Tommy Penick Photo

Commercial and Outdoor Adventure Photographer

Worst Blogger Ever? Best Followers Ever?


There's a few pretty simple social media rules out there, and all of you are familiar with them if you think about it for a minute:

  • • post often
  • • post things with little original content
  • • post so readers don't need to actually read (E.g.: lists, but we'll get to that later)
  • • turn all titles into a superlative, bonus points for "You Won't Believe What This Blogger/Skier/Photographer  Said/Did/Shot!"
  • • post often--even if your content is redundant

So at this rate, I pretty much stack up as the worst blogger of all time. Making anyone left reading this, the best followers of all time! And for that, I thank you; we've got a lot of catching up to do. I'll be breaking most of the rules I just listed though--this one's gonna be long. Other than my brief repost in October (style points; at least according to Buzzfeed's rules), I last left y'all as I was departing California in my freshly built adventure mobile, looking for new opportunities, new adventures, new and old friends, and a way to push my career along. Ironically, in the search of freedom, I almost immediately booked my calendar with client work. Personal work went back to the back-burner...again. But I had a summer full of long hours driving, new exciting clients, and rivers full of water in my windshield.   Obviously when you move your life into a trailer, put the rest of your junk into a storage unit (only to realize you don't need it later), and hit the road with absolutely no plan, you begin to expect the unexpected. There's no telling what lays around the bend. But I wasn't really expecting to hear that clients were wanting video work from me. Not only a client or two, but almost instantaneously most of my work turned into video work instead of stills. During my marathon coffee-shop sessions, I started reading up on everything I could: color grading, cutting efficiency, audio setups, codecs, all that junk. I knew it decently, but something takes over your business you need to know it better than that. I shot some stuff for OARS here in California, hit some classic California whitewater, headed to Hood River to fire up some whitewater with some buddies, onto Idaho for some more of the same, then onto Montana to shoot some fly fishing with The Yellowstone Angler, then I bombed across the country, covering a 36 hour drive in a little bit more than 40 hours, arriving back in my college town just to watch the bars let out at 2 AM before shooting a 24 hour bike ride attempt. In classic southeast style, it rained the whole time. I finally got some sleep, collected my stuff, and scurried down to the southwest corner of North Carolina to shoot a long project for Falling Creek Camp. FCC brought me in off the road like family. I got to spend a solid chunk of the summer in one of my favorite places with some great folks. I won't bore you with my rants about how great this place is, but bottom line: if you are a parent of boys, your kids should be going here. After a quick stop at BoyScoutlandia in West Virginia (50,000 kids in one place for a week) some Gauley laps, and catching more big fish, my fall took a bit of a bumpy ride, but eventually the trailer was loaded back up and I had a direction again--west. Though trailer life is just as glamorous as it sounds, I'm solidly addicted to skiing and snow, and I still can't imagine waking up to four feet of fresh snow and being stuck in a 5x10 box. So Truckee was set as the bearing on the horizon, and I got moving again, but a little slower this time. Road trips are funny. Not five hour trips to your friend's house, but real road trips. Big ones. Thousands of miles, multiple weeks. There's a pretty huge range of things that goes through your head, and since you're driving a lot, you've got a lot of time to think about those things. It's really hard to try to convey what happens inside your head during those times, so I tried doing my best to shoot what it feels like to be on a road trip. Waking up in different places, watching the landscapes change, seeing old buddies. There's an interesting mental transformation as you cross over the endless fields. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to get in the car and start driving. Regardless of your personal experiences of big road-based trips, I put together a little photo story--it might strike a chord with some, check it out here.

After a while on the road, I unpacked the trailer, parked it for the winter, and got some much needed sleep inside a warm house.

But unfortunately, that heat? We haven't needed it this winter. That's a different story for another time, and probably best to hear me gripe in person than watch me rant on the internet.

So this horribly late blog, brings you to almost an identical point in my life and travels as I explained last year in May. In under a week, I'll be moving out of the house, saying "see ya later" to my buddies in the Tahoe basin, and making the ultimate east-coaster-wanna-be-big-mountain-skier pilgrimage to Alaska, the Last Frontier. I'm not totally sure what's going to happen up there, but it'll be an adventure--that's the only guarantee. From there, trailer life will continue back across the continent where I'll happily be shooting for Falling Creek Camp, making some killer new promotional videos, as well as catching up on some much needed summer evening bluegrass, mountain creeks, and Southern charm.