Ray Pitman

When I first met Ray I knew right away that I wanted to photograph him. He was working in a woodshed that he helped to set up in the basement of the retirement home that he was living in. Together with a couple other residents, they had set up a shop with enough tools that you could build just about anything you wanted. However, Ray like to work on something very specific. Pens. He would work with thin layers of wood, glue them together utilizing the different colors or grains to create a pattern, and then set them up on his lathe. He'd shape them into cylinders and hollow them out to insert the cartridge and points. Sometimes he would inlay small stones for decoration. They were gorgeous. And the fact that he was still doing this well into his eighties was equally impressive.

During the shoot we talked a bit. He told me about how he worked as a business mentor after retiring. How as a young man during World War II he would follow the Marines onto the beaches in the Pacific to build airstrips. I asked him if he ever sold any of his pens. "No," he said. "I make them just for the enjoyment of it."  

The Dancing Goat

The Dancing Goat is local dairy here in Tampa specializing in products made with their with fresh goat's milk. In addition to their milk, yogurt, and kefir, they make wonderful cheese. I've been working with them to help showcase their products as they grow from selling at local farmer's markets to being carried in retailers like Locale Market in St. Petersburg. 

Do yourself a favor and pick up some of their feta. The saltiness of the cheese pairs perfectly with sweet watermelon. Mix in a little chopped basil or mint and you have the most amazing salad perfect for summer! 

Eckerd College Golf Team

A couple weeks ago I got to spend a few hours with the Eckerd College golf team. We set up a seamless backdrop to do some quick portraits outside the pro shop, then headed out to the course to photograph these guys in action. Here's a few images from our time together.

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More than a portrait.

Portraiture is so much more than just taking someone's photo. It's a way to tell their story and I try to treat it as such. We tend to think of photography as a two-dimensional media, but there can be a great amount of depth in a photo. It can be felt through the sense of emotion portrayed by the subject with a look or pose. Or it can be more literal, through the incorporation of the subjects environment, creating layers in the scene. The latter is something I enjoy playing with. Incorporating a scene into the image can be like writing a story. A photographer, just as a writer, chooses the setting, the time of day, the angles and so on. And everything works to create a narrative. Being able to share that narrative is something very special to me as a photographer.

The photo below is a portrait I took of Bill. He built his own house and the workshop where this was photo was taken. He hunts and does his own taxidermy. And he is restoring a Ford Model T. Being independent and self-sufficient is a way of life for him. And one that is becoming more rare in an age where everything is made to be as easy and accessible as possible. Having him hold the wrench and including the deer and tool bench in the background, all helps to paint a more complete picture. So don't forget to look past your subject. Look at what surrounds them. It might just be as important as the person you came to photograph. 

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A family of Hunters

In Missouri, hunting is more than just an sport, it's a tradition. And one that gets passed down through the family. David shot his first buck when he was just 11 years old, something he described as a "right of passage in our family."

The first time we met, David took me out through his family's farm, 300 plus acres of fields, forest and streams in western Missouri. It's not so much a functioning farm, as it is a hunting preserve. The crops planted are mostly there to feed the deer. We took a quick tour of the property, scouting a few locations to take some photos. We were accompanied by Levi, the family dog, who was happy to demonstrate his tracking and retrieving abilities. We had planned on taking advantage of the sunrise for the shoot, but had to make do with fog and misty rain instead. In the end, though, it worked out and we came away with some great photos.  

I came back a week later to photograph his twin daughters, Audrey and Taylor. David hasn't been shy about passing on what his father taught him. Keeping with tradition, both shot their first deer at age 11, and had their first turkeys the next year. According to the girls, however, their favorite is pheasant hunting. They especially like getting to watch Levi work. This time the weather was more accommodating and we got a great set of photos with a different feel from the week before.

Overdive Magazine

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I recently worked on an assignment for Overdrive Magazine. They needed someone to head out to North Zulch, TX and meet up with Jimmy Lessley, an owner-operator who hauls oil and photograph him for the cover. First off, let me say this is the kind of job I enjoy most. Not because it was an opportunity to shoot my first cover (which was awesome), but because it took me somewhere I had never been to, meet someone new, and watch him do something I had never seen. There aren't many jobs that give you that kind of opportunity.

I met up with Jimmy at about 1:00 in the afternoon. It was about 100 degrees out there and lots of bright sun. Not exactly ideal conditions for a photographer. But hey, you got to work with what you got. Jimmy talked me through the process while he pumped about 10,000 gallons from the well into his truck. And he was more than willing to let me chase hime around with a camera, assistant, and soft box on a stick. In the end we were able to tame the sun a bit and come away with some great shots that really show what he does.

Quick iPhone shot near the exit to North Zulch, TX

Quick iPhone shot near the exit to North Zulch, TX

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Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is an amazing city. I have had the opportunity to visit twice now (both times were to celebrate weddings, actually). But I made time to get out and see the city as well. There is so much history and character there. I can't wait to get back. In the mean time, here are a few photos (all were shot and edited on my iPhone) from my time walking around town.

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Marfa, TX

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A while ago my wife and I headed out to Marfa, TX. Apparently it is THE place to go, especially if you are a hipster or into art or something like that. But we heard great things and wanted to get the heck out of Dallas for a few days anyway. It's a bit of a drive (almost 9 hours) and it is in the middle of nowhere (literally), but turned out to be more than worth it. There isn't much there, but that's kind of the whole point. Spending most of my time in cities, it was eye opening and refreshing to see that much open space. Top that off with a laid-back attitude, great food, and nice locals, and you you have yourself a decent getaway spot.  

So here a few photos from around town. And yes, that is a Prada store, although I believe it's just an art installation, not the real thing. After Marfa we headed over to Big Bend National Park, so I have few photos to share from there as well. So don't forget to check back!

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