ABP Showcase Slideshow: Environmental Active Lifestyle Imagery

I had a blast at the recent PDN Outdoor Photo Expo here in Salt Lake City. It was fantastic to attend seminars by many other talented photographers, and I had a great turnout to my presentation as well. For all those who couldn’t make it, I’ve included my feature slideshow below. The focus of my seminar was on the fusion of scenic landscape and active lifestyle imagery. Hint: Get the HD uploading, take a lunch/snooze/whatever break, and enjoy the show when you get back!

Published Cover: The Flyfish Journal

AdamBarkerPhotography image on the cover of the current Flyfish Journal

I am so pleased to have the cover of the current issue of the Flyfish Journal. If you’re a fly fisher and you’ve never had the privilege of thumbing through this magazine, drop everything and head to your local newsstand or fishing outfitter. Gorgeous imagery and insightful and entertaining writing adorn its pages. It truly is a step above much of the competition. This ranks right up there as one of my most prized and cherished editorial accomplishments.

Flyfishing Imagery: Best of 2010

Just wrapped up a quick slideshow sharing some of my favorite fly fishing images from 2010. Hope you enjoy!

Belize Part 2 (plus helpful photo editing tips)

Well that was a doozy! Finally through the Belize edit after countless hours of editing/processing/tearing my hair out/more editing/you get the point…check out the gallery here if you like.

Digital photography can be a monster. There’s a false understanding out there of digital photography giving us the opportunity to shoot as many images as possible, with little to no cost at all to the photographer. And really, that’s technically true. Although what many don’t understand is that it costs lots of time and energy to properly manage and maintain a viable, working library or archive of photos. If you don’t maintain a vigorous editing schedule on everything you shoot, before you know it you have terabytes of unsearchable imagery that just sits on a hard drive and keeps you from sleeping at night cause you know you have to take care of it.

Angler Mikey Weir, about 25 minutes into a lengthy battle with an 80+ lb. tarpon on the Belize River.

Angler Mikey Weir, about 25 minutes into a lengthy battle with an 80+ lb. tarpon on the Belize River.

What’s the point of all this drivel??? In short, be committed to editing your images on a regular basis. Below are a couple of tips that will help you to be a better editor.

1. Edit immediately: If you can, it’s best to get on it right after the shoot. Why? Well, for the obvious reason, the sooner you get started, the sooner it will be completed. The more important reason, however, is to get on the edit while the imagery and experience are still fresh in your mind. It’s best if you still have a connection to the shoot, with the conditions, feelings and conscious thoughts of the imagery still right there on the surface. Many times, if you wait to edit, you’ll be editing on only what you see, and sometimes, there’s more that goes into whether or not an image is worth keeping around.

Looking for permit tails in the last light of day near Robinson Point, Belize.

Looking for permit tails in the last light of day near Robinson Point, Belize.

2. Edit voraciously:What does this mean? In simple layman’s terms, it means don’t be afraid to hit that delete button. Especially as a pro, you must be judicious with your HD space. Don’t keep anything that won’t serve a purpose in the end. If it won’t add to your portfolio, suit a client’s needs or make for a viable stock image, get rid of it. One way I do this is by rating my images from 1 to 5 stars. Anything that doesn’t get a rating gets axed.

Up close and personal with the Silver King.

Up close and personal with the Silver King.

3. Edit continuously: If at all possible, try and get through the edit for a shoot in one sitting. I do this because I believe there is a certain flow to an edit session that contributes to the overall quality of the final edit. I know what I’ve been keeping and what I’ve been throwing out. I know if I see repeat images or concepts and avoid keeping too many of the same types of images that will just clutter my hard drive and selection process in the end. This will be difficult on larger shoots, but do your very best–it will pay off in spades.

Angler Jamie Connolly, reviving a permit after a worthy fight.

Angler Jamie Connolly, reviving a permit after a worthy fight.

4. Edit at 100%: I don’t mean to edit every image at 100%, but when you are deciding whether the image is a keeper or not, do yourself a favor and check the image for sharpness at 100%. It doesn’t matter if the image looks good at thumbnail size–it has to look good at 100%, cause that’s what end licensees/users will be checking. Aperture (and many other editing programs) has a nice loupe feature which allows you to zoom in at 100% on your image, following your mouse cursor around instead of zooming the entire image to 100%.

