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why do you shoot?

take a second and really think about it.

what’s the real reason, deep down, that you love to shoot?


sure, i shoot to tell stories. i shoot to empower people. i shoot to bring events, people, and places alive like no one could have imagined.

but there’s a more selfish reason i shoot. a deeper reason.

i shoot for the memories.

you know exactly what I’m talking about. the memories you can share with your family and friends. the memories that make you come alive and feel unstoppable. the memories you look back on a decade later and relive.

as storytellers, photographers, and cinematographers, we love helping, inspiring, and sharing stories with others. we get a thrill from putting other people’s details, nuances, and values ahead of our own. the time we devote to this is what makes a deep story.

but i’m also here to let you in on a little secret. it’s ok to be selfish.

it’s ok to shoot for yourself… to shoot for your own memories, too.

take my shoot for the NFL for example.  i got to fly on the New Orleans Saints team charter as the only media person. that’s correct. the only media person flying with the Saints on one of the biggest flights of their lives.

i remember vividly the conversations the players had with each other. when they conversed with each other it was one big celebration, laughing, joking, even singing.

but whenever the players would sit by themselves, I could see the nervousness start to show, despite their attempts to hide it. they had trained their whole lives for this… and there I was… a witness in awe.

i remember the police escort that would await us as landed to make sure we made it safely to the hotel. i had never had a police escort before, but i promised myself to have more in the future. :)

the next day they got to meet President Obama (for winning the Superbowl) inside the White House. i can remember the feeling of the plastic from my Z-Finder pressed against my eye as Obama walked into the media room. the room looked much bigger through the 14mm lens i had on and when i pulled my eye away, there was the full Saints team and the president less than 10′ away. i’de never pull my eye off a Z-Finder in the middle of a shot normally but something in me just twitched and i had to make sure this was all real.

the President of the United States… 10 feet in front of me… smiling.

flash back to the halftime show during the Superbowl that brought them, and me, here. the Black Eyed Peas are ready to take the stage.

a massive blacklight was the only source of illumination in a massive Dallas Cowboys stadium. surrounding the stage was hundreds of dancers covered in white from head to toe. the blacklight played with the dancers to create a glow across the stadium unlike anything i’de ever seen before.

all the sudden, i started running onto the field. i wasn’t suppose to be on the field, i didn’t have credentials. but there i was, running, shooting, capturing the moment.

a few seconds later, it hits me… i’m on the field of the Superbowl.

i’m on the field of the Superbowl.

what happened next though, i hadn’t planned for.

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it’s official! the KNOW tour has begun!

Vegas was a great crowd to kick off the tour with. what was really interesting was the amount of thought everyone was putting into the way they go about their projects. you see, we challenged them to think of a shoot, either past or future, and to reference it in their minds every time we covered a new topic. it was great to hear about some things that would stay the same but also how some approaches would change for certain situations…

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we can’t believe that we’re so close to the start of the KNOW tour! we’re just two days away and it feels like just yesterday it was September of last year when we started putting puzzle pieces together for this journey.

today i flew into Las Vegas, our first city on the tour. this Saturday we’ll be joined by supporters and attendees for the first of 37 intensive workshops. but in the meantime, the rest of the team is making their way in from San Francisco and we’re tying up some loose ends before our marathon begins!

one thing we’re giddy over is the fact that we got to see the KNOW books in person for the first time today! actually, i have yet to see them and i’m DYING over here… but the team sent me pictures and holy yowzamoles do they ever look sweet! but more than that, we’re really excited to share them with attendees of the tour. we talked about the book in a previous post and how it bloomed into a 380-page field guide (it was originally going to be a 70-page workbook). what’s great about it now is that while it certainly ties into the content of the workshop, and the two are meant to go together, the book itself is packed with practical information that will be valuable for a ton of people, even those who can’t make it to the tour.

once the rest of the team arrives in Vegas, we’re going to start unboxing all kinds of goodies that will be shared with everyone. our supporters have sent us mountains of gear, from lighting and audio equipment to camera support tools and accessories that make filmmaking more creative and fun. we’ll be talking about all of this gear, doing live demos, and best of all, if you’re coming to the tour you will have the opportunity to play with, test out, and evaluate everything that’s there. you’ll also be able to ask us questions about it all, and talk directly with the manufacturers too – they’ll be at every stop with us…

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those who have been to Whistler in Vancouver, Canada know just how stunning of a backdrop it is. for Cath and Kevin, it was also a place with great significance. Vancouver, nature, and hiking all mean a ton to both of them. Kevin, as you’ll learn in the film, proposed to Cath while on a hike with the family. proposing with family around isn’t the most conventional way to do it, but it certainly is their way to do it. on the wedding day, Kevin’s sister officiated the wedding and it provided such an interesting twist for us to have the officiant getting ready with the family, helping with the vows, and discussing what she wanted to say at the ceremony.

Cath and Kevin had just flown in from Hong Kong and we gathered in the living room of their rental cottage a couple days before the wedding. Cath mentioned how you rarely look up in Hong Kong and that the Whistler was so inspiring that you were always looking up. she wanted to take her friends and family on a hike the day before the wedding so they could really experience Whistler and take it all in. we knew that hiking played a large role in their relationship so of course we would need to join in on the hiking adventure.

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it’s pretty amazing what technology allows us to do these days. but right now, i’m not talking about fancy cameras or handy contraptions. i’m talking about the phone, Skype, and even something as simple as email. it’s amazing how talking through these mediums with someone you’ve never met in person can still allow you to build a great relationship.

we often get asked how much time we spend getting to know our couples. and while it’s different with everyone we work with, we believe that’s it’s not necessarily about how much time you spend, but how you spend it. how you listen, and what you get to learn about them in the process…