Bearing Witness to History and a Country Evolving - 360˚ Journeys Through the Heartland

Bearing Witness to History and a Country Evolving - 360˚ Journeys Through the Heartland

It's been a pretty wildly eye-opening last couple o’ months.

Recently, my virtual reality company, Superswell VR, was blessed with the opportunity to work with Miles Partnership, a marketing company that specializes in the tourism and travel industries. They contracted Superswell VR to shoot 360˚ Google Streetview campaigns for various destinations, including Oklahoma's Chickasaw Nation, the Kentucky State Parks, and Kansas' Visit Wichita.

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The Meeting of Life - A Weekend at the SITKA Center for Arts & Ecology

The Meeting of Life - A Weekend at the SITKA Center for Arts & Ecology

As a self-employed freelancer you spend most of your life looking for jobs, bidding for jobs, creating decks and proposals and quotes and presentations for jobs and, if you're lucky, about 15 to 20% of your time actually doing jobs.

Furthermore, more often than not, 80% of those jobs that you're actually doing are ones you don't even want to do but have to do to pay the bills.

But every now and then you get a gig that reminds you why you're doing what you're doing to begin with.

One of those gigs where you have to stop, slap and ask yourself "Am I seriously getting PAID for this!??"

Well, this was one of those gigs...

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Nature + Kiddos = Happy You Happy Me Happy We. The Future of Science and the Environment is in Your Hands.

Nature + Kiddos = Happy You Happy Me Happy We. The Future of Science and the Environment is in Your Hands.

For all of you that know me, you know that there are few things more important to me than ensuring that not another generation goes by that doesn't connect to Mother Nature and understand her importance and role in every aspect of our lives, from clean air we breathe to the water we drink.

I will do everything in my power to ensure that not another single generation goes by downplaying the effects of climate change and the role we humans play in it.

And one of the things that I'm proudest of is getting involved with Ecology in Classrooms & Outdoors (ECO)

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The Future of Forestry Coming into Focus - Breaking Down Barriers at the Society of American Foresters Annual Convention

The Future of Forestry Coming into Focus - Breaking Down Barriers at the Society of American Foresters Annual Convention

I recently had the distinct pleasure of photographing the Society of American Foresters convention, this year held in Portland, Oregon, and I must say, it's quite refreshing to see how the face and core of the organization is adapting and evolving with the times and today's realities.

For one, while there was plenty of talk about forestry in the sense of the old paradigm - logging, clear-cutting, lumber and industry - there was an equal, if not even more pronounced presence bubbling just underneath the surface prepared to discuss things like climate change and sustainability…

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The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Rainier National Park: A Great Pacific Northwest Smoke Out

The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Rainier National Park: A Great Pacific Northwest Smoke Out

The last couple of weeks are exactly why I now find myself living in the Pacific Northwest.

Sort of.

So it's no secret that this region of the country has some of the most incredibly beautiful and inspiring fodder for landscape and nature lovers and overall wanderlusters.

If anything, the region is known for its copious amounts of water and incredibly liberal natural display of every shade of green known to man.

It's what I moved up here to explore and embed with.

Between the forests, the waterfalls, the rivers, the coastlines, the almost-religious focus on sustainability and conservation and nature-worship, and perhaps the world's most concentrated populations of tree-huggers on the planet (myself proudly and unapologetically included), it's enough to occupy infinite lifetimes of discovery.

What we didn't see coming (well actually we did) was…

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The Tale of two Teslas, a Trip and a Tire. Oh, and the Palouse. A Photography Trip to the Palouse was part of it...

The Tale of two Teslas, a Trip and a Tire. Oh, and the Palouse. A Photography Trip to the Palouse was part of it...

We were only 55 miles in when it happened. 

This was a trip that has been in the works for a year.

Ever since we won a raffle prize for 72 hours with a Tesla, we’ve been giddy about getting the thing scheduled. Time gave out on us during the Summer of 2017, and winter in the Pacific Northwest is…well…winter in the Pacific Northwest, so we held out and waited until just before the one-year expiration date on the prize - Spring of 2018, which seemed totally worth it - I mean look at those Falcon doors:

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Guanajuato - Millions of Gallons of Happy

Guanajuato - Millions of Gallons of Happy

I hate dogs.

I've always hated dogs.

And if you were living with the trauma of being been bit by numerous dogs as a child, you’d hate dogs too.

So when a friend’s friend asked if I wanted to dog and house-sit for her, my immediate internal reaction was ‘NO chance!’

Then she threw a curveball – a Google Images link for ‘Guanajuato.’ This triggered my self-diagnosed compulsive wanderlust disorder (and unreasonable addiction to tacos) and my fingers found themselves frantically replying "YES ME!"

It was beyond my control.

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Young Scientists Growing Up Early and Embracing Ecology

Young Scientists Growing Up Early and Embracing Ecology

I walked into a 3rd grade classroom to hear them asking their teachers if they had to worry about being shot by guns. An hour later, I found myself joining the school in a walkout to protest gun violence.

The next class I walked into had a list on their TV of steps to take to identify 'fake news.'

While I haven't been in a third grade classroom in decades, I was pretty sure this was certainly not the 3rd grade I knew...

