The Drake Magazine

As a photographer I’m very confident in my abilities but rarely fully satisfied with results, always thinking they could be better. Which, in my opinion, is a positive thing. This is one of the rare exceptions that I was very satisfied with an image, so to see it go to a great home is also very gratifying. If you know fly fishing then you know The Drake Magazine and it’s high standards for writing and photography. They aren’t like most other publications that just post pics of people holding the big fish they just caught. You also have to appreciate their style of shit talking to the rest of the industry. They know their niche. In the upper right corner of every cover it reads “Seven bucks. $14 for bait fisherman”. The other thing that makes me really happy about this shot is it was made during a great day on the river with friends, not a set-up photo shoot.

Click here to order a copy of The Drake or hit me up if you’d like a print.

Click here for more of my fly fishing photography

Fly Fishing - Eastern Sierra

Fly fishing is relaxing. That’s obvious. Everyone knows this. It’s also extremely difficult. Both of these facts are the reason why I love shooting it, because the relaxation and difficulty also apply to the photography. And it gives you a great excuse to hang out in some of the most beautiful locations. Seriously though, it’s hard. There are so many factors that go into finding the right place to shoot from in relation to the fisherman, which is constantly changing. Every time the fisherman moves, you have to move in order to get him into a place that will read in the frame. You can’t stop the flow of water, depth of the river, the light, weather, or if the fish are going to bite. There is that old saying that people jump at the chance to use about weather in the mountains that “if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes”. It’s true though. The weather and light are constantly changing, which means that the position you worked so hard to get into for a shot is good one minute and gone the next. You’re constantly having to reposition. I’m not complaining. More just thinking out loud about all the reasons why I love it. All of the variables are enticing and make it that much better when you get a shot that you’re really happy with. Screw sitting in a studio.

On another note, I’m really starting to loves the Eastern Sierra. So much of my time is spent in the mountains of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. And I consider them top notch, but the more time I spend in the Sierra, it becomes obvious how much they have to offer year round. I’ve been there quite a few times in the past month and am already itching to go back.

Click here to see more of my adventure photography.

Trail Running - San Diego

Had a great time last month shooting some trail running for San Diego Magazine. Besides being in beautiful locations, it was interesting talking to the guys who are both ultra-runners. Hearing about their experiences, techniques, and eating habits was very eye opening. Looking at these images again really makes me appreciate living in San Diego.

Bonus on this shoot was needing a last minute stand in runner for the 3rd location because of a cancelation, I was able to use Emily (wife). Eagle Rock is a very cool place that we were pumped to check out.

To see more athletic imagery click here.

Fly Fishing - Kern River

It blows my mind that I never bothered to explore the Kern River up until recently. Being only 4.5 hours from San Diego, it's a gem. In fact, I already regret posting about it, because I don't want anyone else to go there. It's hotter than hell in the summer, so most of the action has to be early morning and late late afternoon. Still haven't been up there in the winter, but can only imagine it's beautiful. Probably pretty sleepy too. 

Click here for more of my fishing/adventure photography

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

It's only been a year+ since this trip and I'm finally getting around to posting about it. Have been back several times since. Wonder how many other trips I have sitting on my hard drive? Jackson Hole is top notch. Really top notch. The more I go back, the better it is, and the amount of time we actually spend in town is less and less. Grand Teton National Park and everything else that surrounds town is phenomenal. The hiking, camping, fishing, etc, is so good. And on this particular trip we did all of that. Up the middle Teton to be exact. A very different type of backcountry climbing than I'm used to. So much of it is just huge boulder fields. Which means that you spend a lot of time going from rock to rock, or scrambling. Not my favorite style of hiking, but what an incredible trip. The Tetons have to be the most picturesque range in the USA. The way they rise up from the the valley floor is so dramatic. They look so massive from afar, and even bigger when you're right up close. Not sure how we got so lucky, but it was perfectly sunny at the summit without an ounce of wind. That can't happen too often?  As I'm writing this it's snowing in Jackson Hole, and I can't wait to get back up there.  The snowboarding there is so good. You'd have to put it up there as some of the best in the country, especially when you really get to know the mountain. This is the worst thing I've written in a while. Sorry. 

