My kind of travel: perfect mix of adventure sports, spa bliss, and farm to table delicious and healthy meals – all shared in an intimate setting of this magical 24 room boutique property. Wish all my photoshoot assignments were this much fun!
Here’s the link to watch the interview on AM Northwest with myself, Fred Noble, and Lance Christian about The Noble Spirit Documentary film and ALS fundraising events:
(versions of this story ran in Oregonian and World Hum in 2012)
I’ve been working as a professional photojournalist for over a decade yet I still face the same challenge wherever I travel. How can I create meaningful ‘sense of place’ photographs that convey the uniqueness of each location; the sure-footed agility of Himalalyan Sherpas who effortlessly passed me on the trail to Everest Base Camp, the surreal experience of swimming with jellyfish and drift diving with sharks in Palau, or the incredible sense of freedom floating down fresh untracked powder helicopter snowboarding in the Canadian Bugaboos? It’s a never-ending quest to create photographs that create the same emotional impact in the viewer as I experienced during these assignments.
It takes time to allow a place to impress itself on you and to reflect on its significance afterwards. And time and attention are the two resources we lack most in today’s fast paced ADD culture. I was reminded of this challenge once again on a recent trip to Australia’s Northern Territory. I traveled extensively throughout Australia in 2001, but monsoon rains stopped me visiting the top end of the Northern Territory. I hadn’t realized the importance of that trip at the time. The openness of the land, devoid of modern distractions and illusions, allowed me to clear my mind and remove the creative blocks to begin my career as a photojournalist.
I now had my chance to return to the areas of Australia’s Northern Territory I’d missed, traveling with a group of journalists while testing the newest Canon camera. To complete my assignment I’d be required to shoot almost exclusively with this ‘prosumer’ model (the EOS D650 also known as the Rebel T4i in the United States) aimed at the market between consumer and professional; a camera that wasn’t yet released to the market so I wouldn’t have a user manual or an opportunity to test the gear beforehand. And this time instead of three months, I’d have just five days to explore.
As a self proclaimed adrenalin junkie, I’m constantly seeking out new adventures in far-flung places. I’ve recently helicopter – snowboarded in Canada and lept off a 440 foot bungee jump in New Zealand. I’ve also been a frequent skydiver, scuba diver, mountain biker, and rock climber, and avid trekker – for 18 months, I traveled vagabond style through the South Pacific and S.E. Asia hiking up Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo and to the base camp of Mt. Everest.
However I don’t consider myself an extreme athlete or adventurer. It’s all relative – especially compared to all the characters I’ve encountered on my journeys. For the ten years I worked at various sports companies I was continually amazed at the boundaries athletes could push and the obstacles those with limitations could overcome. As a photojournalist I’ve had the good fortune to illustrate stories by pioneers of the adventure travel industry such as Tim Cahill, founder of Outside Magazine, who has spent a lifetime forging his own path.
So how would my experiences in Puerto Rico compare? I found an ideal balance between easily accessible adventures and authentic culture. It was an easy way to dip my toes into both worlds during my whirlwind week visit.
Here’s the photo and video highlights:
18 months ago Fred Noble was diagnosed with ALS. Though he’s lost the ability to move his legs, he was determined to celebrate his 75th birthday much as he has for the past 38 years – heli-skiing with Canadian Mountain Holidays. Last week he made the first ever descent on a sit-ski at the Bugaboos. Stay posted for his story about this sit-ski adventure soon, here’s a teaser from the documentary film we’re helping him create.
So, here’s how the first descent on a sit ski heliskiing at CMH unfolded . . .