At 24 years old, Layth Taylor from Granbury, Texas, has already crossed things off his bucket list. First, he has become the photographer he always wanted to be; and second, he has done all of his hunting firsts. But one wouldn’t have happened without the other, and it all begins with a father’s deep love for his son and the heritage he left behind.
Layth Taylor has two passions: photography and hunting. At 24 years old, he already has experience in both under his belt, and it wouldn’t have happened without the early and continuous encouragement of his late father.
It was around high school that Layth became interested in the craft. “My dad would always encourage us to do stuff,” he recalled, “my dad was a big part of encouraging me to get a camera.” Layth taught himself basic camera functions through YouTube, and in his senior year, he joined photojournalism, where his teacher noticed that he had a real talent. “A lot of my stuff was published in our school’s newspaper,” he said, “she saw my potential and she would send me on assignments saying, ‘I know you can capture it, so go get it.’” That’s where he got a real feel of action photography, as he mostly took photos of graduations and high-school sports teams. After graduation, he continued his passion in college, where he continued to take live campus sports shots and eventually became part of the yearbook club.
In the fall of 2015, his father had passed away, but his presence was as strong as ever. Layth continued a pastime that he loved, and at Christmas of that year, he received his first big camera. “For that Christmas, my mom wanted to get something big and special because my dad was a big gift-giver,” he said, “he would always surprise us with a big gift for Christmas, so my mom set aside some money, and I was able to purchase my first full-frame camera.” From that day on, his relationship with a camera became more serious, and he started doing photography full time. Weddings, churches, magazines, articles—you name it, he was doing it. The opportunities just kept on coming.
His passion took a shift when he got his first handgun around November 2019. He loved the outdoors and had every intention to use it for a new hobby: hunting. “I grew up outdoors. I never really grew up hunting, but I grew up fishing, hiking, climbing, skateboarding,” Layth explained. Now was his chance to take on a new outdoor sport, and he quickly jumped into listening to podcasts, something he typically does when learning a new hobby. As luck may have it, one day when he was listening to a podcast and he heard about a hunting crew bringing along a photographer. Something sparked in him and gave him the idea to do the same.
A week later, Micah Smith, a good friend of his, reached out to him for a duck hunt. The opportunities opened up from there. From hunting with friends, to being asked to start filming hunting tv shows. "Jeff Thomason and Predator Pursuit asked if I would like to learn from his camera man Dustin Blankenship! I said I would love to learn that aspect of the hunting industry”. As other opportunities came, he was able to start helping Dustin filming a show called Adaptive Pursuits, a TV show from the North American Association of Blind Sportsmen that consisted in taking people who where totally or legally blind to do activities out of their comfort zone, such as hunting.
"It was a pretty cool experience" Layth recalls. He got to see how it was like to hunt for two blind men and how, while doing it, the rest of their senses—such as hearing and touch—became heightened. Layth distinctly remembers how knowledgeable one of the blind hunters was, assessing how he was to shoot based on the nature that surrounded them, such as the type of field. Despite their lack of sight, Layth explains that they were still able to appreciate hunting in their own way, even if it was simply participating in the trip and not returning home with game.
He never planned to do videos. In fact, he says that he spent most of his life avoiding it, especially when it was for weddings. But with the right people surrounding him and teaching him everything he knows, along with the hunting settings he gets to film at, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
In just one year, he got to hunt a lot of animals—like deer, sandhill cranes, teal, duck and coyote—and shows no sign of slowing down. When asked what type of hunting he loves most, he answered, “To me, my favorite hunting out of all of it is first predator hunting. I love predator hunting.” He then continues to say that duck hunting is a close second. “There are more opportunities to tell stories with duck hunting for sure,” he explained. Next up on his list? Hunts in Alaska or Canada. “I’ve hunted all of my firsts. Now it’s just kind of going after stuff I really want to get,” he said. We can’t wait to see what kind of photos he can take from that setting!
His experience with Can-Am no doubt began while hunting. He has had the chance to hunt in and on top of the Can-Am Defender Lone Star and is hooked. “I’ve gotten to use and be in it countless times,” Layth said, “we’ve carried it around all of Texas.” Having used many other vehicles, he doesn’t hesitate to enthusiastically share his thoughts about how much he loves the ride, saying, “I tell everybody: I don’t care if you really want to save money, Can-Am is the smoothest.” He even went on a 24-hour hunting contest with it, proving just how much they rely on the vehicle to get work done.
When hunting with a Can-Am Defender, accessorizing is key. In many of Layth’s hunting photos, you can even see the customizations on the vehicle they used. Because there is so much equipment to lug around while going out on the land, practical add-ons like racks and netting are always useful. Even accessories like a windshield and bumpers are handy, making the entire experience out in the wild safer and more comfortable. Plus, we must admit, it’s definitely photo-worthy when a vehicle is all put together in a hunting setting!
Though he does not yet have a Can-Am of his own, Layth appreciates all that it offers. If it were up to him, he would get the same 6-seater he’s been using on his hunts. “When we get to the point where we can buy our own house, that is the one thing I want,” he said, “I would save up for a Can-Am for sure.” Even his wife and daughter approve! In fact, the last time his 2-year-old daughter Mia was around a Can-Am, she got very excited not just to ride it, but to be in the driver seat. “My friend sat her in a seat, and then she said ‘no’ and climbed into his lap” Layth recalled. Sounds like another future Can-Am rider!
The combination of talent and passion that Layth has does not go unnoticed. We’re sure that there will be plenty more adventures for him in the future. You can keep up with Layth and his hunting photography by following his Instagram account, @capturingthehunt.
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