40 feet at 9 o'clock!! Mikey Weir spots a cruising permit near Robinson Point, Belize.

40 feet at 9 o'clock!! Mikey Weir spots a cruising permit near Robinson Point, Belize.

5. Edit to Edit: Not to process. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, and I struggle with it more than any other tip on here. It’s tough not to narrow in on the 5-star images right away and process those in your RAW software app or Photoshop. But be warned that if you get into this habit, you’ll end up with a couple of processed 5-star images and a whole bunch of other crap that never got properly edited. Get through the edit first, and then go back through and watch your images come to life as you work your processing mojo.

Trusty pangas soaking up golden late light just outside of Belize Harbor.

Trusty pangas soaking up golden late light just outside of Belize Harbor.

Hope these tips were helpful. If you found them helpful, please feel free to share with friends on Facebook or fellow tweeters on Twitter!

Belize!!! (part 1)

Ever since I can recall actually discovering (via magazine/movies) the world of saltwater fly fishing, I have harbored the dream of experiencing it for myself one day. In short, it lives up to the hype–and then some.

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Weir tossed it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Wier tosses it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Just as Alaska is to freeskiing, Augusta is to golf or Monaco is to racing, so too, is Belize to saltwater fly fishing. Crystal clear water, mile-long flats and significant numbers of varying species of big game fish nearly guarantee an epic experience when plying this country’s Caribbean waters. Belize is a mecca for anglers seeking tarpon, permit, bonefish, snook and a host of other species of fish.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

I was fortunate to be spending my first Belize experience aboard a 58′ boat called the Rising Tide. Being on a boat gave me prime, immediate access to the water at the best times of day to be shooting, which are always very early and much later than most plan for. Were we staying on land, it would have required much earlier/later departures and just wouldn’t have been possible. Many thanks to Don Muelrath and Mike Copithorne of Off the Hook Fly Fishing for their assistance in setting up the trip.

MIkey Weir cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

MIkey Wier cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

When all was said and done, I shot well over 5,000 images and even managed to catch my first ever permit. Awesome! Also key to this trip was my underwater housing from Aquatech. It’s a whole new world below the surface, and I was so pleased to be able to capture these fish in their native element. Also, many thanks to Patagonia, Simms, Winston Rods and Lamson Reels for helping out on the product side of things.

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize

The Difference is in the Details

This is so cliche, yet so applicable. I trust you’ve noticed the new blog and new website. Take a moment to delve into the details on the new site–we’re proud of it!

Kevin Wright examines the morning's hatch activity on the Duchesne River, UT

Kevin Wright examines the morning's hatch activity on the Duchesne River, UT


Right now in Utah the fishing is better than good. Hatches of big, nasty dry flies are prolific, and I find it hard to leave the water these days. Glancing through my fly fishing portfolio the other day, I noticed a distinct lack of intimate shots. I have plenty of “big picture/knock your socks off with a crazy cool expansive vista” shots, but I was really lacking in the more soulful, up close and personal images. In particular, I saw hardly any fish shots at all. In general, I get a little turned off to fish shots, just because it seems there are so many out there and it’s a bit harder for me to capture something unique.

Who wants a piece? A head on view of a healthy brown trout caught and released on the Duchesne River, UT

Who wants a piece? A head on view of a healthy brown trout caught and released on the Duchesne River, UT

A brown trout is brought to the net on the Duchesne River, UT

A brown trout is brought to the net on the Duchesne River, UT

Regardless, I set my mind to capture something different for me the other day on a stretch of private water with a friend. I was destined and determined to shoot intimate details. Why? Well, partly because I just need them in my portfolio. But really, much of the time, these intimate images are the ones that speak most deeply to those enthralled with the activity or experience being shot. I love fly fishing for the moment I have cradling the fish in my hand after a hefty fight. I love to coax the fish back to an adequate energy level, and I love feeling him swim away under his own power. I love the color in the fins and the gill plate. I even love scratching my knuckles on their teeth when removing my fly–never hurt us to feel a little pain as well just to keep things real.

