fishing

Saving The Great Lakes

I contacted Susie Q Fish Market in Two Rivers, WI with a vague idea. I wanted to photograph one of the last commercial fishing operation left on The Great Lakes. At first they needed to make sure I knew what this meant. Fishing Lake Michigan, or The Great Lakes in general is not for everyone. It's long hours, hard work, big waves, and very dangerous. Combine all of that with some of the coldest temperatures on record. I'm sure you'll all remember the Polar Vortex that hit us in January, well it turns out that to catch Chubbs(one of the remaining options for commercial fishing) you need to go out at the coldest time of year. Once they knew I wasn't going away that easy then said "Come on up!". The next thing I knew I was staying in a little hotel outside of Two Rivers, it was 2:00am and I was so excited to get out onto the boat that I couldn't sleep. I had to be out the door at about 4:00am to be there at the start of the day. As soon I pulled up I realized this was not going to be an easy day.

That's when I met Dale. It turns out Susie Q wasn't actually going out for commercial fishing. They had teamed up with The Department of Fish and Wildlife to try and revive a species extinct from Lake Ontario. Chubb's had been choked out of their natural habitat in many areas by invasive species and Lake Michigan is one of the best and last places to still catch them. Dale and his team of biologists and ecologists have a very important goal for the day. They need to catch and harvest as many eggs and sperm as possible to repopulate Lake Ontario. I just happened to be there at the right time to capture it all.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one interested in this story either. Since that day I have been contacted by the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources to team up on the documentary. So while we work out all of those details I can't share the entire project, but I'm happy to share these images from the day.

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Fisherman of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

For months leading up to my trip to the UAE to photograph two engagement sessions, I was researching possible documentaries I could shoot in my free time. But after talking to my clients, and not being able to find anything too interesting on the internet I decided I would have to go there to find options in person. Once in the country I was blown away by the amount of construction surrounding the expanding city of Abu Dhabi. It's absolutely everywhere you look, buildings being erected, foreign workers being bussed in from camps to construction sites and massive cranes sitting atop of the ever changing skyline. Obviously I would have loved to create a project exploring everything about the construction of the city. I would concentrate more on the condition of the workers who come from poorer countries all over the world, but that requires more planning and a bit more time than I had. I'll have to save that idea for the next time I'm back in the Middle East. After struggling to figure out an alternative my client mentioned taking some of their engagement images at Port Zayed Fishing Market. Immediately I was enthralled by the idea of heading out to this more traditional fishery and seeing what the locals were up to. We went there right around sunset to take a few shots by the boats, of course it was exactly what I was hoping for! There's few people who've been with me while I discover a new location and can attest to just how giddy I can get over the prospect of some awesome photos. I wasn't able to go back to Port Zayed until the last day my trip, but every moment leading up to that day I was thinking about what I would be able to accomplish. Sure enough the last day of the trip finally arrived and I was up before sunrise to head over to the market and capture the liveliness of the boats being unloaded, cleaned, and prepped to head back to sea. All the while there were others buying and selling the stock just yards away.

Before Abu Dhabi became a sprawling urban city, it was a small fishing village. Now Abu Dhabi is a major global city and the UAE is one of the richest countries in the world with massive reserves of oil. Like every thriving city there are still those sticking to their roots, trying to make a living the way their fathers and the generations before them did. The images below are a selection of my favorites from the morning.