Monday, January 25, 2010


In keeping with the outdoorsman theme of the last post, i thought i would post this shot of me and a goose i shot this weekend.....theres a big wetland behind my house on the bay, and lots of waterfowl activity. This is the first year that I've really hunted it, and this is the first goose I've killed there. It was a bit sad as you can imagine, but i forgot all of that once i tasted him. I seems alot of people (especially in nyc) think it's barbaric to hunt and kill animals for food, but I say isnt it much more barbaric to buy a dead animal wrapped in plastic that never lived one day of freedom? Simply born, bred, and slaughtered so you can eat it?? All you city slickers remember that next time you bite into a hamburger or chicken club sandwich. This goose had a great life. No antibiotics, no hormones, and freedom. Then I shot him. And now he is in my belly.....This guy was breasted, put in the crock pot, and left to simmer for 6 hours in a nice red wine, carrots and apples recipe. Very tasty. Now go make a ham sandwich!

mountain men, volcanos, guns, palins..

Here's a job that i did last winter, but just hit the newstands this week. It was a cover for Field and Stream, pretty much my favorite magazine to shoot for. Not only are they incredibly respected in the magazine/photography world, but I get to do some of the coolest stories that I've ever done for them. They really put alot of effort into the magazine photography, and it shows. Amy Berkley is one of the best, and the magazine looks as good as it does because of her. Ok, enough A** kissing (but i meant it amy and anthony!). This job was shot last february outside of fairbanks alaska for their SURVIVAL issue. Strangely, i had been to alaska 3 weeks earlier to shoot todd palin for esquire, so I knew the cold i was about to get into again. For the cover, they wanted to put a guy on it that pretty much epitomizes being able to survive anything, anywhere, anyhow. Well, they picked the perfect guy, Marty Meriotto. He lives outside of Fairbanks Alaska with his wife and baby in a log cabin he built. But that’s not whats amazing about his survival skills. He’s part of a dying breed, a fur trapper. He goes out into the wilderness, in winter, in Alaska, for a month or more at a time trapping. Just him, 200 miles from the nearest anything. When I was with the Palins in Anchorage, it was about 10 and I thought that was cold. Marty is up around Fairbanks and they pretty much laugh at the weather “down south in anchorage” where I was before. Needless to say, I hired a local assistant, Alex, and he met me at the hotel, as did Marty even though I told him to just give me directions to his house, but Alaskans are just that way, nice. Alaskans always seem to look at us lower 48’ers as outsiders, but in a polite way, not rude. Anyway, we show up to Marty's cabin, and its -10, but thats not the problem, it’s the 20 mph wind. Even marty and alex were kinda like “its real cold out there with the wind” so I knew I was in trouble. But again, Alaskans being Alaskans, both Marty and Alex had brought extra clothes for me, knowing that I probably wouldn’t have enough. They were king. They were right. We scouted on snowmobiles around Martys house and found a nice open field with lots of blue sky and white ground that would make the perfect, clean, cover. We hauled all the gear out on a sled behind the snowmobile and got to work. Alex and I were pretty worried about the gear, he gave me some tips about not letting condensation freeze the camera up and it worked. The batteries on the profotos once again amazed me and lasted for a good 50 pops before dying, we all thought they would die almost immediately. We ended up doing 2 sessions out on the ice for the cover..... Ok, finished up the shoot, scheduled to fly out the next day, no big whup. Had a big post shoot dinner with Alex. Had my first taste of black bear, in the form of sausage that Alex's friend had brought from a bear that he had shot. Good times. Here's where it gets interesting; That pesky little volcano in alaska, mount redoubt, had been threatening to blow when i was there 3 weeks earlier with the Palins but it didnt blow then. Guess what. yep, I get up at 5am for my 8am flight the next morning, and the counter person at the hotel said "didnt you hear? The volcano blew late last night, all flights cancelled." And fyi planes dont fly when theres ash in the air. Called the airport, no flights coming or going out of fairbanks. No flights coming or going out of anchorage either, although the wind direction was blowing the ash away from anchorage so it might open the following day or two. Pulled up google maps and realized I was really stuck as you cant just drive 5 hours to another state or big city, there are none. So, i tried to make the best of it. I called Alex, and he played tour guide and took me to the shooting range and we blew off some steam with his .44 and other various weapons of minor destruction. Went to the alaska pipeline and took a snapshot (very cool to see it), and went to the big ice sculpture festival and looked at ice (too cold to enjoy). Finally, after 2 days of sightseeing and nail biting, alaska airlines said that there was a window of good conditions in anchorage and the airport should be open for a day or 2. Problem was anchorage was about 6 hours away from where i was in fairbanks, and the only way down there was by car. So, i made an executive decision, went to avis rental car, and rented a one way car from fairbanks to anchorage (it was $500 for the day, you think they gouged?). I left about 2pm from fairbanks, and the drive went right through denali national park, which i've always wanted to see, hopefully i will see in the summer some time. It was a gorgeous drive, i remember the tom petty song "learning to fly", which stuck in my head the whole trip and will always remind me of denali now. I've attached a picture I shot through my windshield on iphone of the mountains in denali so you can see the beauty, although it doesnt do it justice. Strangely, to get to anchorage from fairbanks, you gotta go right through wasilla. It was the absolute strangest feeling driving through wasilla again, three weeks later after hanging with the palins for a week. I drove right by todd and sarahs house in the early evening, and i was thinking to myself, "i sure am tired, i wonder if todd and sarah would mind if i crashed at their house for the night?".....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

visions of the decade...

A very cool thing happened to me this month. The new PDN (photo district news) has an article titled "visions of the decade", and they have included myself and "spring broke" as a vision of the decade. The article talked about visual trends in photography last decade and said of moi "vivid lighting and brash colors helped nathaniel welch capture the strange awfulness of college age debauchery." Huge honor to be in this article. Very stoked indeed.

great holiday....

