• Joe Stone

Back in the Saddle

Well, if a camera where a horse anyway.

When the pandemic struck, it was crushing for a lot of people. I was lucky enough at the time to be doing remote work and school already, so the transition was pretty much seamless. However, what I didn't expect, was the impact to my creative work outside of the house.

2019 was a big year for me. This is the year I feel like I had more or less blossomed into a pretty decent photographer and graphic artist. At the very least, I started to gain some confidence in my abilities. I was getting asked to do more and more photoshoots and was getting pretty busy doing a lot of mostly TFP work with models in the area (trade for pics). When the pandemic struck, it was almost a relief because I all of a sudden had much more free time. What I didn't expect, was how much it would affect me creatively. After a year or more of lock-down and not shooting pics and feeling rather uninspired, I decided to get rid of my gear because I wasn't using it. Everyone thought I was crazy to include my wife. And well, to be honest, I was. Thanks, hindsight.

As we creeped out of the pandemic and everyone began to venture back out into the world, all of a sudden those requests started coming back in. At first, I dismissed them. I wasn't doing that stuff anymore. Then a big event request came in from a client I had shot for back in 2019.

I gave it a couple of days to mull it over since I didn't have the gear and would have to start back over from scratch. During those few days, I started going through my project folders looking at my old work and had a realization. What have I done? It was obvious that I really enjoyed that kind of work. While I didn't enjoy certain kinds of photography work, as a whole, it was creative release for me. A break from my world and becoming full immersed in the scene that lay before me.

I of course said yes and over the next few months, began sourcing new equipment. The day before the event I even launched a new photography website. The day of the event was a best. I woke up at 3am to prep and left the house by 5. A two hour drive later I was at the first event location. The event? A motorcycle rally poker run that benefited military veterans. It was being put on by the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation, headed by UFC legend, actor, and Army veteran, Randy Couture. I was nervous and not confident with my new to me equipment. I pushed my worries aside and got to work. The rest of the day would be spent chasing bikers around around the region, getting shots of Randy Couture with fans, and just capturing the energy and vibe of the entire event.

I didn't put away my camera until nearly 6 pm and didn't get home until almost 3 hours later and was completely exhausted. The entirety of the next day would be spent culling the 1,200+ photos I took and doing some editing. By the day's end, I got through it all and uploaded them to my new site and gave the link to the client, less than 24hrs from the time the event ended. Hell of a turnaround.

Anyway, my point is that while it was an exhausting weekend, I enjoyed it. A lot. It was great getting back behind the camera again.