Over the last few years I’ve met quite a few of the chef around Houston. Every shoot always brings new suggestions of other chefs I should work with. A lot of those names have appeared on this site, but there are a few who take a little bit longer to meet and coordinate a shoot with. Austin Simmons was one of those chefs. I’d heard from chefs and photographer friends alike about this amazing young chef in the Woodlands doing amazing things. Finally, this past valentine’s day I made reservations for Cureight inside Hubbel & Hudson for an amazing 8 course meal put on by Austin and his team. After dinner Austin came out to chat with our table. We talked about the amazing food and tried to figure out a good time to do a shoot. Well, half a year later… here we are.
Austin is into fishing and golf, so I suggested we do a shoot more fitting of his hobbies… and naturally he picked fishing. We settled on a date, Austin chartered a boat, then the rains showed up about a week before our shoot. After a short chat we decided to just go for it, so I went out and bought a rain cover for my camera just in case and packed my gear in a bag with a rain cover. My camera was ready for this rain… but I forgot to get a rain cover for myself.
Well, guess what? The weatherman was wrong. Again!
We met at the piers around 5:30am on a Sunday morning. It was drizzling as I was driving down to Texas City, it was windy, and way too early for me to be awake on a weekend, but I was excited. Other than my duck hunting with Danny Trace this was going to be the first shoot I’ve done outside of a chef’s house. After sitting around in the dark for a bit eating breakfast tacos and watching the radar on our phones we got to talking about beef, ranch life, social media, YETI cups, and RTIC cups with Austin and his friend Jordan Beeman of HeartBrand Beef. As the sun started to come up it was still a little windy and a decent amount of cloud cover, although the rain had stopped.
At sunrise I walked around the dock to capture the amazing sunrise and clearing skies. Our charter captain told us if Jordan hadn’t driven all the way from Flatonia and I wasn’t doing pictures this trip wouldn’t be happening because of the wind and cloud cover. Didn’t matter… because by about 8:30 we were out on the water bouncing around on the waves. I had my camera stored in my bag from fear of getting it soaked with salt water, so I brought my 360 camera and managed to capture a minute or so of our choppy ride out. You can see the video here on YouTube or scroll to the end of the post to see it after all the pictures.
After spending about an hour inside the bay with little luck captain made the decision to head out to one of the platforms 8 or 9 miles out for a few hours. The ride out was rough but once we got out there and got settled in, bait was on the lines and the fishing started. At first nothing really happened. Then Jordan caught one. And another one. Then a few hardhead catfish were caught and thrown back with caution. Then Austin caught one. The wind and cloud cover probably had something to do with it because by about 11 or so Jordan only had 3 and Austin had a pretty decent size spotted trout caught. Around 11:30 we called it day, grabbed a beer and started heading back toward the pier.
Overall it was a great day for taking pictures, but I know Austin wanted to have more fish in his cooler. But our trip gave me a chance to get to know him and Jordan better and talk food, restaurant, life, and just general chit chat with them on our not-so-bumpy ride back. Oh, and since we didn’t have a fridge to take the signature Shoot My Chef opening shot in… we got creative. We did it in a cooler. A very orange and hard to edit cooler.
Here’s the interactive video of our ride out. And if you’re wondering how I took this video, I used my Ricoh Theta S camera to capture and post this. If you’re having issues viewing it correctly it’s probably because its only compatible with either Google Chrome or the YouTube app on your phone, so try it there. Clever girl, Google. Clever girl!