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About Me

Tom Olivo

My Specialty: Close up "Portraits" of Game Fish and Panoramic Landscape Photos.

The simple passion and focus for me in life at this point is to try and spend as much time as possible recreating in "pristine" environments that allow for nature to be on full display. This can be in the form of beautiful landscapes (scenery), the environment (vegetation or aquatic), with incredible wildlife (on land, in the air or in the water). My photography specializes in the display of panoramic landscapes and close up photographs of the wildlife -  especially the most sought after gamefish.

Background: The Early Days Where I Developed my Passion for Fishing

Both my Grandfathers were skilled fisherman and it was Grandpa Garrison who first introduced me to my lifelong passion. If I close my eyes and reflect back to my earliest memories, I can vividly recall the image of the first fish I ever caught. A small but brilliant yellow and black Perch from Lake Marie in Bedford Hills, NY. While only four years old at the time, my parents had no idea what was in store for them as this obsession to catch fish was born. Having a limited vocabulary at the time… I remember that for weeks I proudly referred to this beautiful creature of nature as the “Yellow Jacket” from the lake.

I began fly fishing at age 12 with several of my close friends. Tying our own flies, we often fished the “no kill” sections of the Willowemoc River just outside of Roscoe, NY. We would typically arrive at the river at sunrise and fish well into dark until we could no longer see the Light Cahill dry flies that we proudly spent time creating at the tying vice. We barely took time to eat all day and when the fishing slowed in the afternoons, we would engage in casting competitions or spend time studying the aquatic life that resided on the streambed. 

Fishing the Willowemoc river in the early 70’s contributed to my developing the discipline and practice of “catch and release” fishing. It also allowed us to better appreciate the beauty of the habitat and survival obstacles that trout face. The challenge and reward of fly fishing becomes catching trout with your skill (vs. luck) and releasing them so that they could continue on in their lifecycle and occasionally make a mistake in judgment - falling victim to another skilled angler with the perfect presentation of their Mayfly imitation. 

In my early teens, not only was fishing my favorite hobby, it allowed me to develop independence, perseverance and confidence. My dad used to drop me off at Muscoot Reservoir in Katonah, NY at age ten and leave me there all day to fish. When he would come to pick me up at sunset he could count on me saying… “One more cast dad, just one more cast.”

Developing my photography skills

From 1975 to 1979 I had my undergraduate education at SUNY Cortland where I majored in Geology. As a result of the significant investment in the NY SUNY University system during the 70's, I had the privilidge of being "coached" by several exceptional college professors and a science lab that was simply extraordinary.  Even though (as a starving student), there were few luxuries that I could afford, I did have access to a photography facility (darkroom) that virtually no one used and as a result, I was able to develop my skills processing black and white images of sports photography.

After fly fishing for 52 years, I have to admit that I have evolved through the classic seven stages of what’s referred to as the fishing obsession. "In essence, fly fishing is considered to be the pursuit of the elusive." I'm now somewhere between Stages 6 and 7. 

Stage 1: Wanting to master the basics and just catch fish.

Stage 2: Wanting to catch lots of fish.  

Stage 3: Wanting to catch a big fish.  

Stage 4: Wanting to catch lots of big fish.  

Stage 5: Wanting to catch The Ultimate - Uncatchable Fish on light tackle/tippet. 

Stage 6: Seeking out the most remote/pristine fishing locations on earth that host the greatest angling challenges on light tackle. 

Stage 7: Appreciating much more about the process of angling - than "the fishing alone," sharing the experience and helping preserve what’s special.   

Capturing and Sharing the Experience: My Photography

The latest focus and challenge for me is to attempt to share the entire fly fishing experience. This includes the scenery where I travel and fish, the aquatic environment, the angling challenge and most important – a breathtaking close up portrait of the fish. By the way... I’ve also always subscribed to the philosophy that if you talk about the fishing experience – it’s considered “a fish story.” If you have pictures, it’s considered evidence! 

Thus far, my business travels have created the opportunity for me to fish in 31 US States and nine additional countries including some of the most remote parts of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama and most recently Costa Rica (my three favorite locations – Alaska, Costa Rica and Montana).

Montana: The Last Best Place

Montana and Costa Rica: Both considered “The Last Best Place” My Fly-fishing obsession has also indirectly contributed to where our family lives (Bozeman Montana) and the name of our youngest daughter – Christine “Madison” Olivo, named after my favorite river, that originates in Yellowstone National Park and meanders north through the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana.

Bozeman Montana and the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica share many similarities with respect to the relative pristine natural environment, the fishing quality, popularity of tourism, the influence of the regional national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier) and a local resident’s mindset towards keeping things preserved. 

The best example of this environmental similarity locally near Bozeman is Yellowstone National Park which as the crown jewel of our US park system is located just 90 miles south of the town. Bozeman tends to serve as the official “Gateway” to the park and the popularity of the tourism influx has contributed to an unprecedented growth rate of Gallatin County over the past 20 years. Bozeman also serves as the headquarters of many Not-for-profit national governing bodies whose mission is to preserve the precious biological open-space ecosystem in every aspect. 

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been very fortunate with my personal lifestyle choices to remain uncompromising with respect to where our family lives and spend time in the natural habitat we cherish. This is the reason we now split our time between Montana and Costa Rica and hopefully, we can continue to make a difference in a small way to preserve the special natural wonder of both these environments. 

Finally, I have a compelling sense of urgency and responsibility to have “Sweet Gulf” be a publication that will allow people to learn the history of the fishery, appreciate the biodiverse uniqueness of the habitat, better understand the fragility of the environment and experience the beauty that the Golfo Dulce and it’s local inhabitants through the photographs, fine art and colorful stories of epic fishing outings. 

Enjoy, Please share and help preserve.

I can be reached via text and/or phone at (406)-581-9873. I can also be reached via my e-mails tolivo@successprofiles.com or tolivo@flyfishingportraits.com

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.


Inspiration

I tend to be inspired by anyone and everyone who has a unique talent and skill that I don't possess. There is always the opportunity to learn from the best.

Techniques

My techniques are constantly evolving and every time I go out and shoot it seems as though I'm improving some aspect of my fishing and photography skills. 

career highlights

I've had the privilidge of being published in several magazines but my best photos are proudly displayed in several of the fishing lodges around the world that I've visited.

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