I'm very pleased that the photo I took last spring of the Escape Vista mobile home has received the Communication Arts 2016 Photography Award of Excellence.  This is my 12th CA Award and it's a great honor for me. 

From the CA press release:

Communication Arts magazine, a professional journal for those involved in creativity in visual communications, has announced the winners of its 57th annual photography competition. One hundred and thirty-seven projects were selected by a jury of creative professionals; 4,024 entries were submitted to the competition.  More than 34,000 copies of the CA Awards Annual have been distributed worldwide (see page 92) assuring important exposure to the creators and publishers of these award-winning images.


Escape Homes is an innovative leader in the design and construction of RV and Tiny Homes and my thanks to their creative and production teams!

One of my favorite places.

I've just spent a wonderful few days on Moose Lake, which is near the Canadian border in northern Minnesota.  It's also on the southern edge of the Boundary Waters Wilderness area. I was up in that neck of the woods to participate in staff training days for the Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base. During my college years I spent 3 summers guiding canoe trips for the Base in both the Boundary Waters and its Canadian park counterpart the Quetico Provincial park.

Those three summers were formidable for the rest of my life and created strong links and friendships that I have to this day. I will always make a point of going up to the Base this time of year to teach seminars on navigation and photography, and I also take a yearly canoe trip with some camping buddies to some north woods wilderness location.

The best part of the training days, besides getting back into the woods, is working with the first year guides.  It's easy to see my younger self in the faces of these newly trained guides starting out on their new adventure.  They're excited, a little nervous and looking forward to meeting these new challenges and spending a summer in one the most beautiful places in the world.

To them, and to you, I say: Happy Trails!

Bike Time

The occasional warm day is popping up and that means bikes are coming out of winter storage. Tires are being filled and chains are being lubed. Seeing all these happy folks on their wheels made me think back to a shoot I did a few months ago for the Mall of America and an organization called Free Bikes for Kids (FB4K).  In a very ambitious program FB4K set out to set a Guinness world record for donating the greatest number of bikes to charity within a 24 hour period.

About 4,000 volunteers worked on 5,512 used children's bikes in a large work space provided by the Mall of America. The crew worked for over two months to make them rideable on donation day.  The big day arrived and by the deadline the bikes were prepped to donate, the Guinness folks signed off and bingo, a record was set!

A day after setting the record it was Bike Giveaway Day at the Mall and kids in need got the bikes of their dreams.

I saw this one coming

Another fun shoot for my buddies at Escape Homes in Wisconsin.  They are always coming up with innovative designs in the Pre-Fab/Tiny Home/Travel Trailer/Home field.  I recently wrapped a session for the Vista line which is their smallest product to date.  Up until this unit we've always shot outdoors as a choice and a reality as the units are too large to get a good studio shot and also we wanted to show them in their environments. This unit was small enough to get indoor views with studio lighting but we were still aiming for an environmental view for the hero.

As the shoot date came closer it looked like we'd be in for some snow. I was trying to image how this would work for us and more importantly how it would look.  We got to their production facility before the storm hit and had a chance to find a nearby location and I started to pre-visualize how the image would look when the snow started.  As it turned out we were very lucky.  The team at Escape was able to drop the unit exactly were we needed it and get power to it.  We also totally lucked out as the best view was from a parking lot and I could shoot the unit from the relative luxury of the open doors of a cargo van with the engine running and the heater on high.

The talent stayed warm as we had powered up the heater in the unit and as it turned out the trickiest part of the shoot was finding the right shutter speed to both freeze and blur the snow as it fell at dusk. The result was a pretty much "as shot" image that ended up looking a lot like I was hoping for.

Back from Bonaire

Yes I am back from the shoot, but that is not to say that I prefer the grey ugly winter weather we now have to the lovely Caribbean temps on the island, in other words it was hard to leave.

Bonaire is a small island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Together with Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the group known as the ABC islands, located off the north coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela. Bonaire is now what is called a special municipality of the Netherlands. The capital is Kralendijk and there is certainly a Euro influence mixed into a classic Caribbean vibe. English is spoken most everywhere and the US dollar is the accepted currency.

The big business on the island is diving.  There are many diving beaches and reefs and plenty of dive and snorkelling outfitters and tours.   It is an arid environment...my client called it Arizona with an ocean, which is about right. You will not find the long sandy beaches and tropical rain forests of Hawaii, but you will steady trade winds for wind surfing and warm, clear water for the best diving in the world.

Bonaire is also associated with it's Flamingo population as well as donkeys, and sanctuaries for both have been created on the island.

If you are looking for a very low key getaway, with a chance to dive, hike, and enjoy the ocean I'd recommend checking it out.