Christoph Rehage: The Longest Way

From November 2007 to November 2008, Christoph Rehage trekked across China, taking video as he went. But this was not your typical tourist video. Before he left he shaved his head and his face, and then recorded himself as he went along on his journey. The final edited project is an amazing time-lapse film showing scenes and people he passed along the route, but showcasing the way his hair and beard grew throughout the trip. It’s a wild ride, and definitely worthy of watching at least twice to catch all the background scenery and captions.

Christoph has posted more information about the video at vimeo. He also has a website, thelongestway.com, with a travel diary of his trek, but the site has been down the couple of times I’ve checked in. Hopefully he’ll be able to get it back up and running. Christoph – great video and amazing trek, you have my respect!

Florian Shulz: Freedom to Roam

Florian Schulz is a professional nature photographer and a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). His Freedom to Roam Project chronicles wildlife migration corridors and shows how each piece of the conservation puzzle connects with the others. This project documents the affects of global warming and human encroachment on wild spaces and makes clear the need for protected wildlife corridors to allow migrating species to be able to move throughout their ranges safely and freely.

Phase one of the Freedom to Roam project documents the wildlife corridor that runs from the arctic down along the coast and through the mountains of North America. The photography from this phase, known as Y2Y or Yellowstone to Yukon, was compiled into a book and selected photos are also on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. Schultz is now starting work on phase two, B2B or Baja to the Beaufort Sea.

The stunning video above puts a face to the conservation efforts and shows just what it is scientists and other conservationists are working to protect. The caribou in this video migrate over proposed oil drilling land, pristine wilderness that the oil companies would have us believe is barren and purposeless but for the oil that lies beneath it. With the effects of global warming diminishing arctic habitat it is more important than ever to protect that habitat, and to make more habitat accessible to arctic wildlife.

For more information on the Freedom to Roam project and award-winning photographer Florian Shulz visit visionsofthewild.com.  The NY Times article Home on the Range also provides information on the proposed protection of the Y2Y wildlife corridor.

Philip Bloom: Sophia’s People

Philip Bloom shot this beautiful video with a Canon 5D mkII while on a short trip to Sophia, Bulgaria to teach filmmakers about 35mm adaptors and DSLRs with HD video capabilities. If you haven’t seen video from the 5D mkII yet, it’s pretty amazing. Bloom states in his article Video DSLRs, the death of 35mm adaptors? that there are still quite a few issues to be worked out with the HD video DSLRs, but this video shows that a lot can be done with a camera ultimately designed to take amazing stills.

I’ve been a bit of a purist when in came to HD video in a DSLR, believing that adding video was just a publicity stunt and that the quality wouldn’t be there, but my view is starting to change. It would be really nice to have video on my next trip, and it’d be great not to have to carry a separate video camera. If they can improve the video capabilities without sacrificing anything in the core still shots, then maybe the camera companies are on to something after all.

The Magic Hour

Magic Hour

There’s about an hour in the morning just after sunrise and an hour in evening just before sunset where the sunlight is especially golden. This is the golden hour, or as I prefer, magic hour. Here in Minnesota we really only get it in the spring, summer and autumn – while we do get it in the winter, it’s a lot less noticeable because the sun is low on the horizon all day.

Last night we had a good rain, but the clouds cleared just a bit along the horizon at magic hour and it made for some really beautiful light. Everything seemed to glow against the dark skies. It reminded me that there truly is magic in this world if you open your eyes to look for it.

Dandelion Lessons

Weeds by KeriFlur, on Flickr

Last week Thursday and Friday were beautiful days here, sunny and in the 80s. On Friday I headed down to Lake Calhoun with my camera and watched the tall grass near the water blowing in the soft breeze, the buoys bobbing up and down gently in the water and the little children playing on the swings near the beach. But it was this dandelion that I passed on my way back from the lake that I found the most inspiring. It had planted itself in the tiny amount of dirt between the sidewalk and the retaining wall of the adjacent house and had succeeded in sending up not one but two flowers so early in the season, even though we’re really low on rain this spring. We call them weeds, and we look down on them, working to root them out of our yards, frowning on their ability to disrupt our plans for perfect lawns and sidewalks. But I have to admire their tenacity and persistence. They persevere in the harshest conditions and are never afraid of disrupting the status quo. Their little yellow faces shine right back into the face of adversity. Yes, this is exactly the kind of inspiration I need right now.

Note: This is a cropped version of the photo I took that day.  You can see the full photo on Flickr.