Bound for the Olympics - Building COMMUNITY / by Mahting Putelis

Hunter Hess is a skier who is known for taking flight more than the moments he's on the snow. As a freestyle half pipe skier his acrobatics are astonishing.  Hailing from Bend, Oregon he started his ski season training in Colorado. He is an olympic hopeful and as such Bend Magazine wanted to capture him for the cover of the January issue. There was a short window of having enough snow and 

As a photographer this was one of the first times that I had no control over the edit of my image. I delivered a few choices of Hunter in different positions, locations and wardrobes. Each picture I edited how I thought they would look best. However a magazine has a style and as such the cover dictates that style. 

As a photographer this was one of the first times that I had no control over the edit of my image. I delivered a few choices of Hunter in different positions, locations and wardrobes. Each picture I edited how I thought they would look best. However a magazine has a style and as such the cover dictates that style. 

My personal favorite image from the shoot. 

My personal favorite image from the shoot. 

 

This project came to me via a connection I had made with a fan of Hunt To Eat. Over the past 3 years, as the community of Hunt To Eat has grown, more and more I have connected with fans on topics outside of hunting. That's the great part of building a community around the Hunt To Eat brand. Hunters are also your neighbors, flooring installers, HR generalists, local arborists, machinists, pastors, and social media/ marketing managers.  

Going forward I am going to quit using the term fan. Fans are admirers of celebrities. I am not a celebrity and my brother and business partner Janis does not claim that status either. At best, we are farmers who have tilled the soil and planted seeds. Individuals have cropped up, clad in their favorite t-shirt, to be part of growing a community. A community who wants to vocalize and support each other, wild places and wild animals. 

There is a sense of knowing that comes from experiencing your first hunt. That knowing grows with each passing season. You learn about and explore yourself and the natural world. In the culture of hunting that knowing was passed down and shared inside hunting camps. With the growth of what has been termed late-onset hunting syndrome, people are coming to hunting without having been mentored in the traditional sense. 

The community of Hunt To Eat is a place where everyone is welcome. Where you can come and connect with people who know hunting and are open to sharing their experience in a way that allows you to learn. You can connect with other community members about anything knowing that you both share a deep bond with wild animals, wild places and the process of the hunt. There are no secrets, only secret hunting spots.  

Sliding on these rails is impressive. Even more impressive is how Hunter approaches the rail backwards, launches in the air, spins, then slides the rail, then exits with another spin. 

Sliding on these rails is impressive. Even more impressive is how Hunter approaches the rail backwards, launches in the air, spins, then slides the rail, then exits with another spin. 

After shooting Hunters portrait we slipped down to the park for a few hot laps. Unfortunately the half pipe had not opened for the season. Hunters skill set includes a variety of park tricks. 

After shooting Hunters portrait we slipped down to the park for a few hot laps. Unfortunately the half pipe had not opened for the season. Hunters skill set includes a variety of park tricks.