My journey as a photographer began as a teenager taking photos of fish I had caught alongside family in my hometown of Topeka, Kansas. After I left the Midwest in my early twenties, I still wanted to share my newfound adventures in the Pacific Northwest with my family, so I invested in a Canon Powershot to capture what I was experiencing as a fisherman for Salmon and Steelhead. After a few river crossings, I realized a waterproof camera was the way to go, and I graduated to the Olympus Toughcam. It served me well due to its size and capability at the time, but as the social media scene became more of a necessity for your images to be viewed, I switched brands to showcase my life using the Sony A65, which had a wide selection of lenses.
A few years after this purchase, in the fall of 2013, I began my journey as a fishing guide when I started LPJ's Guide Service. Since that decision, I've never looked back or had a plan B; this is where I was meant to be and capturing the incredible moments that have made my career as a guide and professional angler is what I live for! As my business grew, so did the need for high-quality images to create eye-catching website content to promote my fishing business. This is the moment that sprung me forward into the photographer I am today when I decided to go into mirrorless cameras by purchasing the Sony A7Rii. I now own two late-model Sony bodies, multiple lenses, drones, underwater housings, and many other gadgets to give me the best opportunity of capturing an incredible shot.
How does a guy from Topeka, Kansas, become a Steelhead Guide & Photographer on the West Coast's Olympic Peninsula?
Growing up in the Eighties, there was a TV show called Marty Stouffer's Wild America that I watched with my family. It showcased different animals, where they live, what they do, and in various locations around the United States, with pretty solid narration and videography. The episodes that I paid particular attention to were those featuring vast forests with flowing rivers, elk, bears, and fish. The way the show was presented inspired me to capture the moments I experience now with a camera, and I had always wanted to be a person who fished for a living; I didn't know what it would entail, but I wanted to do it. It's like when a kid wants to be a fireman without really knowing what to do to be one, but when I got a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream after moving to Seattle over 18 years ago, I jumped at it!
In addition to being a photographer & 14 CFR Part 107 licensed drone operator, I'm a Team Ford Bronco Ambassador, US Coast Guard Captain, and an accomplished fly fishing & conventional tackle guide who focuses on Steelhead & Salmon in the Pacific Northwest along with other species around the globe.
Here are a few words that keep me searching for the next best shot and my spirit craving more adventure!
Finding a fish that is going to change my or someone else's life after I wake up and making that memory live on forever with a photo is what I live for! It's not something that happens every day, but I have the opportunity every day, and that's enough for me to set the alarm at 1 AM to hit the road if it gets me to that goal. The fish doesn't have to be a monster (although I would like it to be), but a fish of any size can spark interest in someone that lasts forever, and providing that experience is what I'm after. Next thing you know, they are buying every rod, reel, fly, and boat, trying to keep making that happen. This moment of infectious drive can happen in person from the experience or from an ad where my photo was utilized. Seeing that take place for the many people I've guided while on the water or just talking about an ad they saw of mine while I'm standing in line at a coffee shop or in the airport is incredible and keeps me looking for the next fish!
Visit my fly fishing website to view more photos or to book a fishing adventure at - flygyde.com