From the first phone call to final printing is a long process with a magazine photography assignment. This story started last winter talking with the editor, coordinating schedules and making sure fish would be hitting while I was there, not an easy task. Bob Mallard wrote the article and coordinated all the boats, rowers, put-ins, and places to stay, thankfully Bob fishes the Kennebec a lot, and knows where, when and how to fish for big browns. After months of waiting for snow to melt, spring floods to diminish and schedules to match I finally made it up to the Kennebec to fish and shoot photos for the story. After a long haul from North Conway I rolled up to a pull out high above the river, thinking there’s no way I’m gonna be wading in that stretch of water. Bob assured me that it would be find and there was a hatch going on and the fishing would be pretty good. So after some steep switch-backs and muddy trails we were in the river, about an hour before dark thirty. Clouds and thunder were more common than sunshine, but we walked in anyway. Bob gave me the low-down on where to cross, what to use and too much information for my brain to absorb. The dark waters and dark gravel made things look a lot worse than they were, but the water was pushing pretty good and the thunder was rumbling a bit more frequently. Bob lit his cigar and proceeded to cast and catch some mid-range browns that seemed to be almost everywhere. It’s hard to create images while half of you’re brain is wishing it was you that was feeling that take on the other end of the line and a quarter mumbling something about standing in thigh deep water while thunder booms down stream.
So at some point we decided we had gotten a few shots here and we would move on to another spot right up the road. We fished again along some rapids, and tailwaters until it was too dark to see fish, fisherman or the difference between deep holes and boulders underfoot. The next day would be vastly different, blue skies, drift boats, and big browns. None of the images from our evening wading on the river made it into the magazine story, so I’ll add one here.
Now that I flip through the pages of the story I can hardly remember when we had the first conversation about the assignment, but I can remember the two days of fishing and shooting like it was yesterday. Something about seeing photos in print makes them different then on a screen, perhaps it’s the idea that a bunch of different people did a ton of work to get me in the right spot at the right time to get the shots, then a bunch more people sifted through images and picked the right ones to best tell the story. Couple that together with the text and there you have it, a 5 page story that took over a year to create.