A few years ago, while I was on Staniel Cay working on my film, “Exuma,” I met an amazing woman named Joan Mann. She was already quite elderly at the time but it didn’t seem to have slowed her down much. She was energetic and inspired and kind and quickly became a friend. She had sailed down to the islands in the early 60′s on an 18 foot boat with her husband and three young children in search of a simpler life and had lived on the island ever since. She was an extraordinary woman who was a part of the community for a very long time and was loved by all.
I decided to interview her, not with any particular objective or motivation, but rather to capture a little bit of her story and recollections of early life on the islands while she was still around. After realizing how much of the island’s history she held, I decided that I should put the interview on disc and make it available to the public at the Staniel Cay Library. I got caught up however in the seemingly endless sea of video that I was shooting and it fell by the wayside for a few weeks and then a few years. Joan died last week and, while I wish I had put this interview online earlier, I’ve finally retrieved it from my archive and gotten it posted. My only regret is that I didn’t do subsequent interviews with her to record a little more of her remarkable life. Our 45 minute interview doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
This interview took place nearly three years ago today in May, 2010 at her home on Staniel Cay. Our conversation wandered a fair bit so I’ve tried to compile everything into sections that make a little more sense and cut out some of the random questions and disruptions in between. Other than that, the interview is completely unaltered. Joan spent a lot of years trying to capture the beauty of the Exumas with a paintbrush and the closing lines of narration in my forthcoming film are inspired by and dedicated to her and her paintings. I’m sure most people who crossed her path were similarly inspired. If you know anyone who knew Joan, please pass this along to them.
Walking along another coastline in the Caribbean. Toña is the beer here and I’m drinking one. Sun is about to set. Up ahead I catch sight of a young boy splashing around in the water down behind some rocks. It’s hot and he didn’t bother removing any clothes before he jumped in to cool off. He’s playing with a hat that appears to be his favorite thing in the world and I’m struck by how much fun he is having with it. I take out my camera.
It’s full-on summer in Montana. The months and months of pleas for warm, sunny weather have been replaced with pleas for popsicles and cold rivers and cooler weather. I mean, at least by the ungrateful among us… As computers and hard drives and monitors help drive up the temperature in my little studio, I thought I’d post a short clip I edited together this winter for the Alpine Ski Jumping Association. It’s a collection of selects from the Gelande Ski Jumping event at Snow Bowl Ski Area. Grab a popsicle and enjoy.
Last spring I found myself huddled in the shade at the edge of some trees with Casey Anderson, Missy Pyle and Rick Smith watching a mother grizzly and three cubs. They played and dug for grubs and voles in the sunny, sprawling meadow in front of us while Rick and I filmed from the comfort of our parkas. Eventually we got hungry too. It turns out that trail mix is a hot commodity in those woods and before long we had a bunch of new Grey Jay friends. I filmed their raids on our trailmix stash while Rick kept focused on the bears – or at least he tried to.
I’ve kept with Nat Geo’s spelling of “Grey Jays” although, “Gray Jays” is also perfectly acceptable.
This is a very short travel sequence that highlights a time-lapse that I put together recently. The traveling time-lapse shot toward the end of the sequence is the first of it’s kind that I’m aware of. Read the post for more info. As always, click on the little gear symbol at the bottom of the video player to watch it in HD!
I don’t really consider myself to be much of a graphics/effects guy. I’d rather be taking pictures than staring at a computer monitor or pouring over some arcane software user manual. Making films by yourself however, requires that you learn to do a lot of different things and if you want to take advantage of even a little bit of what modern digital filmmaking has to offer, this means learning some After Effects and motion tracking and color management and knowing more than a little about pixel-wrangling. It’s hard to manipulate video to get what you need if you don’t understand the nitty-gritty of how digital images work. So I’ve become a reluctant computer nerd spending untold thousands of hours learning how to use computers to bring the things I see in my head to the screen. Continue reading Travel-lapse
Toward the end of this last fall I worked with my friend Dawson Dunning running a bunch of remote sensor video cameras not far outside of Glacier National Park. We were trying to record video of Grizzly Bears rubbing and marking trees for part of a Wild Horizons documentary about wild North America.
Dawson downloads and reviews footage in a downpour.
That hot sun behind me seems a long ways away now as I sit in my studio on the hemisphere that is tilting ever so slightly away from the sun. This photo is the last frame of a time-lapse that I shot recently for my upcoming film, “Exuma.” The camera snapped this shot of me as I reached down to shut off the timer. Continue reading Speeding up the Bahamas
The view from part way up Mt. Katahdin - click photo for larger image
I was recently up in Maine filming black bears for an episode of “Expedition Wild” for National Geographic. I should say “trying” to film black bears. Turns out that bears are hard to find in the dense, northern woods. The magnum Fujinon lens that Grizzly Creek Films has didn’t turn out to be a lot of help in stuff that dark and thick. We did however hop from lake to lake in a float plane filming moose and loons and bullfrogs and leeches and lots of other good stuff. Should be a fun show. We also followed host Casey Anderson up to the top of Mount Katahdin. Needless to say, there weren’t any bears up there either. But the view was worth the hike and made us feel like we were in the mountains of Montana again. Here are some production stills from the trip. Continue reading Maine
I missed pretty much the whole Day of the Dead parade this year. Long story. But sad because if there is one night to walk around Missoula with a camera, that’s it. I did get downtown beforehand though for about 10 minutes to take some photos of the lead-up to the parade. Here are a few of them. Continue reading Dia de los Muertos 2