Just for bragging rights i wanted to post some pics from our mexican vacation over christmas....Jess, Henry, and i went to cabo san lucas, one of my favorite places in the world, for 2 weeks of good times. I had been to cabo a few other times before this one, but i surfed on those trips and didnt fish. This trip i put my energy toward fishing and had the best fishing experience i've ever had (and i've had plenty). Over 4 trips I caught 6 striped marlin, a bunch of mahi, and 3 roosterfish, and believe it or not, the highlight was catching the roosterfish even though they were by far the smallest fish i caught there at only 5-10 pounds. The reason is i hadnt ever caught one and really wanted to. I've caught marlin and mahi before, but the rooster has eluded me and they are on the list of great fish to catch for all fishermen. They get upwards of 75 pounds, but this time of year the bigger fish are all out in deeper water. It was a real thrill to catch that first one and see his dorsal fin up and slicing through the water as i reeled him in....the other amazing thing to me down there was the quality of the mexican fishing boat captains. The boats were very small, the tackle was old, but the captains i fished with were some of the best i've ever fished with. They take fishing very seriously. In alot of tourist destinations the captains are so so, but in cabo that wasnt the case. I've already started scheming to get back down there and photograph the mexican fisherman, I think it would make an excellent book. Think old man and the sea meets my jesse james book....

Since i don't have any shoots this week and am laid up at home with the flu, it's "clear out the recent work folder and put on the blog week". Here's a few recent jobs that i was for espn magazine, the shot of the little boy tearing the page out of the book. One was for fortune magazine, the shot of the family in their living room, and one was for shape magazine, the shot of the lady in the hazmat suit in times square......had the flu the last couple of days so been lying pretty low watching the tele. the earthquake happened yesterday in haiti so i've been watching that. very sad stuff.... I did a shoot in haiti about 10 years ago, so alot of the images coming out are vaguely familiar. Especially the presidential palace, striking images of its collapse, hard to believe. I stayed at a little hotel called hotel ollofson, in port au prince, i wonder how it did in the quake? It's actually a big big house that was very old so i think it may have done ok. mostly wood, not much concrete. The writer Graham Greene lived and worked there in the 60's, and his book "the comedians" was written there. My most vivd memory of being in haiti was sitting at the bar at night, have rum punch after rum punch, watching the world series (i was there in november 97). The tv was behind the bar, and also there was a big mirror hanging on the wall behind the bar. The hotel was basically empty as haiti was having trouble then, and i was the only one at the bar. I would watch the game on the tv, but also every now and then i would catch out of the corner of my eye a rat scurrying across the floor behind me.....good memories indeed..

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy New Year

It's been awhile since i last blogged and i'm gonna tell you why. In this photography biz, you gotta keep quiet about what projects your working on until they come out. Every time I do a cool shoot, I want to run to my computer, download the cards, and blog blog blog until my fingers bleed. But this being a paranoid secretive biz (magazines and advertising), everyone is always trying to trump everyone else, and the internet has made it worse. basically, you can't talk or blog about a job until it comes out in print, and then you are free to scream as loud as you want about how great and cool a photographer you are. But by the time a story comes out, i've done so many other stories and am SO over it. Ok, cut to today, I'm trying in earnest to force my lazy ADD ass to blog a little more regularly (thanks jay d), so check back here more often. I've even threatened to blog about stuff not photo related! how about that! Ok maybe thats pushing it a bit, i will stick to photo related stuff. So here's the first post of the year. This story just came out in Mens Health magazine, its an olympic preview showcasing three winter olympians and how they work out. I shot snowboarder Chris Klug out in Breckenridge in november. Chris believe it or not had a liver transplant some years ago, and he's still a world class snowboarder. I love the picture that the mag chose. This to me is the quintessential Nathaniel Welch photo. It's a portrait, but not static, A+ for me. The other shot is a tight closeup of bobsledder Justin Olsen. When i met Justin at the olympic training complex in Lake Placid, I left the meeting thinking "gee, he doesnt seem like a winter olympian. Texas accent, big dude, he seemed like a football player." Turns out I was right, he is a football player. He was recruited to as a pusher, as the bobsled event is all about shaving hundreths of seconds off the time, and the best way to do that is with an insane push. this guy had legs like tree trunks. I've attached a picture I took of his legs so you can see what I mean. Like every job i've ever had, theres always a nugget of memory that will always remind me of the job. Sometimes its part of the shoot, sometimes it's not part of the shoot, some random or not random thing that happened during it. For this one, I had a rain day in Lake Placid, and had been hanging with olympic biathalete Lowell Bailey for what seemed like days but was really only a day and a half. We had breakfast, we had lunch, and finally we srcubbed the shoot until the next day. Lowell grew up in Lake Placid, so he knows the place intimately, and he's a fly fisherman, as am I. He mentioned going fishing in the afternoon, and of course I ingratiated myself and forced a invite.... That is what this job really is about for me (not forcing invites). Meeting people, finding that connection or common ground, and enjoying the experience. Regular life never would have put me on a stream outside of Lake Placid in November fishing with an Olympic athlete. But this job did. All of of sudden we weren't magazine photographer and athlete/subject, just two dudes making the most of a great but wet afternoon at the end of fishing season. Fishing a stream with a friend is great, you arent really fishing side by side, but within a 100 yards or so usually. Just company enough to know your not alone and someone else is experiencing this moment. I would look over at him occasionally and see him fighting a fish, and he'd glance over at me and see the same thing. We both ended up catching a bunch of fish, mostly brook trout, and that night we went to a local restaurant, had a great burger and filled our bellies with a local beer. work.