December 12, 2023

Matt Addington’s Bird Hunting Film Kaiya, Reconnecting a Father and Son [EP 415]

Show Notes

Rick Saez
Matt Addington's Bird Hunting Film Kaiya, Reconnecting a Father and Son [EP 415]

Welcome to episode 415 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast, brought to you this week by Toyota. From the RAV 4 to the mighty Tacoma, Toyota has a model built for everyone’s Outdoor adventures. Today I’m talking with Photographer Matt Addington about his career and recent film A Bird Dog Named Kaiya. How the love for a bird dog inspired a young man to fully embrace bird hunting, an important part of his Laotian culture.

Brought to you this week by Toyota

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Show Notes

  • First Overnight Adventure: Matt doesn’t recall the exact first experience but he grew up in Northern Minnesota, where outdoor life was part of his lifestyle. He spent a lot of time in places like the Boundary Waters and Voyager’s National Park.
  • When Did You Pick Up a Camera? Matt was enamored with cameras from a young age. He remembers having a Kodak disc camera when it came out and taking numerous pictures, even as a child. However, his more serious introduction to photography started in seventh grade when their art teacher gave him a Pentax K 1000 and taught him darkroom techniques.
  • Start in Video: Although Matt didn’t start shooting video when he first picked up a camera, he began experimenting with tape-to-tape edits in junior high and early high school. He says he officially entered the digital video side of things in the late ’90s due to seeing the potential in digital video and having support from leadership at the school where he taught.
  • Inspiration to Go Pro: There wasn’t a specific moment Matt decided to go professional. It was a gradual transition as he was already doing photography and videography as part of his teaching job. Over time, he started getting paid for projects outside of teaching, leading to a shift into the professional world.
  • First Significant Photo or Video Shoot: While there might not be one defining shoot, Matt recalled a moment at the Shot Show where he unexpectedly saw one of his images displayed prominently for a major brand, marking a standout moment in realizing the impact of his work.
  • First Outdoor Commercial Shoot: Some of his initial commercial shoots were with Carbon TV (formerly Carbon Media Group) and Federal Ammunition. These shoots involved hunting trips to places like Quebec and working with local companies from Minnesota, where Matt is based.
  • Preference in Outdoor Activities: Matt is fond of paddling but also emphasizes the uniqueness and enjoyment in each activity he’s been fortunate to experience, be it climbing peaks, guiding through mountains, or quietly sitting in tree stands. He highlighted the beauty of different experiences and how each holds its own significance.
  • Favorite Place: Despite the numerous epic places visited globally, Matt finds a new appreciation for home when returning from these adventures. He says the joy of watching the sunset from his front porch with family, indicating a deep appreciation for the familiarity and beauty of home.
  • Catalyst for the film “A Bird Dog Named Kaiya“: The catalyst for the film was meeting Ken Yang, a young man who had transitioned from being a staunch anti-hunter to a prominent voice in the hunting and fishing space due to personal life events.
  • How they met Ken Yang: They met at a Professional Outdoor Media Association conference in Nashville, where Ken Yang received a media scholarship.
  • Development of the storyline: Initially, there was a concept of telling the story of a former anti-hunter turned hunter due to his unique ethnic background. However, the storyline evolved as they delved deeper into Ken’s story, focusing more on the impact of a dog in changing his life and reconciling relationships.
  • Capturing the content for the film: It took multiple hunts, approximately four days, to capture the content, ranging from golden fall days to extremely cold weather (10 below zero).
  • Current projects: Matt is working on various projects, including a documentary about a unique turkey hunter, a personal piece highlighting the legacy of a deceased friend in the outdoor space, a documentary about a prestigious hockey school, and a project about dispelling myths of trophy hunting in Africa.
  • Advice for aspiring photographers: Matt encourages new photographers to experiment with photography, use resources like YouTube for learning, and find inspiration from others’ work that resonates with them.
  • Daily routines: There’s no fixed routine, but Matt enjoys walking, hiking, and spending time in nature. Coffee in the morning seems to be a consistent ritual.
  • Favorite books: Books like the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn, and Matt also finds inspiration in reading the Bible.
  • Favorite outdoor gear under $100: Matt mentioned his Irish Setter boots (although they might be slightly above $100) and a pair of gloves by Striker that provide dexterity and warmth.

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