CamelBak Chronicles w/Oskar Blues Brewery

CamelBak approached me with this killer idea to shoot a outdoor lifestyle stills and motion campaign with a number of different brand collaborates. Without hesitation, I jumped onboard. So far with 4 projects under our belts, were looking to 2023 to bring on a new line of radical adventures and super cool talent.

With Oskar Blues Brewery one of the companies working with CamelBak, my team and I flew down to Austin, TX to meet with the all-too-stellar Producer/Creative Director Grace H.. We scouted, discovered and began a narrative about Matt – lead Cellar Manager at Oskar Blues and how he creates and assesses his product throughout a continuous brewing cycle and once off-duty ventures into the outdoor wild playgrounds with colleagues and friends to let loose and re-energize.

From the brewery grounds to the reservoirs of Austin, we see Matt let loose in his natural surroundings, all the while incorporating the CamelBak ChillBak to bring the necessary 24+ cold Dale’s Pale Ale beverages along the journey.

Shot and Directed by Cameron Karsten

Motion shot by Leo Phillips

Edited by Luke McJunkin

Creative Direction by Grace H.

More available at www.CameronKarsten.com

How to Shred the Gnar

There’s a first for everything, and as a primary water sports enthusiast, I haven’t introduced my kids to the art of snow sports yet, until the 1st of 2023! They have begun their journey Shreddin’ the Gnar. But first a look at the hills shrouded in snow just south of Chelan, WA. This edition is available for purchase up to 50in x 19in showcased over a beautiful wall space. Contact for details.

We spent two days at Echo Valley just north of Lake Chelan. With only 3 toe ropes and a minimal field of Jerry’s, their experience was beautiful. After an 1.5hr ski lesson from a young shredder himself, they were hooked.

http://www.CameronKarsten.com

2022 Director’s Reel

Work shot throughout 2022. Thanks to Leo and Daud for the amazing camera work. Luke and Sam for the killer edits. And the clients featured here, and others that are not, for believing in our vision and efforts.

www.CameronKarsten.com

It’s All Home Water: Restorative Shovels and Dynamite (Select Images)

Originally written by Gregory Fitz for Patagonia, this post provides a gallery of the select images for the project.

CREAM OF THE CROP! CAMERON KARSTEN FOR CORNERSTONE RANCHES

BY ISAAC ROBLETT

Originally posted via Wonderful Machine

Located in the beautiful Yakima Valley, Washington, Cornerstone Ranches is a fifth-generation (since 1897) family farm that grows a variety of hops, apples, and grapes on over 1,000 acres of land. 

In anticipation of autumn’s weather changes, the Valley is abuzz with activity as the harvest season approaches. In October, Cornerstone Ranches owner Graham Gamache hired Seattle-based agriculture photographer/director Cameron Karsten to document this year’s harvest. 

I’ve been out to the ranch on four different harvests, as well as during other seasons of the year. Graham and I have become friends, and we’re constantly discussing other projects that we both want to do to benefit each other’s businesses and relationship.

Cameron was a perfect partner for the project due to his extensive experience photographing people, whether environmental portraits or people in action within their spaces, doing what they do for hobby or profession.

Whether bringing in additional lighting or utilizing the play of light and dark in the late summer sun, it just adds to my ability to adapt to the situation and problem-solve to keep shooting and creating a cohesive library of imagery for the client.

Each time Cameron heads out to Cornerstone Ranches, which is about a five-hour drive from his home in Bainbridge Island, he speaks with Graham to see what is happening at the farm and discuss what he can do to bring his vision to life. The harvest is a particularly poignant time as it brings an array of seasonal workers. Some of whom have traveled far to support themselves and their families, an opportunity that only comes once a year.

I have such a keen ability to connect with the various people working at the farm. The majority speak Spanish as their primary language. Graham just asks me to do what I do and connect with them naturally.

The harvest is operational 24/7, with three eight-hour shifts for five to six weeks picking and processing the hops. The whole region is alive with action, and the earthy aroma of hops can be smelled throughout the Yakima Valley. The hard work and dedication that goes into the day-to-day process of the farm is felt in Cameron’s ability to find the subject’s ​​genuineness in his imagery. 

Authenticity is always the intent. There is little to no post-production in the imagery. It’s as it is. Real people working hard around the clock to accomplish the year’s beer-brewing hops harvest. And everyone that I know of on the farm loves working for Cornerstone. They treat their employees wonderfully, and all are grateful for this. So authenticity and hard work shine through within the images and throughout the company’s identity.

