Love the muted palette applied in retouching, you guys are as good on the computer as you are in the field, er, swamp.

  2. Great shots! I especially enjoyed the image of Jeff aiming his gun in the air. That light is fantastic!

  3. Not to get nit-picky, Robert, but true gun safety wouldn’t allow you to have your finger on that trigger unless you were ready to pull it. 😉

    Love these BTS posts. Well done. Keep it going! ~ Mark

  4. Great work! Love the light. Robert there is one part og gun safety that you need to work on. Keep you bugger hook off the bang switch until the moment of truth!

  5. Robert nice shot Im glad I was a part of that shoot it was a lot of fun and Im glad I was able to see you holding that 12 gage shot gun I hope you had fun learning about the gun safty

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