Tommy Penick Photo

Commercial and Outdoor Adventure Photographer

The Two Month Hiatus, Explained

It's amazing what can happen in two months, despite the lack of blogging and updates being sent out to the wild world of Wordpress. Although I haven't been posting, it is definitely a sign of me being busy with work, adventures, and photographing, not the lack thereof. Showing my blog to a curious friend this evening, I was bewildered that I hadn't posted in nearly two months. So here's an unorganized, Faulkner-style snapshot of the past 56 days.

Early in the leave of absence, I took a pretty awesome adventure bumbling across New England. It was my goal several years ago to knock out all four corners of the United States before leaving college--the Northeast was still luring me to check out the scene. Within 10 days I hit 11 states, roughly 2,100 miles, and got in some incredibly sketchy skiing. A long-standing tradition of New England skiers is to make the seasonal pilgrimage to Tuckerman's Ravine, a west coast style bowl on the face of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire(highest recorded windspeed on earth at 231 MPH, by the way). The ice headwall builds throughout winter, and as it deteriorates, somewhat resembles skiable snow. A typical winter season would require skiers to wait until Memorial Day weekend to fire it up off the cornice, but due to the abnormally warm winter and even warmer spring, Tuck's was good to climb and send in mid-March. We started the climb with 65 degree blue skies, and as I topped out the climb, it was near 35 and raining with a solid wind. After returning from the ever long journey, photo work seemed to flow as well as all the rivers around here, which posed a beautifully busy month. While most of the publications haven't been printed yet, one of my proudest has been. I was fortunate enough to work for The Seattle Times, a paper I've had a crush on for years. I was brought in to shoot a story about McFarland, a small specialty non-fiction book publisher located in the tiny town of Jefferson, NC, just down the hill from us. I was thrilled to see the great designers at The Seattle Times gave it quite a bit of play in print! I'll have to say that this has to be one of my favorite clips to date.

McFarland is a small publisher in the grand scheme, but houses roughly 50 employees in their converted ranch style home in Jefferson. I was amazed to see the mass quantity of titles that are constantly being pushed through their system--most revolving around baseball, chess, and scholarly film. The vibrant and happy atmosphere was even a pleasure to shoot in, with all of the walls adorned with local and folk art, while the workplace buzzed with friendly energy. I was excited to learn, yet jealous, that the reason the assignment time moved back was to ensure there was enough time for a few employees to get back from playing disc golf down the road. After nearly 40 years of being in business, Amazon is trying to anonymously demand a higher discount, which could cripple McFarland's business. Check out the beautifully crafted article by Amy Martinez here, which is part two of four regarding Amazon's questionable tactics. Between the assignment work, the April showers in the Southeast has brought happy boaters. Not only have the natural flows procured some great paddling, the scheduled annual releases of the Cheoah and Tallulah have made for some great road trips. It's been pretty photogenic time, but I've been stepping up my paddling-- somewhat in preparation for my next move in life which will be taking me to the Sierras in California. More on that to come, but exciting things are in the making. For now though, the great road trips to the Smokies will have to suffice...and they do more than just suffice. With personal descents of Compression Falls, The Veil of Stateline, and Tallulah, I'm pretty jazzed on paddling!