Dorchester County - Muskrat Trapping

While in Dorchester County on February 3rd, I came across a father and son team trapping the marshes of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Robert Elzey is a fifth generation trapper and his son, Matthew is carrying the winter tradition onto the sixth generation. I sparked up conversation with the two of them and eventually invited myself into the fur shed at their house where they were skinning the days catch. Their hospitality and willingness to share experiences and give a brief glimpse into their way of life was incredibly generous. 

The furs are sold to a buyer from New Jersey and from there they will go to a tannery and ultimately sold to markets in Asia. The domestic demand for furs has diminished over the last three decades and has had a negative impact on the price. A top quality pelt may only bring the trapper four to five dollars. The meats are sold locally on the Eastern Shore and are considered a delicacy in some circles. Muskrat meats fetch around three dollars each. This season has been productive for Robert and Matthew, the record rainfall helped the breeding success of the ‘rats’ - They expect to harvest around 2,000 before the end of the season.

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New years day on the water

Spent the first afternoon of the new year out on the water looking for fossils on a Chesapeake tidal river. Chesapecten jeffersonius (extinct species of scallop) and other shells were abundant in different layers of the eroding shoreline. Some of these shells date back up to 8 million years ago when parts of the Chesapeake region were covered in shallow seas.

2018 Year-in-Review

Scroll through the post below to see highlights from 2018 - looking forward to more adventures on the Chesapeake Bay and beyond in 2019!


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Tangier Island Freeze-Up: stuck on Tangier Island for six days during a freeze up in January 2019 with nothing to do but shoot pictures.


Continued shooting for my forthcoming book, Island Life - expect release in the fall of 2021.


Great photography outings on the Chesapeake Bay


Travel to Louisiana and Maine to photograph commercial fisheries


26 Photography workshops with over 90 students


Work published in over 25 regional and national publications.


Solo exhibitions: Island Life at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland from August to November. Working the Water at Maryland Hall Center for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland from September to November.


Launch of my 22’ Privateer, Carla Marie, after being rebuilt. Featured as the cover story in the October 2018 issue of Chesapeake Bay Magazine.


Featured in filmmaker Patrick McNamara’s series Artisan Portrait


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Working the Water went into it’s third printing less than two years after being released


Instillations of framed work at homes and businesses.


Events, Exhibits, Lectures and Parties


Commercial assignments covering a wide variety of subjects


Great times with family and friends