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Top 5 Inspiring Videos 2015

There are so many avenues to draw inspiration from these days. As a professional photographer for nearly 20 years, naturally I am inspired by the images created by others. It allows me to see a different interpretation to perhaps an otherwise common or familiar scene. Another means of great inspiration to me through the years has been music. That may sound odd as a photographer, but music has always infused my mind with images, ideas, and thus a driving force in making some of those images a reality. Finally, I have been finding the most inspiration from independent videos these days. Those moving pictures, built around music that in the end tell a story, share a message or encourage a change. Needless to say, I have watched too many hours of video this year, but in the process have discovered a few nuggets of inspiration along the way.  Well, inspiration to me at least, and towards my photographic and filming pursuits.  I thought I would share them with you…so buckle up, crank up those speakers, and enjoy the stories, messages, and fantastic filming.

#5 – The Chase by Mike Olbinski

I love time-lapse photography and how it shows motion. I particularly like the subject of clouds and their motion.  This short video captures a great sequence of storms, how they develop, and the beauty that can be witnessed amidst the American Plains.

#4 – Denali by Felt Soul Media

Those who know me, know that I am no lover of dogs. That said, many of my friends are. Regardless of my own thoughts, there is no question the companionship and loving bond that can exist between man and animal.  The message of this video, captured mostly in still images, is done so well, and has been so inspiring to me and to portions of my life.  We never know how long we will have with the ones we love…so you should go totally insane with joy.

#3-Merely Observations by Gnarly Bay

Gnarly Bay is honestly one of my all time favorite independent film makers. Their approach to filming, music and narration produce some of the greatest inspiration to me and my photographic pursuits.  Whenever I feel stuck, I just need to watch one of Dana and Dan’s films and I am once again inspired. Inspired to create something in the now.

 

#2-Timedrift II by Martin Heck

Like I stated earlier, I love time-lapse work, especially as it relates to clouds.  This short film is a great resource in watching the subtle movements of air, how they roll over the mountains, and across the valley floor.  I have been so lucky in life to fly my paraglider across these mountains, so perhaps they stir inside myself a unique set of memories. A reminder to keep watching, learning, and experiencing.

 

#1-Space by Gnarly Bay

No surprise, but the top of the list this year goes to Gnarly Bay. Their latest creation called Space.  Find a quiet place to watch this film, listen to the message, because the message is fantastic!  I hope you will be inspired by this film as much as I have. Each day the lights come on.

I hope this short collection of videos has inspired you in some way or another. They have inspired me.  As we begin a new year, my hope is to take full advantage of each day, to live life more fully, be observant, create; to be thankful, giving and full of joy. How lucky we are to be on this amazing earth, learning, experiencing and hopefully making the most of each moment we are given.

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Life in Color

As autumn comes to an abrupt end, and the snow begins to fall, it is a good time to reflect.  Life can often be very mundane; the same schedule day in and day out.  At times it has felt like my life is filled with only the drab, the relentless grind, the longing for wishing, wanting, and working toward a future day.  As I briefly pause and look back over the last few months I realize how much color is actually in my life.  Color shining forth not necessarily in specific adventures, but the friends along the way that embody the color of life.  Paragliding, although beautiful and breathtaking, is a lonesome pursuit once you are in the air.  However, whilst on the ground, this pursuit often presents a colorful collection of personalities.  It is this collection of close knit friends, family, and fellow adventurers that bring so much color to my life.  My feet dangling thousands of feet over the mountains, circling with eagles and touching the clouds…well, that is just a bonus.

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Desert High

It is amazing what can happen in just 24 hours.  Especially within the realm of paragliding.  If your lucky you can bag one good, solid mountain flight within that timeframe, but five?  Yeah, our short excursion to central Utah this weekend yielded just that.  These are not short nor small sessions in the air, but high altitude, high alpine type flights.

The high desert is a fickle place to fly a Paraglider, riddled with unique dangers and intensities in the air that often do not get the respect they rightfully deserve. Through the years I have been taught this respect, sometimes in a not so pleasant way.  I have seen too many pilots treat the conditions in these desert mountains just like those of the training hill.  Unfortunately, that approach is a bit like petting a dragon, and thinking your just petting a kitty cat.  Thus I am very cautious when I approach these desert mountains.  As autumn unleashed Clark, Keenan, and myself looked closely for just the right weather window, and when it happened, we went.

RichfieldWe were joined by Jeff, Mike, Bob, and of course our ever faithful driver Amber. The first late morning flight began from the 11,200 foot summit of Monroe Peak just as the small autumn clouds began to form above.  In the zero wind conditions Keenan and I made quick work of the small thermals and after a few turns found ourselves tickling the underside of the clouds…and the rhythm of the day begins.

2015-10-09As evening starts to give way to night we sneak in one final flight off the summit, just as the clouds part.  The sky erupts in golden splendor reflecting the beautiful autumn colors below.  Cross Country (XC) flying is fun and all, but absolutely NOTHING compares to a high mountain flight in the smooth evening air.  No adrenaline, no rush, no miles, lines, or expectations; just a heavenly beauty and divine feeling in the soul that cannot be replicated with ones feet on the ground.  Folding our gliders in the grass under the dancing purple sky, a few of us recognized what just happened and couldn’t wipe the smile off our faces. That 30 minute flight was hands down one of the most spectacular flights I have perhaps EVER had in my flying career……and believe me, I have had a few.

2015-10-09 19.09.32How smooth was that mountain air?  Smooth…butter smooth.  Now if I can just find somewhere in town that will sell me a grilled cheese.