The Yakima Valley produces around 75% of the world’s beer-brewing hops, thanks to its fertile and productive agricultural lands, which are rich with volcanic soil and water from the Cascade Mountains. This, combined with the knowledge of generational family farms like the Gamache’s, makes for emphatic results.  

The nights are always cold. Yet throughout the years, I’ve never seen any rain. Dry and hot. Or dry and cold.

It’s a fast-paced, around-the-clock environment within the hop fields or the apple orchards. There is a race to pick the fruits before the weather turns cold and disturbs the quality of the crops. Cameron used his discretion to not intrude on the workers’ busy schedules. Instead, he was attentive without interfering to allow the most authentic moments to transpire while he captured the spirit of the work and the aura that comes with harvest season.

Working in a wide-open landscape allowed Cameron to let his creative juices flow to examine the composition possibilities and find the soul of the assignment.

I love showing the energy and efforts behind the scenes of such commodities. I love walking the landscapes and the machinery, capturing the moments’ humanity interacts with nature and harvests her fruits. And capturing the honest emotions of people through portraiture and all the nitty-gritty of agriculture/industrial details. It makes me happy and ignites that creativity within.

The fatigue of cold early mornings pre-dawn or late nights after a long day is a big challenge when all I want is a beer!

Cameron utilized his innate people skills to engage with the employees, allowing for an open and comfortable shooting environment. Despite the language barrier with some workers, he still managed to form a connection.

Through body language and understanding, I can step in without disrupting the flow of the harvest’s operations. It’s all like a fluid river, and I don’t want to dam it up. Rather, I can jump within it at certain times and then jump back out.

Like any other industry, people within the agriculture sector work as hard as any human being to bring the world its most basic and fundamental commodities. To view the imagery, I want to come away with an appreciation of these efforts and realize something doesn’t come from nothing.

See more of Cameron’s work on his website.

Credits

Cornerstone Ranches Owner: Graham Gamache
Video Editor: Sam McJunkin
Video Editor: Luke McJunkin 

Last Chance to Get It Right – by Gregory Fitz PT – 1

© Cameron Karsten Photography photographs steelhead fly fising on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State for Patagonia and the Wild Steelhead Coalition

The Olympic Peninsula (OP) is home to one of the last remnants of primeval temperate rain forest in the continental United States, but it is the rivers that draw anglers to the coast each winter. Named for the Indigenous peoples who’ve lived here for thousands of years, the Hoh, Queets, Quinault, Quillayute, Elwha and other rivers are volatile, wild watersheds with a powerful strain of large steelhead that evolved to migrate during the cold winter deluge.

The above is an excerpt from an article written by Gregory Fitz for Patagonia regarding the state of wild steelhead within the wild tributaries of The Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. I had the pleasure of photographing Greg, Steve Duda (Patagonia’s Managing Editor for Fly Fishing), Matt Millette (Head of Marketing, Patagonia Fly Fishing) and Gray Struznik (Fly Fishing Legend and Guide) for two days as they floated, waded and wandered the waters in search of the seasonal steelhead run.

The published article speaks for itself. It is poignant, crafted with an ease of the need to spring to action, as well as consider all parties involved. Gregory paints a picture of the OP as it is – a rainforest of endless ferns, brambles, huckleberries and salal with climbing towers of ancient breathing wood carpeted with wet mosses. It is a place of beauty that is on the edge of imminent disaster.

Can we embrace restraint and become guardians of these rivers and wild fish, instead of mobs of enthusiastic user groups? Long days of fishing give a guy plenty of time to dwell on this question. When I’m leaning against the current, and the fly is swinging through the cold water at the right speed, I find myself settling into a blend of gratitude and anticipation that I struggle to describe to anyone who isn’t an angler. Time seems to slow, and I feel connected to the river, the ancient cycle of fresh and saltwater, and the weight of what we have already lost. I want to believe that we can do better and demand better of our peers. If we can’t meet this higher standard, then the only option is for all of us to stop fishing here until we can adequately honor the privilege, and our responsibility, instead of taking it for granted.

I offer the link to the full article published on Patagonia’s website Last Chance to Get It Right as well as additional photography from this winter’s assignment. Speak up for our planet and take action with the following organizations:

Wild Steelhead Coalition

The Nature Conservancy

American Rivers

The Edge of the World – Human/Nature

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

As soon as we could drive, my friends and I would pile in my ’78 two-tone brown VW Bus and head out to the edge of the world. It was so wet and so cold, I’d have to run the defroster on high the whole drive and have the windows cracked. With surfboards stacked inside, along the way we’d make the ritualized surf checks, turning our 3.5hr expedition into a full day. It’s was the journey and we always made the most of it, finding some wave, some beachbreak or rivermouth to get wet and catch a few waves.

