Tommy Penick – Lite Pro Gear's Head of the Month

We have the greatest customers; ones who inspire us here at Lite Pro Gear. From time to time we are going to feature our Lite Pro Gear Head of the Week for our own entertainment and hopefully yours as well. The inaugural interview is with Tommy Penick, an adventure photographer and filmmaker with a passion for the outdoors and someone who really gets the value that a travel jib like the Feather Camera Crane can bring to his films.


Name: Tommy  Penick
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Current location: Truckee, CA
Camera of choice: Canon 5D 2 right now, but I'll shoot whatever

Photo credit: Trevor Clark
Tommy, what came first for you, passion for the camera or the thirst for adrenaline?
Originally, I got into shooting photos on an old hand-me-down camera because basically my friends and I thought we were totally rad. Turns out we weren’t, but it was enough to get me shooting. Most of my current outdoor pursuits actually were sparked by photography and film making.

What was a key moment that led you to call yourself a professional photographer?
A big personal turning point, realizing I wanted to get out of photojournalism and into shooting adventure and outdoor sports on a professional level. I did go to school and became dead set on being a photojournalist. I had some work under my belt and an internship that went great, but I came out of that summer being burnt out... I found myself getting re-energized from being outside and being on adventures.

You hail from Virginia and spent time in North Carolina, what would you highlight about adventure sports out east?
The kayaking in the southeast is spectacular. I run into kayaker's and they’ll say, “Aw man, you paddled the Green?!” And I say, “Yeah, I paddled it all the time.” It was cool to have that as my training grounds. Also, the mountain biking is pretty rad and its fairly hidden. It always leads to an adventure.

Do you have any highlights from your Feather Camera Crane™ usage?
Definitely. There’s no hiding that I’m young and new in this industry, and I have to try as hard as I can to keep up with the big boys by hopping on trends before anyone else. The Feather Camera Crane™ is a great tool to differentiate myself in a really saturated market. I took it out on a pretty remote Class V creek here in California called South Silver. It was sweet. It packed up and went into the back of my kayak. I definitely turned some heads with the footage. They said, “How’d you get a crane out there? I’ve hiked into that place and its heinous!” And not only was it one shot, but I packed it back up, threw it into the kayak, and went onto the next rapid.

What projects do you have coming up in the short term?
I’m currently lining up the funding and doing pre-production for a pretty thorough investigation on California’s water supply and the rate in which we’re using it. Especially now with these perpetually dry winters, we need to think more about conservation.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Still living in the trailer (laughs). I don’t know, that’s a tough one. It’s interesting how volatile our industry is and how much things are changing. Five years ago, I could have never of guessed I would be a filmmaker and now it’s my business.

Thanks Tommy!

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