Hector Astorga is a professional nature photographer based in South Texas. His love of nature and the outdoors began as a child in his native country of Honduras. The family moved to Texas, and Hector attended Texas A&M before pursuing a successful business career that had nothing to do with photography. He was inspired to pick up a camera in 2007 when he saw a Valley Land Fund wildlife photography display at the World Birding Center. He entered the Valley Land Fund competition in 2008 and won first place. Since then, he’s won dozens of awards for his work. He started photo guiding in 2009 and is the ranch manager for the Santa Clara Ranch, a nature tourism operation that focuses on photography. In 2010, he ventured to New Mexico for his first out-of-state photo workshop. Now he leads 17 workshops every year, all over the world.
Jarvis Boards founder Tony Smith has built a business around his passion. The one-time stockbroker walked away from a corporate job several years ago to focus his attention on what he loves. Today, the handmade wooden paddleboards he crafts in his Austin studio have found homes around the world. When he’s not making them, you can find him on top of one, because he says there’s something magical about spending time on the water. Tony is thrilled to join the ranks of TPWF’s We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors. “If I can help give back and spread awareness and get more people outdoors and in nature, I’m all for it. The more that people are in nature, the more they will care about protecting it.”
Taylor Collins & Katie Forrest
Taylor Collins’ and Katie Forrest’s life journey has taken them from restoring their bodies to restoring their land. The once-vegetarian Austin couple went vegan after health issues got in the way of sports training. When things got worse, they consulted a nutritionist who urged them to add clean meat protein to their diet. They did, and things quickly turned around. The entrepreneurs then founded EPIC Provisions, creating the world’s first grass-fed meat, fruit, and nut bar. The successful company was sold in 2016, and Taylor and Katie invested in a depleted Texas Hill Country ranch to demonstrate the potential of regenerative agriculture. Through their land stewardship, ROAM Ranch is coming back to life.
Chance Yarbrough is an outdoorsman, Texan, and sporting artist who has made a career out of combining his love for art and nature. His career got started in a fly shop in Rockport, where he decorated the store’s blackboard with beautiful chalk drawings of coastal fish when he wasn’t tying flies or interacting with customers. His work caught the eye of a regular shop visitor, venerated Texas sporting artist Herb Booth. Herb encouraged Chance to follow his muse, and took him under his wing. Thanks to his mentor’s encouragement, Chance took the leap into the life of a full-time artist and has never looked back. Now he’s considered one of the best Texas sporting artists working today, with commissions backed up for years.
Jess Pryles wasn’t born in Texas, but she got here as fast as she could. She grew up a city girl in Melbourne, Australia, but a visit to Austin, Texas in 2008 and her first taste of Texas barbecue forever changed her life trajectory. She is now an internationally recognized live fire cook, author, meat expert and Hardcore Carnivore. She moved to Texas for good in 2015. Her interest in all things meat led to her first hunting experience, right here in Texas. She now hunts for white-tailed deer every year and loves to process her own venison.
A merchant mariner by trade, John Dunaway guides cargo ships through the Houston Ship Channel day in and day out. When not aboard ship, you will find him spending time outside with his family and trusty retriever Nixon. Come hunting season, they frequently wingshoot together which fulfills a passion for the outdoors and provides food for the table. Whether ashore or afloat, he documents the often neglected or poorly depicted lifestyles of hunting and shipping though his Abstract Conformity website. Abstract Conformity is his approach to sharing stories with details that are often overlooked by the mainstream viewer, continuously adapting this voice as he learns and grows.