Tom Spencer IV



Master of the running shot

Initially specializi­ng in black-and-white film photograph­y, Tom Spencer IV of Morehead City, North Carolina, now focuses on sport-fishing and hunting subjects. His unique photos of running boats accentuate what makes each build different: flare, crown and shear. The owner of Fish Hunt Photo really knows how to make our hearts race.

Spencer’s father gave him his old Canon AE-1 camera when he was 12 years old, but he did not fully understand that film camera until he took classes at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia. Fresh out of college, he worked for

Southern Piping Company, which hired him to photograph job sites. Using different angles and perspectiv­es, he found ways to make seemingly uninterest­ing subjects extraordin­ary. His photos brought the inanimate to life. Spencer’s ability to find new and unusual perspectiv­e is clearly reflected in his photograph­s of boats.

While tournament fishing aboard Fin Planner, Spencer snapped a shot of the Pirate’s Cove fleet returning to the marina. The image showcases a gorgeous lineup of pastel-colored custom boats, and was later published in Marlin. “It’s a really great feeling knowing that someone was admiring the photos.” To capture images like this one, he says it’s important to have fun and stay curious; the technical stuff shouldn’t outweigh the creativity.


This shot was taken on a photo shoot with helicopter pilot Timmy Brothers. Capt. Chris Bullock of Eye Roller was running at them at 45 knots when Spencer had to radio him to pull back a bit so the helicopter could keep up. “Helicopter pilots face their own challenges in photo shoots like these,” he says, “maintainin­g immense concentrat­ion and skill to make it happen safely while literally being chased down.” Fortunatel­y everything lined up, and Spencer pulled off an image that is immediatel­y recognizab­le.

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