Robert DeNiro to Arts Grads … “You’re Fucked!”

Great opener leads to a speech every creator should watch and digest.

Path to justice is one all of us must travel together. — Barack Obama

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people.

To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. — Standing Bear, Sioux Chief

Be kind whenever possible.

It is always possible.

Dalai Lama

Prince Ea on Love

A lot of wisdom crammed into 4 minutes and 13 seconds. Well worth your time to watch and absorb.

Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story

Navy SEAL. The very term says “bad ass”.

Like most folks, I was surprised when the story broke that a former SEAL had recently come out as transgender and was in the process of transitioning from male to female. My first thought was “how incredibly brave”.

Imagine that, my first reaction to the story how brave this person was; a friggin Navy SEAL, with seven combat deployments to her credit.

I never served in the Armed Forces. But, I consider myself fortunate to know and call friend many who have; especially several combat veterans from Vietnam. Their stories, of the mistreatment they experienced when returning home, have always stuck with me. As a result, while I have not always supported our wars, I have always supported our soldiers. Those men and women prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States. They deserve our respect and support; especially when they return home.

Lady Valor” is the story of Kristin Beck. The film is equal parts gut-wrenching and poignant. It is clear that denying his true self was destroying Christopher Beck. At some level, it drove him to excellence as a SEAL while destroying his inner life and, ultimately, his marriage. Becoming Kristin seems to have changed much of that.

What I found most compelling was the way the folks around Beck supported her. Sure, there were and remain folks with negative reactions to her change. But, many of the folks you would expect to have the most extreme reactions (e.g. football coach father, big brother, fellow SEALs) have chosen to love and support the man they loved as a son, brother or brother-in-arms. It is clear that, in retrospect, each recognized and respected the emotional, existential turmoil with which Christopher Beck once lived. Rather than rejecting Chris as weak, they embraced Kristin; as family should.

As for the rest of us, if anyone deserves to live free … in body and spirit … in the United States, it is Kristin Beck.

Lady Valor” is now on Netflix and absolutely worth your time to watch.

‘The Silent Flute’ by Bruce Lee

I wish neither to possess,
Nor to be possessed.
I no longer covet paradise,

More important, I no longer fear hell.

The medicine for my suffering
I had within me from the very beginning,

But I did not take it.

My ailment came from within myself,

But I did not observe it
Until this moment.

Now I see that I will never find the light

Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel,

Consuming myself.

Project 365 Redux

Back in 2008, my buddy Joe Lindsay introduced me to Project 365. In a nutshell, Project 365 is a way for an artist to grow and learn by committing to creating new art; once a day, for a full year. It began with photography and has been adapted by other creative disciplines since. My 365 is photography.

My initial 365 was very short-lived. When I was away from my family in San Francisco, it was easy to make time to shoot. When, I got home; not so much. My firstborn was six months old. It was a busy time. So, it fell by the wayside.

While shooting Bokeh last summer, I got to know Briene Lermitte and Kat Gatti, two very talented young photographers on Team Bokeh. Both of them were planning 365s and have since started and maintained them. As they have done so, I’ve watched with a mix of admiration and envy.

Back on January 16, I wrote Ship or Shut Up over on PhotoFocus. Check it out if you need a kick in your creative pants from Seth Godin. In that post, I put myself on the spot to launch a new 365 by March 1.

Today, I’ve met that goal.

If you are interested in following my progress, have a look at I’ve also added a link in the menu above.

The first rule of 365 …

Post something original each day.

Some methodologies call for carrying taking a processing a new photo each day and, I’ll admit that is probably the best use of the 365 project to force growth in a photographer. However, I have work and family constraints which make that scenario, if not impossible, highly unlikely. In addition, I have a huge back catalog of unprocessed images from the last five years of traveling the globe for work and fun. I need to find the best images of the bunch and assemble them as a portfolio.

With that in mind, here are the goals of my 365 project.

  1. One new image posted each day.
  2. Newly made images will have been processed and posted within the week they were shot.
  3. Initially, I am shooting for a 2:5 ratio of new:back catalog images. As the back catalog is cleared, the ratio will start to favor newly made images.
  4. As my initial focus is clearing my back catalog, new images will not be shot within subject themes (e.g. wildlife, portraiture) or technical constraints (e.g. 50mm, slow shutter).
  5. Once, the back catalog is cleared, I will start working on monthly, if not weekly, photographic theme designed to push me to do one or more of the following:
    • Develop a new technical skill (e.g. strobes, sound/light triggers).
    • Explore a new subject theme (e.g. astral bodies, pets, silhouettes).
    • Fill a hole in my portfolio.
  6. Coming from video production, I reserve the right to use video projects as 365 posts. Video posts will fall within the same constraints listed above.

So, there you have it. I am looking forward to this journey. If you are a friend or new follower, I look forward to your comments and critiques of the photos I post.

Bokeh covered by TWiP

Last week, Frederick Van Johnson of “This Week in Photo” sat down with Andrew Sullivan, Geoffrey Orthwein, Joe Lindsay and me to discuss Bokeh. The conversation covered all aspects of production and provides a look at how a film like Bokeh comes together.

Thanks to Frederick and the TWiP crew for supporting our film.

Embrace “And”. Repair the World.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I was off in Iceland, with friends, making our first feature film. The experience was a challenge for all of us. I learned a lot about myself and what I want to get and give through my creative work. I am still sorting it all out. But, I found this TEDx talk and I understand enough about where I am headed to know that David Howitt‘s ideas are a signpost on that path.