Backpacking the Lost Coast

This trip had been a long time in the making. It was just a matter of getting the schedules of three different people in three different cities, to match. Luckily it did, because the Lost Coast in northern California is top notch. I left San Diego and drove north to pick up a friend in LA.  From there we continued on up to Morro Bay, where we stayed overnight to take advantage of a breakfast spot I had been previously very impressed with (my first time there they threw down a solid eggs benedict). Only this time, not so much. Oh well. Afterward, we kept driving north with a stop in Gilroy for some garlic ice cream and lots of dried fruit for the hike. Next stop was SFO to pick up the final piece of our trio, who flew in from Denver, and was lucky to get through security. Pressed for time, we booked it up to Shelter Cove, which  is a small and very remote town about 5 hours north of San Francisco. Didn't get there till about midnight, and decided to just sleep on the beach to be ready for the 7am shuttle. Which takes you about two hours north or south, depending on which section of the trail you want to hike. And it's a not a smooth two hours, so it won't be a portion of the trip you enjoy, but whatever. That all goes away when you get dropped off at the trail head (beach). Right away, you can tell that you're in for a good time. Some people bang it out in a day. Others take their time, which in my opinion, is the only way to do it. Otherwise you miss out on  some incredible camping. We were lucky enough to find some places where there was nobody around for miles. Literally. You'll also miss out on the opportunity to harvest fresh mussels at low tide, which happened to be early in the mornings for us. So we had mussels every morning for breakfast. Yup. There isn't a ton of elevation gain, as most of the "trail" is on the beach. But that doesn't make it any easier. You'll be hiking on anything from fine sand, to large boulders, with only small sections of actual packed trail. A couple things to be careful of, are the tides, and water sources. There are definitely some places to get stuck at high tide. And if that happens, you can get seriously screwed. Just don't be an idiot though. Bring a good map, check the tide charts, and you'll fine. There are plenty of things to do if you need to wait out the tide. Napping included. You'll see plenty of dead things along the way. We sure did. And it's bear country, so be aware. We hiked for a few hundred yards along fresh bear tracks. You can see in the last couple pictures what they did to the beached whale. No good. I know people have done this hike with their dogs. And I really wanted to bring mine, but am glad I didn't. The sand along the coast is brutal. Even walking on it in bare feet isn't fun. If you are going to bring your dog, make sure they wear booties. This won't be the longest hike you overdo, but it's very unique, especially for the U.S. The terrain and scenery is constantly changing, so you never get bored. At one point, my buddy actually found human remains. Full on skull and bones. We later reported it to the Ranger, who told us that the area is an ancient indian burial ground. So there's that. 

Spear Fishing-Catalina Island

Hard to have a bad time sailing to Catalina Island. In fact, it seems impossible to have a bad time there, period. It's a special place. If you've never been, change that. Summer time is great because it's bumping with people. And winter is just as good, when it's quiet and sleepy. Either way you win. We were out there last month, and spent just about the whole time in the water looking for fish. 


Boulder, Colorado-Trail running

If you live in Boulder, Colorado, then chances are you spend some time outdoors. It's a town that's just as famous for being active, as it is for marijuana. Which seems kind of contradictory, but whatever. I've been a fan of Boulder (and the rest of Colorado) for a long time now. So on my last visit, I made it a point to shoot some trail running. Red Rocks Trail is a cool spot with a great backdrop for this type of thing. The shoot was a lot of fun despite having one Elinchrom strobe shit out on us about 3 minutes in. Luckily, I also had some brand new Broncolor gear that I was testing. Huge fan of it, by the way. Looking like the Elinchrom's will be taking a backseat. These first three images were lit with strobes. The last one is all natural light. All shot on the Nikon D810. 

 

Glacier Point-Yosemite National Park

The more time you spend in Yosemite, the more you think it's an artificial world. An enormous movies set with perfect views around every corner. Send a chimp into Yosemite with a camera, and he'll come out with cool pictures. On this last visit, we spent the better part of a day hiking up to Glacier Point. And my only regret is that we didn't camp up there. It would have been all ours. This time of year the road is closed, so the only way up is to hike. Which cuts out the majority of tourists. Next time I guess? Either way, it was an awesome hike. All of the images below were made on the fly. Just snapping while Emily was hiking. Nothing staged. I got some cool stuff, but looking through them makes me want to go back and actually set up a few shots. Maybe even with some strobes. Although the light in Yosemite is pretty hard to beat. See for yourself....

TRAVEL.MORE.

Rob Hammer