I know I've been mostly absent for a while and for that I apologize, but it's been a bit of a crazy few months. To make a super long story short, as of April 20, I have migrated north to the grand Pacific Northwest. The lush greenery and outdoor lifestyle-driven populations have been seducing me for close to a decade, and I finally decided to take the leap.
Not only have I lived in Southern California all of my life and have been curious about a change for just about as long, but perhaps the biggest driver was to be better positioned to explore the wondrous nature the region has to offer and the people, companies, and organizations that make Mother Earth such a concentrated focus of this region.
If you're not familiar, at 140 years old, American Forests is the nation's oldest conservation organization, so needless to say, I am completely humbled and flattered to have received an Honorable Mention by American Forests in their 2016 Forests in Focus photography contest. Click here to check out all the beautiful winning images.
I have not felt joy like this in a long time. I’m not sure why this hit me so hard, but hearing the whooping and celebrating at Oceti Sakowin literally brought tears to my eyes. This is a HUGE victory for Native American rights, the rights of indigenous people everywhere, the environment, the fight against corporate interests over human life, Mother Earth, and most importantly…humanity!
So it started to get real once I was waiting for my connecting flight in Denver, Colorado to Bismarck, North Dakota and I flicked through my Feedly stream. "War Crimes On The Northern Plains" "More than 140 NoDAPL Water Protectors Arrested Overnight" "Police Brutality at Standing Rock Soars With Use of Out of State Law Enforcement" "Brutalized by Police and Jailed in Dog Kennels."
Here's one way to start the summer off with a bang: Head to Denmark to shoot virtual reality at northern Europe's largest music and arts gathering, the famous Roskilde Festival, which, this year, included Neil Young, At The Drive In, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Action Bronson, Wiz Khalifa and an all-star cast of over 100,000 professional vomitors and shameless public urinators.
Our National Parks and outdoors spaces have done more for me than I can ever possibly express. I have learned more about myself, more about all of us, and more about what and why matters and drives me and all of humanity in those parks than anywhere and anytime else in my adult life. I cannot think of anything that has helped to heal my psyche over the past decade more than our natural world and outdoors spaces, and while it's absolutely impossible to express all of those sentiments in a blog post, the most appropriate attempt would be to simply rehash some of my favorite scenes and stories that I have been blessed to see with my own eyes and experience with my own being over the years. So below is a gallery of 100 images from within some of our national parks and some links to some of the stories behind those images. Hope You Enjoy.
A couple of months ago, I found myself in the fortunate situation of shooting virtual reality footage with a prototype VR camera...in Tahiti. Needless to say, that was an insaneexperience that I will never ever forget. If you want to read about that experience, check out this post, but here, I'm going to lay out a few things Skye Mayring, my partner in Superswell VR, and I, learned about shooting virtual reality, because, let me tell you, it's nothing like shooting regular video.
Citizine gone done published a couple of more of the editorial shoots I did for them, so I wanted to share these ones with you. This time around, I got a chance to hang out for a day with Los Angeles area filmmaker and brand influencer Chris Laughter, where we sampled tacos, candies, libations, dumplings, classic architecture and a whole lotta street shooting through Downtown Los Angeles, and then I was incredibly super fortunate to spend a full day with the insanely WAYYY too much fun travel vlogger Alana Fickes, aka Alana Chan Warrior Princess, where we got crazy at the carnival!
So this is a project I've had to keep under wraps for almost a half year now, and it's been hot darn damn difficult! I recently found myself shooting virtual reality (VR) footage for a week in March with a prototype high end VR camera system. The idea was to gather footage to demonstrate the system's capabilities at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) in San Francisco at the end of last month, as well as Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference (SVVR) in Palo Alto that same week.
So this was a super exciting thing for me and something I'm extremely proud of...a project I've been quietly working on with Earthtones for several years now has come to fruition. It's called WhyMusic In Schools and it's based around a curriculum of using technology and music as social emotional learning tools (SEL) for children at a critical age in their development. In this case it was 6th graders, and after years of putting the thing together, we just got a chance to test it in the Los Angeles Unified School District Incubator School for the first time over the past two weeks. The results? Spectacular!
So I was insanely fortunate to get the opportunity to spend a week shooting virtual reality footage for the Tahiti Tourism board in French Polynesia on the islands of Tahiti with the infamously fantabulous travelista Joan Jetsetter and uber-mad-scientist pioneering virtual reality engineer Sergi Perdices. While I'll be preparing a couple of thorough posts about that ridiculous experience in the next couple of weeks, I couldn't wait to share a few images with you that I felt might make some solid backgrounds for your phones. A few screenshots samples are above, and if you click through, you can simply right-click and download the high resolution versions to use on your own devices if you so choose.
Note: So this could quite possibly be the most personal thing I've ever publicly posted. It took me months to draft it and I originally published it on my Ello page a few months back, but figured it was time to post it here, on my own webpage, as well.