A healthy brown trout caught and released on the Duchesne River, UT

A healthy brown trout caught and released on the Duchesne River, UT

And so, my challenge to you as you pick up your camera this week to capture something close to your heart is this: forget what you’ve seen, heard and witnessed from other people. Have a sit down with yourself about why you love what you love, and then do your best to convey that in your imagery. It’s no thoughtless, easy task. But when you nail it, it’s mighty satisfying. Happy shooting.

Brown trout fin in golden light.

Brown trout fin in golden light.

Brown trout fin and scales.

Brown trout fin and scales.

Visual Storytelling

It’s good to be back in Utah after a five-day fishing road trip through Idaho and Montana. It was an adventure for sure–weather was gnarly at times and fishing was challenging. Weather, however, always makes for interesting photos. While I wasn’t on assignment for this trip, I often take advantage of work/play vacations and treat them as if I were shooting a story for a publication. Practice, after all, makes perfect.

If you’re interested in being an editorial photographer, start looking for opportunities to work on your visual storytelling. With a background in fine art scenic imagery, it took me a while to look for the smaller, mundane photos that carry weight and meaning. I had trained myself to find that one iconic image that people would want hung on their wall large and in charge. Telling the whole story requires commitment and dedication on the part of the photographer. Many times, the grittiest moments carry the most impact in telling a story. Sometimes the most mundane or boring images tell a big part of the story, and it is the photographer’s job to make that image visually engaging. Regardless, you must have your camera close at hand and your head in the game at all times. Challenge yourself this week to tell a story through your imagery–you’ll be surprised how much you grow as a photographer.

Below is the story in images from this past week. Hope you enjoy!

Nick Granato enjoys the view from his drift boat along the South Fork of the Snake River

Nick Granato enjoys the view from his drift boat along the South Fork of the Snake River

Rainbow trout from the South Fork with a bit of leftover hardware...

Rainbow trout from the South Fork with a bit of leftover hardware...

Fishermen hanging out in the drift boat on the South Fork of the Snake River

Fishermen hanging out in the drift boat on the South Fork of the Snake River

On the road.

On the road.

Nick Granato preps for a day of fishing at sunrise on some water in Montana

Nick Granato preps for a day of fishing at sunrise on water in Montana

Matt Warner dips a line in paradise. AKA Montana.

Matt Warner dips a line in paradise. AKA Montana.

Early light and fog spotlights cabins near West Yellowstone, MT

Early light and fog spotlights cabins near West Yellowstone, MT

Fishermen wait for the take on Montana water.

Fishermen wait for the take on Montana water.

A fine stretch of Montana water, captured with Singh Ray's Gold N Blue Polarizer

A fine stretch of Montana water, captured with Singh Ray's Gold N Blue Polarizer

Sunrise along the Beaverhead River

Sunrise along the Beaverhead River

Viva El Tacobus! Dillon, MT

Viva El Tacobus! Dillon, MT

Exiting the revered Tacobus with full stomachs in Dillon, MT

Exiting the revered Tacobus with full stomachs in Dillon, MT

Matt Warner and Nick Granato enjoy some time in the drift boat on the Big Hole River, MT

Matt Warner and Nick Granato enjoy some time in the drift boat on the Big Hole River, MT

Brook Trout caught on the Big Hole River, MT

Brook Trout caught on the Big Hole River, MT

Matt Warner tries his hand at some wood cutting along the Big Hole River, MT

Matt Warner tries his hand at some wood cutting along the Big Hole River, MT

Matt Warner replenishes the streamer selection along the Big Hole River, MT

Matt Warner replenishes the streamer selection along the Big Hole River, MT

A hefty brown trout caught by yours truly in the Big Hole River, MT

A hefty brown trout caught by yours truly on the Big Hole River, MT

Fishermen relax on a bench with beer in hand after a lengthy float on the Big Hole River, MT

Fishermen relax on a bench with beer in hand after a lengthy float on the Big Hole River, MT