After graduating from photo school in Denver, Nashville, Tenn.-based photographer and director Hollis Bennett didn’t jump directly into the photo world, as he loved photography too much to risk getting burnt out in such a competitive industry. Instead, he drove to Alaska with a loose plan of working in oil and gas. Before he knew it, he was guiding clients out on rivers and other random pursuits, including working as a fly fishing guide.
Recently, that year of discovery came in handy for Hollis, as he headed down to South Andros Island in the Bahamas to produce a variety of stills and motion for Deneki Outdoors. This was a good opportunity for Hollis, as he hopes to eventually take his love for the outdoors and apply it to more commercial work.
The tricky part of this shoot for Hollis was that he worked without an assistant, therefore was limited in the amount of gear he could bring. Because he was shooting both still and motion by himself, Hollis had to compartmentalize and spend a set amount of time working on each one. The wet and windy conditions made it difficult to keep the gear dry, while he also dealt with the challenge of keeping the camera still on such a rocky boat. Hollis had to work on his toes, shoot on the fly and “just roll with it.” It helped that he had six days on the water, with little pressure or restrictions from the client.
Hollis told us about the busy schedule he maintained while on the island:
“Wake up at 5:00 am, check the weather. Drink coffee #1 for the day, go shower, get coffee #2 and breakfast. Load up in the truck and head to the dock. Take along coffee #3. Once on the water it was a mix of shooting an angler in my boat or taking my boat (with guide) to shadow another boat. Some days were spent all in the boat and others were spent walking the flats for a different perspective and fishing style. We were back at the docks at 4:30 then back to base camp. I would immediately back up my images, answer a few emails and then grab dinner and a few beers to unwind.”
The client was very happy with the images, and Hollis enjoyed the assignment, emphasizing how his previous experience impacts his photography career:
“I believe that having real-world experiences in a variety of topics makes me a better photographer due to the fact that you know what is going on and you can anticipate and plan for “the moment” more so than someone who is inexperienced in the subject at hand. I’m trying to take my love of the outdoors and knowledge of things like fly fishing and apply it to photography and eventually commercial work.”