I was here to shoot photos for Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (ecologyoutdoors.org), a non-profit I've recently joing the board of that's dedicated to connecting children to nature, especially minorities and those in undeserved areas.
 

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Gettin' To the Heart of the Art at San Jose del Cabo's Hotel El Ganzo

Gettin' To the Heart of the Art at San Jose del Cabo's Hotel El Ganzo

Back in September, I was EXTREMELY lucky to have the opportunity to spend a week at Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. It sits on the other, quieter, more civilized side of the Baja peninsula from Cabo San Lucas and it's no ordinary place. Not only have artists like Thievery Corporation and Telefunkt recorded in their underground recording studio, but they have an artist-in-residence program in which they invite artists of different disciplines to stay in the rooms and decorate them however they please.

Needless to say, we ran into some pretty unique stuffs!!

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Bringing Nature to the Kiddos & the Kiddos to the Nature! I've Joined The Board Of ECO!

Bringing Nature to the Kiddos & the Kiddos to the Nature! I've Joined The Board Of ECO!

As you are all aware, a big part of the mission of my life, especially in the current climate in the United States, is to help bring science and nature to the up-and-coming generations. I'm attempting to do this by using emerging imaging technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to introduce them and help stoke their curiosity in our natural world. This is a generation coming up that will never know a world in which these technologies do not exist, and I am determined to take full advantage of that.

So it is with great pleasure that I have accepted a role as

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Greatest Hits (aka Personal Favorites) From My Inaugural Pacific Northwest Autumn

Greatest Hits (aka Personal Favorites) From My Inaugural Pacific Northwest Autumn

If you've been following along, you know how integral our natural world has been over the past near-decade to my development and evolution as a human being, both personally and professionally. You may also be aware that I migrated up to the Pacific Northwest after a lifetime in Los Angeles to work on photography and virtual reality video projects to help connect people, and especially the younger generations, to science and our natural world. Well, with that move has come no only a drop in blood pressure, a rise in energy, and a higher genuinely-nice-to-acting-genuinely-nice-to-get-something-out-of-you strangers ratio, but, well, my first experience experiencing the seasons.

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On The Same Walls As Ansel Adams and Art Wolfe!? This Must Be Some Sort Of Mistake (But Sshhh ... Don't Tell The G2 Gallery)

On The Same Walls As Ansel Adams and Art Wolfe!? This Must Be Some Sort Of Mistake (But Sshhh ... Don't Tell The G2 Gallery)

The world hath DEFINITELY gone done lost its marbles!! When somehow, someway, I find my photos on a wall in an exhibition alongside images by Ansel Adams and Art Wolfe, among a slew of additional top-notch talent, it is irrefutable proof that insanity has infiltrated the collective human mind. But hot damn, I will do all I can to take advantage of that and roll with it...

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Leading Scott Kelby's WorldWide PhotoWalk - The Portland Chapter

Leading Scott Kelby's WorldWide PhotoWalk - The Portland Chapter

So it was early August and the posts and information for Scott Kelby's WorldWide Photowalk began to trickle through my streams. I've attended a few as a walker in the past, and was excited to participate again, this time in a new city, but when I logged on to register, there wasn't a Portland chapter or event scheduled. Seeing as how this was the 10-year anniversary of this annual event, I wasn't having any of that!! So I applied to lead a walk in Portland, and hot darnit, they agreed to let me do the thing.

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My Olympic National Park Zen (And Some Not So Zen) Moments - Backpacking the High Divide Loop

My Olympic National Park Zen (And Some Not So Zen) Moments - Backpacking the High Divide Loop

This was one of the main reasons I moved up to the Pacific Northwest...the great outdoors are not just a thing to do, they're the thing to do. Life, for the most part, revolves around Mother Nature and the wondrous gifts she bestows upon us, both physically and mentally, and one of the best ways to experience this is by disconnecting from anything and everything that dings, rings, or pings, and giving yourself completely up to her. 

In this case, it was some good ol' backcountry backpacking.

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A Few Choice Moments From My First Few Months In The Pacific Northwest

A Few Choice Moments From My First Few Months In The Pacific Northwest

As I explained in a previous post, I've recently made the migration to the Pacific Northwest and now proudly call Portland, Oregon home. In this post, I figured I'd let the pictures do the talking, for they will do a far better job of explaining why than any combination of words I can aloofly type here. So here are a few images of my first few months as a resident of this insanely gorgeous region. Hope you enjoy...

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My Homage To The Mountains That Made Me 'Me.' In All Its 360 Video Virtual Reality Glory!

My Homage To The Mountains That Made Me 'Me.' In All Its 360 Video Virtual Reality Glory!

This one is very very dear to my heart. When I made the choice to move up to the Pacific Northwest a few months ago, I knew that I had to pay homage to the Santa Monica Mountains - the mountains that made me ‘me.’

So I figured during my final weeks living in the Santa Monica Mountains, I’d take along a 360˚ VR video camera on the remainder of my hikes and excursions and cut together my gift back to the mountains…

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The Migration - My Twisted Journey To The Pacific Northwest

The Migration - My Twisted Journey To The Pacific Northwest

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.

So I now proudly call Portland, Oregon my home.

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Chopped The Head Off The Black Snake - Congratulations & Thank You Standing Rock

Chopped The Head Off The Black Snake - Congratulations & Thank You Standing Rock

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! 

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