Bass fishing and landscape photography - the perfect match

"Sunrise Utopia" is just one of the many fine-art prints produced as I travel the country with Bassmaster.

Work as Bassmaster photographer takes me all over the United States

I travel more than 20 weeks each year, producing amazing fine-art photography prints of the natural beauty throughout the United States. It's a wonderful life, but I've been asked how I can stay on the road so much.

Well, that's where bass fishing comes in.

You see, I'm on a team of photographers that photographs Bassmaster fishing tournaments. The organization hires us to go out on the water and shoot photo galleries of all the action at its Elite Series and Opens events, which take place from Florida to the Canadian border and from Texas to the East Coast each year.

While some only work the Elite Series tournaments, I work both circuits. Think of the Elites as the pro league and the Opens as the B league feeder system. This means I work upwards of 20 events each year.

As a Bassmaster photographer, I capture on-the-water action like Elite Series pro Paul Mueller fighting this big bass to his boat during an event on Alabama's Neely Henry Lake.

I often stay on the road for several weeks at a time. In fact, 2021's season was canceled and then rescheduled for the fall because of Covid, and the new lineup meant I drove all over the Southeast for 10 of 12 weeks. 

So how does that equate to beautiful nature prints for my online gallery?

Well, I'm a contract photographer for Bassmaster. And that means I only work for the organization during events.

So once I wrap up my work at a bass-fishing tournament, I am free to do whatever I want until the next event.

So when we have multiple tournaments over consecutive weeks, I usually stay on the road — traveling between the two tournament venues and exploring the back roads of America along the way.

That's how I discovered the amazing Tellico River, for instance. I was between tournaments, and I drove the Cherohala Skyway from North Carolina to Tennessee, and saw a sign pointing the way to what has become my favorite wild river in the eastern United States.

I discovered the gorgeous Tellico River while driving from one Bassmaster tournament to the next event.

I've been so fortunate to photograph natural beauty in 22 states while traveling for Bassmaster. That includes almost every state east of the Mississippi (I still need to mark off Illinois, Indiana, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey).

I even take my mini camper on the road sometimes, using it as a base of operations when I'm in nature photographer mode.

For instance, during a seven-week Bassmaster trip based in the Southeast I would work a tournament and then retreat to the lower Appalachian Mountains for a few days of camping and relaxation.

I didn't make reservations for campgrounds: Instead, I just set up in the national forests wherever I found an open spot. It was absolutely amazing!

I sometimes drag my mini camper around to serve as a mobile HQ between Bassmaster tournaments. Here I'm in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall.

I even slept atop Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall of 2020. I simply finished shooting a beautiful sunset, waited for the cars to clear out of the parking lot and climbed into my camper for the night.

It was magical waking up inside the morning clouds that covered Clingman's Dome!

I spent the rest of the day shooting amazing fall colors before pulling into another parking lot within the park (this one at about 5,500 feet elevation), cooking dinner on my travel grill and getting another amazing night of sleep.

I created this amazing sunset print just before climbing in my mini-camper atop Clingman's Dome.

After spending the night on Clingman's Dome, I spent a wonderful day capturing the fall beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I used to fly to events in the northern regions of the country, but I began driving to all the events in 2020. And that's opened up even more opportunities.

This year, I've driven to Upstate New York twice. The first time, I coupled a trip through New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine with two Bassmaster Elite Series events. This was just an amazing time seeing New England for the first time.

My wife and I booked a cottage just outside of Acadia National Park and ended our New England experience with three days in that amazing place!

I created "Lily Pond Stones" while driving New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway.

"Moon Over Bass Harbor Marsh" was one of my favorite prints from Acadia National Park.

My Bassmaster work has even taken me to South Dakota, and that opened up a whole new world for me. I had never been to the western plains, so I was blown away by the beauty there.

It was during this event that I captured the most amazing sunset I've ever witnessed. The owner of the lodge at which our team was staying offered to take me out to the family farm to a special place, and I jumped at the opportunity.

We arrived at a ring of stones along the banks of Lake Oahe. My host explained that the rocks were the remnants of American Indian fire rings. I set up to include a couple of the larger stones just in time to watch as the setting sun turned the clouds brilliant colors. It was amazing!

Capturing this South Dakota sunset was made possible only because of my work with Bassmaster.

I even added prints from the gorgeous Badlands National Park because of this trip. I spent a day touring the moonscape with my buddy and mentor James Overstreet, creating some wonderful prints of the stark beauty found within the borders of that park.

The Badlands stop actually sparked a desire to photograph every national park in the Continental U.S. Since that 2018 visit, I've added a number of national parks to the list of those included in my gallery.

Here are the parks I've visited solely because my Bassmaster work put me in those regions:

I plan to revisit Badlands NP next year, as well as add Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota to my list when the Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Lake Oahe.

Badlands National Park is just one of the seven national parks I've photographed while on the road working for Bassmaster.

I absolutely love what I do for a living, but life on the road has its challenges. I've logged 69,000 miles on my truck since January 2020. Road weariness is a real thing: I'm often just whipped when I finish a long drive.

I also miss family and family events. For instance, my first grandchild was born while I was working a Bassmaster Elite Series event in Florida.

However, there are so many positives. And the ability to photograph much of the United States is just one.

I also get to spend my off time at home, photographing my Louisiana swamplands, spending quality time with my wife, children and granddaughter, and traveling with my wife. As I tell people, when I'm home, I'm home.

I generally am off the Bassmaster trail by October 1, and don't start up the next season until mid-January at the earliest. My wife and I generally take a long trip (for instance, this year we're going to Colorado in October) to catch up and reconnect. And I often add in another road trip with photography buddies, with the sole goal of capturing new work for my gallery.

While I'm usually fatigued from my months on the road with Bassmaster, I'm usually going stir crazy by the time the off season ends.

And then I do it all over again.

I'm one of the luckiest men in the world! 

Visiting Acadia National Park was a dream come true, and it only happened because I was in Upstate New York for a Bassmaster tournament.