Over the past several months, I've been blessed to be able to work with some organizations and causes that lie very close to my psyche. As most of you already know, our natural world and the protection of our open spaces is a huge thing for me, and plays a major role in my life. When I was approached by the 50 year old World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon to help usher them into a new era, defined by reversing the trends of irresponsible mass deforestation and forest exploitation by protecting the health of forests and sustainable community-managed forestry, how could I say no?
Over the course of a recent 4 weeks, I found myself hanging out in the Funny or Die offices with the company's co-founder Mike Farah, sipping cappuccinos and visiting Sunset Boulevard art galleries with fashionista Marta Pozzan, inhaling tacos and mescal with globetrottin' foodie Krista Simmons, and joyriding up Pacific Coast Highway with the gorgeous DJ Duo POSSO.
Several years back, when I first began my immersion into digital photography world, I found myself religiously listening to every photography related podcast I could find. As the years went on and podcasts became more and more popular, more and more of them began to find their way onto my playlist. As time went on, however, I've been able to narrow it down to the handful that truly resonated with me, and there was always one that stood high on that list...
There's no denying that climate change is one of the preeminent topics of our day, one of the biggest challenges the current generations have to face, one of the most hotly debated topics on the public stage that has the very very very very real potential of several affecting our lives and the way we approach the future of our species and the future of the planet as a whole. So when the leaders of our world get together to discuss solutions and formulate strategies for tackling this topic, everyone listens. The problem is, no one ever expects anything to come of it. Politics as usual.
If you're still looking for unique gifts for those unique peeps in your life, check out my stores on Fine Art America and Crated. You can get art prints, canvas prints, duvets, pillowcases, phone cases, greeting cards, all of it!
Black Friday. Oh Black Friday. On that bi-polar day in which hundreds of millions are nonsensically encouraged to brutally duke it out for deals just mere minutes after expressing gratitude for what we already have, we decided to get as far away from the madness as we could...as far as our gas tank would take us...to the middle of the Mojave Desert!
So last week was a bizarre week. I got a call last Saturday to see if I wanted to accompany a pair of journalists from Time Magazine's The Drive website as their videographer in a new 2016 Camaro on a road trip from Portland to San Francisco for their Find New Roads campaign. The thing is, we had 36 hours to cover 800 miles...
If I had to map out a perfect photography-centric week, it would not have turned out as well as the week that I just finished. It was overwhelming, encouraging, exciting, inspiring, nerve-racking and glorious all at the same time. I'm not sure how I'll convey it here, but I'll give it my best shot...
I recently spent an incredible week in the Pacific Northwest, the reason of which will come in a more detailed post next week, but while I was up there, I couldn't help but capture a few scenes of the foliage beginning to turn. Coming from Southern California, it's always a treat to be able to capture some fall colors, and just wanted to share those with you here as a bit of a peaceful meditation. Hope you enjoy.
Ok, so this is a bit strange, as I'm not usually the one with the lens pointed at me, but when Samsung asked if I'd speak at DPReview and Amazon.com's inaugural PIX2015, a live streamed photography conference, expo, and interactive photography playground, I couldn't say no! I'll be there on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 6 and 7. On Tuesday, I'm proud to be participating in a panel entitled "Photography and the Environment" at 12:15pm. On Wednesday, I'll be presenting a talk "What Photography Did For Me: Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone To Focus On The Moment." That one will take place at 1:15pm. The cool thing is, even if you're not there in person, everything will be live streamed right on their site, www.PIX2015.com.
And believe you me, there are so many reasons to be at this thing. Along with a cadre of
If you’ve followed me or know anything about me for any amount of time, you know that my heart, head, soul, and passions lie in the outdoors and our natural world. So when car maker Subaru reached out to me regarding using one of my images for a joint campaign they were launching with the National Park Service to clean up the National Parks, you can imagine how my fast my mind was racing to process this information.
So that was a super fun evening! The one, the only Trey Ratcliff from www.StuckInCustoms.com and TheArcanum.com fame made his Los Angeles stop of his TreyUSA photowalk tour across the U.S. last weekend. There were at least 300 photographers crawling the Santa Monica beach and pier area, all of us learning, laughing, and snapping away.
I was privileged enough to have the Portland Japanese Garden's former Program Director Wendy Mitchell, who is now the current Director of Stewardship at the World Forestry Center, serve as my personal guide for a morning at the Garden and I wanted to share some of that experience, so this is a straightforward one.
Not many words.
A series of images.
A photo essay if you will.
Click through to enjoy a Saturday morning at the Portland Japanese Garden.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I just got back from a few weeks in Maine. The main purpose of the trip was to work on a video for Camp Skylemar, one of the most beautiful, efficiently run sleep away summer camps in the country. I’ll post much more about this insanely incredible experience once we’re done with the video in a few weeks, but this post is a quick focus on the 5 days after we were done. Since I had never been to Maine before, I tacked on some extra time at the end of the job to explore the State for a few days.