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Dec 28, 2020
2020 saw me working in 14 states, creating new prints for my online gallery.
2020 has been a crazy year. That’s no secret. It all began with another Bassmaster tournament and the arrival of my first grandchild. Things looked bright!Then things quickly went downhill when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the country and threw everything into question.
I spent the time working on my online gallery, selling existing prints, sneaking into the swamps to create new works and launching a line of woodworking projects (more on that in the months to come). I spent lots and lots of time with my wife, and we’re fortunate enough to have a relationship that not only fared well but grew stronger during the isolation.
Finally, I received a revised schedule of Bassmaster tournaments, and I soon was on the road again.I stayed on the road almost constantly from the second week of June through the first week of December, putting more than 30,000 miles on my truck. It was nuts, with my longest consecutive road trip lasting six long weeks as I crisscrossed the South shooting Bassmaster tournaments and creating new prints.
2020 has been crazy and tiring, but it also was amazing. During my travels, I’ve created new fine-art prints from 15 states and traveling through many more. I slept in my mini camper in most of those states, waking up at the tops of mountains and beside gurgling streams.
And, along the way I’ve discovered some simply gorgeous landscapes. Scroll down to see 10 of my favorites from the year!
I climbed mountains in North Carolina, goated down to waterfalls in almost every state I visited, watched stunning sunrises and sunsets from Florida too the Canadian border, shot cool lighthouses in the New York and Detroit, visited three national parks, watched the Milky Way over the Ozarks.While I’m ready for 2020 to be in the rearview mirror, I can’t complain. I had the privilege of spending most of the year in God’s creation, either shooting photos for Bassmaster or creating fine-art nature prints.
On top of it all, I had the best year in print sales of my career — and I thank each and every one of you who purchased my work. Your business means the world to me!
2021 is almost here, and I’ve already got at least 20 trips on my calendar. It's going to be busy, but my hope for the new year is that 2020 has changed us all for the better. That we’ve learned to truly value those we love. That we’ve learned to live each day as if it’s our last.Happy New Year!
This is one my latest works, captured during a short break from my travels. It's a print I had visualized for months, but didn't have the right place to capture the scene in my head - until a paddle trip with my wife.
Even though I didn't get the shot on that kayaking trip, I returned a couple of weeks later in my regular boat to create a print that screams "South Louisiana!"
And those fall colors just seal the deal!
I was traveling through Arkansas between Bassmaster events, and I stayed three nights in the Buffalo National River. I spent most of my time searching out waterfalls, but on my second evening I was driving back to my mini camper after a busted sunset when I stopped to play around at a field full of fireflies.
After a test shot I chimped the back of my camera and saw the Milky Way — and I knew I had to get to this barn fast. I used an LED panel to light the barn, exposed for the Milky Way and captured one of my best nighttime photos ever!
And, yes, this is a one-shot exposure. Not a composition!
It's turned into one of my best sellers, too!
This was really an accidental photo: I was driving through Tennessee's wonderful Cherokee National Forest with my windows down in October when I heard the rush of water. So I pulled off the side of the road, grabbed my gear and worked my way down the mountain to what turned into two gorgeous waterfalls.
I like both photos, but this is my favorite because of the movement of the water down that slanted rock face with the gorgeous fall leaves littering the banks of the creek and the hint of autumn color in the background.
I was working a Bassmaster Elite Series event on Michigan's Lake St. Clair, and I was just bobbing around in the lake waiting on competitors to make the run across the lake so I could start shooting the fishing action.
The sun rose behind a haze that produced a perfect, golden ball, and I quickly started working to get the boat into position so I could tip the old St. Clair River Lighthouse.
It was so cool!
I was on my last day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this October when I drove down the Tennessee side of the mountain range — and came across this wonderful scene.
The brilliant fall colors in trees were complimented by the orange of the fallen leaves, and the flowing water of the gurgling creek was just icing on the cake!
I'm up hours before dawn each morning I work a Bassmaster event, so I get to see some amazing sunrises — but none were more spectacular than this one over New York's Lake Champlain. When I saw the first color on the horizon, I started looking for a great angle, and that's when I saw this cruiser with the wonderful name "Utopia II."
I couldn't think of a better foreground element, since "Utopia" perfectly fitted the resulting sunrise. It was simply stunning!
Baby Falls on Tennessee's Tellico River is no stranger to me: I've shot it several times. But I've never been there when there were autumn colors.
That changed in late October when I camped off the river. The colors were peak, but there was enough to really set off this shot.
I looked for a different angle, and found a set of huge boulders downstream. Reaching them required all of my goating skills, as the bank was extremely vertical, but when I set up I knew I had a winner!
I drove through New York's Adirondack Mountains back in the summer, and just before I reached my hotel I came across the wonderful Woods Falls. As I began scrambling down the banks to shoot this waterfall, I saw the old bridge, which is no longer used for traffic.
But it wasn't until I reached the bottom of the falls and looked back that I KNEW where I had to set up. So after capturing a couple of photos near the waterfall, I worked my way under the stone bridge and down the bank — which was no small feat because the rocks were wet and as slick as greased ice.
The effort was worth it! That old bridge framing the waterfall really makes this print pop!
Something you just have to do when arriving in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is drive to the top of Clingman's Dome for a sunset. Yes, there are always crowds up there, and I usually try to avoid those places — but Clingman's Dome is an exception.
The sunsets can be that amazing.
And I wasn't disappointed on this day. With all those people standing around me gawking at another stunning end of the day, I grabbed an iconic photo that really speaks to the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
Oh, and I was jaw-dropped, too. It was a wonderful time to be standing atop the national park.
BTW, I ended the day by sleeping in my mini camper atop Clingman's Dome. It was glorious!
Upstate New York has become one of my favorite places: It's just so beautiful.
On this particular morning, I was hurrying to meet my boater for another day of covering a Bassmaster event on the St. Lawrence River. The sun rose and cast crazy light through the clouds and haze, and I was watching it in my rearview mirror just wishing I was set up with a cool foreground.
That's when I passed this barn, which is part of a distillery near Clayton, N.Y. Yep, I hit the breaks and hurriedly grabbed my gear. I used my Nikon 300mm lens to compress the sun and the barn into the scene and shot as fellow team members drove by honking at me.
Honestly, I only saw the barn and the American flag when I was shooting. The words "Made in America" were hiding in the shadows until I began processing it.
But it was a perfect message for a wonderful sunrise in America!
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