Before the hype, we were often the only ones in the lineup. Maybe a sprinkling of locals or travelers, but otherwise, just us and the rolling fog beneath perched eagles staring off into the distance. Finally, after a long winding route, we’d make camp at the end where evergreen mountains and their scarred clearcuts dropped straight into the Pacific. It was where sea stacks stood the ultimate test of time, wavering to none but the water and wind. It was where gulls battled the chop and the bull-headed seals crested just beyond the break. They would come so close, emerging out of the murky grey waters, we’d often jumpstart with fear and begin paddling to shore until our hearts stopped thumping and we could laugh at each other. This was wild land; empty bone-chilling drip of strong tree stands whispering of a moss-strewn giant living among the hollows. Our edge of the world was Neah Bay and the Makah Reservation. Those were the memories.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

I return as often as possible, to relive and resume the wildness at the edge of the world. With surfboard or camera, life is different at Neah. Society at large has discovered its open beauty, and the thrill called surfing has become mainstream even along the frigid fickle northwest shoreline. We’re never alone now.

Recently, I returned on assignment for The Nature Conservancy during a 14-month long book project titled Human/Nature photographing the beauty, the bounty – the legacy – and the joys of Washington culture. I drove Deborah Kidd, the TNC project manager, out along the route of my windswept memories where we met TJ Greene. TJ is a Councilman on the Makah Tribal Council, who escorted Deb and I to the northern plateau jutting into the Pacific just beyond town. It was ancestral land, an outcropping I watched for years as I lulled over the swells and scanned the horizon. He pointed out midden, un-excavated artifacts left over from centuries past, as well as various plants and bark species his ancestors used for medicine. And in a clearing at the absolute edge of the world, he pointed to where one of the Makah people’s original longhouses once stood. It was a moment, a whole experience, that put perspectives into perspective, my memories cemented into a new appreciation for where I have been and who I’ve become. All those laughs with friends. All those frightening drops on monster storm-brewed waves pumped straight from the cold waters of the northern Pacific, dropped directly onto my head. The wildlife. The soaking woods. The storms, foggy windows, wipers screeching frantically. Holes in tents, sand between our toes, books on a beach log at sunset. They formed a part of me, made me me. This place gave so much and I knew so little of it.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

TJ brought me and Deb back into town and showed us around during the annual Makah Days celebration, where we ate cedar smoked salmon with potatoes and watermelon while watching canoe races in the bay. We slowed down to take in the moment; the sounds of laughter and shouts of encouragement, the millennia this land at the edge of the world has heard these sounds pass by.

For more information regarding Human/Nature visit The Nature Conservancy.

www.CameronKarsten.com

Grundens Catalog – Todd Kline Bass Pro

Grundens just dropped their new 2020 Holiday Catalog. It’s always a joy to work with such a solid client that has sent me around the world to capture fishing stories – from Norway to Guatemala to the Florida Keys, Alaska, California and right here in the PNW. Some of my fondest career memories are with Grundens (like when a marlin landed on me 60miles off the coast of Guat… but that’s another story).

This post shares a shoot with Bass pro, ex-professional surfer and Grundens Ambassador Todd Kline doing his thing in SoCal.

For more, visit www.CameronKarsten.com

Grundens 2020

Pre-COVID photoshoots seem… like they never happened. Looking back on the projects and campaigns of early 2020 and beyond are an enigma. We shook hands? We laughed next to someone, brushed shoulders, spoke to them while visually observing the movements of their mouth and their complete facial expressions?

A smile is something to share. A smirk is something to behold, especially on a fishing vessel. This guy for Grundens on the Silverwave at Fisherman’s Terminal, Seattle, WA. May COVID-19 disappear from the human race as soon as possible.

For more work visit www.cameronkarsten.com

Cosa Buena in VOGUE Mexico

It brings great excitement and joy reflecting on projects that are not only culturally enriching, but visually stunning and successful. Our friend Vera Claire, founder of Cosa Buena, reached new heights networking and promoting their community-based work after getting published in VOGUE Mexico (as well as Architecture Digest and MEDIUM, among others). Below is a link to the article published in print and online, as well as a selection of other images from our time exploring the artisan-cooperatives of Oaxaca, Mexico. Someday, we’ll return.

PERFIL COSA BUENA-VOGUE MEXICO

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico

© Cameron Karsten Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico