Posts Tagged ‘Shawn Alladio’

Love and Trustedness

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Future

Maybe it is the full moon which hangs sagging slowly through a clear western sky which has me awake at 3am working.

But I suspect that it may be something else.

It always cracks me up, when as I am sorting through the variety of large and complex projects which are the melange of companies I get to help shepherd, that a blog invariably pops in from Seth Godin. This one, (as usual) was exactly about what I am working on today. Creating trust. He titles it: Belief is More Powerful Than Truth.

I am a strong believer in Strategic Partnerships. In those exist an exponential potential for benefit via Intelligent Design with the express purpose of creating new and better systems, whereby we may generate benefit for ourselves, companies and Humanity.

Think about this.

What if people were truly happy to collaborate?

I am continually amazed by the people in my life and work, and am grateful when I see them thrive.

That matters to me.

Here is a really great piece on Shawn Alladio and K38 Rescue, which came across my desk this week. It is an insight into her world of generous contribution in Boating Safety and Lifesaving. I shot it. Watch the video which K 38 edited together, and you will see illustrated the tremendous odds, teamwork and collaboration can overcome. I really should build a film on what Shawn has done at some point. Bigger than life, because it is about love and trustedness.

Bliss

 

Essence

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Justin's Note

It is in recognition of the ironical that I communicate essence via digital connection. But here is the deal, if we get what essence is, we walk into balance as human beings and digital becomes an asset of high worth.

The note above was written during the last days of my friend Justin Doty, as he eyed his end here. It was shared by his life long love, Harmony Scott.  Breathe, then take it in. What he says on the note pad is exactly what I said, as I launched into my career in Photography.

Solitude created me as an Artist. I am not special in that regard.

essence |ňąes…ôns|
noun
the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, esp. something abstract, that determines its character: conflict is the essence of drama.
‚ÄĘ Philosophy a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.
‚ÄĘ an extract or concentrate obtained from a particular plant or other matter and used for flavoring or scent.

So much of life gets lost in being led by the voice on the end of a digital leash. I have been thinking a lot about that of late. You may want to as well, possibly. Do your connections make you happier? Or do they lead to something else?

You see, we are informed by essence. Anything less, is just inferior. Being informed is very significant to our sense of peace and yes, personal power as individuals, and vital members of a community or tribe.

Here is an interesting performance by Nahko Bear. Life. Essence. The song is called “Wash it away” .

I have been spending a lot of time in the water this week. Some radical life stresses were left at the shore, as I was forced to follow the call of the Ocean’s voice and conditions, that is such an intrinsic part of who and what I am, and informs my career as a water photographer and film maker. Here are a couple of about 40 A listers.

Taylor Bruynzeel

Glow

I got to spend some time with my colleague and friend Shawn Alladio this week. By phone. Again, the digital leash. We don’t talk much by phone. But it helps some time. It generally leads us to the essence that is our friendship. The real.

My friend Tom Pohaku Stone and his family dropped in this week as well, headed down coast after a board building stint in Watsonville. Their essence left me feeling embraced, and loved.

Ed Brenegar, who has been staying with Donna and I, hit the road for his home and Church on the East Coast this week. He has been working on a project called the Spectacle of the Real. I highly recommend his latest entry, titled “The Art of the Real”¬† for those of you in pursuit of essence.

My lovely wife and I got to share a beautiful Indian Summer eve on the beach here in Ventura the other day. Here is an image. She is actually shooting an iphone video of the sight to share with her Betty B Community. Not everyone gets to see what you do. This is where sharing matters: when it leads to the happiness and connectedness of others.

Indian Summer

Mind the white noise that is modern digital culture. Surround yourself with the real. In so doing, your life and work will matter.

This connection culture is all so very new. There is much to be learned in the managing of it’s digital tools so that our lives enhance rather than degrade in their usage.

Essence is everything.

Golden California

 

On Beauty

Friday, September 27th, 2013

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I have a lot to say regarding Beauty and how it affects the Consciousness of our World. But rather than write on it and endeavor to go into the Science of the affects of Beauty, I am just going to share beauty with you as I have experienced it this week.

Here is a prescient piece of Music set to remarkable Cinematography. Nahko Bear’s “Aloha Ke Akua”.

People are amazing. In a culture that tends to dry humanity out, Beauty waters us. When we invest in that, what we are doing is improving our lot as a species. Why Beauty: matters.

I got to meet with Lynn Lawrence this week. She handed me a remarkable book entitled “On Beauty and Being Just” by Elaine Scarry. This is her, handing it to me, pictured below.¬† A beautiful act. Lynn had recently left my friend Brian Kasbar’s company and as she headed down coast thought to ring me so that we could meet in person for the first time after connecting on Brian’s project, which is an innovative system for educating Autistic children. A beautiful endeavor.

lynnlawrence

I swam and shot a bit this week. On a day that was surreal in it’s blue sanguine embrace I managed to capture some of the essence of that experience. The Ocean¬† amazes me. It is beautiful in ways that stretch my skill set to communicate.

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And I got to speak with my friend and colleague Shawn Alladio, as she made her way back to California. She recounted some of the back story on the Never Quit Challenge. Here is a clip from the Today Show on it.

The image below was shared by Ginny Blevins-Feeks, the surviving spouse of SO1 Pat Feeks who perished a little over a year ago. Shawn is at the 9-11 Memorial at Ground Zero having just lead the NQC up the East Coast from Florida, and landing in NYC on 9-11. The deep significance of taking our people by water back to New York is incredibly profound.

Shawn is placing some rather interesting things on the Memorial. Among those, a Pocket Constitution, coins, patches, and very significantly, two US flags. One which Pat carried with him, and the second which was presented to Ginny by the US Govt. Shawn was presented these flags by Ginny, and carried them with her in much the same manner Pat had.

The Beauty in this Act by Shawn, Brian Lagarticha, David Pirate Tew, Eric Graff, and all my colleagues at K38 Rescue is heady in it’s graciousness. So were the other profound acts of generosity, by¬† people in all the branches of the Military, Foundations,¬† Emergency Response and Law Enforcement Agencies involved in the Challenge’s success.

Shawn Alladio-9-11 Memorial

Shawn Alladio-9-11 Memorial

As I studied the image, there was so much significance in what I saw that it really was sort of overwhelming, and I felt my eyes beginning to tear up. I knew how much sacrifice had occurred as symbolized by each item in the frame. Then I saw it. The Blue Marble Donna and I had given Shawn. She had carried that with her to ground zero.

So many of us are connected by water.

Beauty is the bucket that carries it. Water of course, is analogous to Spirit, that life force which flows through all that exists.

This is Hope. She springs eternally from the human heart. (Image is from an editorial project on a woman’s experiences surfing through pregnancy)

Hope

Beauty is Life amplified and focused. Without it, hope dies.

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My friend and colleague, Wallace J Nichols, is the founder of the Blue Marble Movement, Blue Mind and much more. He ends his notes with the salutation: “I wish you water”.¬† I like that a lot.

In my life and work, all at it’s core is summed up in my own heart’s desire:

“I wish you Beauty.”

Aloha nui loa.

Beauty

I wish you Beauty

 

Risk Perception

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Risk Perception

The image above was shot during the 2010 Maverick’s Challenge where I worked as support and Photographer for K38 Rescue, who ran Event Ocean Safety and in process was in charge of training a cadre of local watermen to be a Rescue team. That local team was headed up by Vince Broglio. It was a big and perfect day. Possibly the biggest, best surf, ever paddled into for a competitive event.

The quote is something Shawn said in one of our project groups this week. And I immediately turned it into an Oceanlovers Blue Note. Blue Notes are wisdom gleaned from the Sea, basically. You can find them here on Oceanlovers’ site, and you should be able to right click grab them. They are meant to be shared.

I study risk. Have for a long time now. As someone with a background in high risk competitive sports as well as a depth of Ocean experience, if I were not risk aware, I would not be sitting here typing on a Saturday morning. But this week has prompted me to want to expound a little on Risk Perception. You see, Risk is always there. But it is our understanding and awareness of it which allows us to potentially manage some of that potential threat to our own and other’s life and limb, with our choices and actions, and hopefully, to come away unscathed.

This is a very complex and layered subject. I have written a little bit about Shawn and I’s affiliation and relationship here in this regard in Peaking in Seconds and Feet. The people I work with via K38 Rescue and in my other various affiliations, are world leaders in various aspects of emergency response. We all support each other, mentor, and yes hold ourselves accountable, as members of a large Community. Accountability is everything when managing risk.

Understanding is what we strive for, as responsibility for our own safety and that of our subjects as professional imagers, needs to underpin our life. Without that you would see a pattern develop in and around your work which would include injuries-damage  to yourself, equipment and subjects. So we study to learn the risk, safeguard ourselves, and push for a more pleasant experience and to set an appropriate example for others.

Let me underscore something, speaking of accountability. I have never been hurt filming or shooting. With the exception of smacking Sean Tully, one of my long term collaborators in the head, when a lip grabbed an overly large waterhousing, I have never hurt or lost anyone. (I repaired Sean’s scalp wound. Being able to do that is another story) So in almost 15 years of filming all over the world, that means no bad cuts, head injuries, sprained or broken anything. Zilch. Nada. Zip.

I believe it is possible for anyone to have that track record. But Risk Perception, it is multi-layered, and I want to share one of the layers here.

This week has been full of Kite board filming and stills shooting. I consider this subject and utilizing a water POV to be exceptionally high risk for a number of reasons. A photographer could suffer instantaneous death from a variety of means. I am not going to go into the details, but this week it went smoothly. Here is one of many images collected and a part of a film I am developing. And yes, another Blue Note.

Blue Note: Kite

I always watch the Ocean. My connection to it is so involved and intimate, I am not going to endeavor to explain the relationship in a technical manner. But I will share some precepts.

My wife has been surprised to see the large volume of very high bar water work I have generated this Summer along our coast. That is unusual, as it is rare for the large combination of variables I require to attain my image quality bar, to happen in Summer. She sees the commitment and struggle, some of it anyway, as we talk about managing the vast array of details which comprise a career. Nevertheless, she has been remarking on what has wandered in the pixel door lately.

Two days ago things lined up for a special evening. I had been watching a break for some time now. Studied it, learned the parameters of tide swell, current, conditions etc. I thought it had potential to provide for some great work. But I had not yet swum it.  Eventually understanding risk comes down to going. You must go and challenge your understanding at some point, in order to convert the experience into knowledge.

Driving down Coast on a hot, blue, placid day I was inexplicably unsettled inside. When I got to the break I had thought we would be filming at, perfect little shoulder to head high peaks threw out in hollow top lit blue cylinders, in an idyllic California-esque  beach day. Woo hoo! But inside was a voice.

Looking down coast at that spot I had been watching, I saw a few waves break and recognized that today was likely as good a day as ever to swim the place. Lars Rathje arrived, who is one of my close collaborators. His younger brother Hans was on the way. With increasing excitement we watched a few well overhead sets roll through and I carefully loaded my SPL waterhousing, placing the Canon 5DM2 with wide angle zoom into the case, setting everything and then buttoning up and prepping the port. It is a routine and process which I have done literally thousands of times.

I tugged my wetsuit on, grabbed my housing and fins and we picked our way down the cliff to a narrowing sandy beach strewn with the odd big rock. Neither of us was 100 percent on what the bottom looked like. We suspected it would be soft sand as we had seen the break shifting a bit over the course of a year, and that shift usually indicates sandbar movement related to littoral flow.

As we got to the water’s edge I turned to Lars and said this on the most perfect beautiful risk absent day one could ever imagine. “Pay close attention out here today. Really close attention. There is something not right about this.

And we swum out. Below are the first and last frames I shot that night. Easy, perfect, brilliant, fun. Right?

First Frame

Last Frame

Here is what happened.

The lineup features two peaks, one a left and one primarily a right. On high tide (tide was filling in) a side wave pushes across the lineup creating an explosive and dramatic backwash condition. Part of what we were there to experience was the water morph. The first wave Lars barely got into it via the back door and as the side wave hit it kicked open. That dry hair shot above was the first one of the evening .

We had to play everything very close due to the combination of conditions, so frequently we were in touching distance. That is not so unusual for water work. I actually call this type of shooting “contact work” as one is generally within touching distance when one shoots. You endeavor to have the ocean and your approach create a near miss scenario. We both laughed that in the first 5 minutes we had nailed it. That does not happen too often. Perfection is complex. It takes some effort.

An hour later a wave double concussed and as I came back to the surface I saw that my housing had leaked. The dreaded Death all Water Photographers seek to avoid was in process. Due to the design of SPL’s system, the camera sits on a plate which keeps it elevated. You can technically semi flood a housing and not lose the camera if you are careful. “Hey Lars, I am out. Housing leak. Going to the beach and see if I can fix it. Camera is still alive.” Hans had just paddled out to join us.

I swum in, managing to keep the housing out of the water and in the shore pound saw I would need to take a wave to the body. In spite of backing in to the beach, I was very aware of my position. I knew that one big rock was nearby and where it was. The wave slapped me ashore and housing held high, I was swept up the beach right past that rock. Hmm. An hour down and several high risk potential things had gone down.

I climbed up the cliff, went to the back of my car, and disassembled, dried, cleaned and re assembled my gear. A half hour later I was back at water’s edge. The boys had moved back up the beach. The lineup was empty. I normally love that. But inside the voice was an alarm bell still. I had a close look, nothing apparent, dipping my housing, it was holding the seal and all seemed fine, so into the blue I plunged, and in 50 yards I was in perfect position for a beautiful backwash blast. The loud crack as the two waves blasted into oblivion made for a great capture. We all sort of live our lives in the impact zone, those of us that do this, and we truly love being there. So we mind the blasts. That is part of our innate risk management

Popping up I saw a sea lion gliding by. He was acting skittish. Not unusual. They tend to be a lot like dogs and are sometimes very friendly and at others, stand offish or aggressive. He disappeared. I noticed that I was the only thing on the surface. Then came that voice and something new: a tap on the shoulder. Something was out there with me. That never alarms me believe it or not. I just watch the water, keep my housing down around my legs and pay attention. It is not uncommon for sharks to come up and take a look at me and the sun was getting low on the horizon. It was nearing dinner time for the Sea.

I saw nothing. It had been awhile and the long period Southern hemi swell seemed to be lulling out so I worked my way into the shorepound, wishing that the boys would come back so we could shoot a bit more surf stuff. Near shore my inner alarm went off. It is this imminent collision intuition one has that was saying “Do not be here”. So I swam back out. Yep. As a blue wave danced onto the sandbar I saw the shadow and profile of the shark. Looked like a 6-8 footer.¬† I could not tell what type but assumed it to be a Thresher. Sort of reminded me of a Tiger though, by it’s movement. But that would be odd. He was headed away. The “alarm” went off. My inner voice was still alert.

I set about capturing and creating the images I was after, and in a bit Hans swam out to join me sans board. Bodysurfing the warm, slabby wedges. We connected a few times and were both laughing. In a bit we saw Lars wander back down the beach with  a stunning looking woman with him. They chatted a few minutes and he joined us, and began to work some difficult angles.

An hour later as the sun began to drop behind a coastal mountain to our West, I had bait rise flash all around me, and fish flew out of the water, encircling me in a silvery rainbow. I laughed. But I knew something caused that. I had seen it before swimming a remote wave in Mexico right before a very large Tiger had appeared mid wave and shown me the door.

Swimming back out, a wave doubled up and I eased under it. Uh oh. Shallow spot in the sand bar. The lip bounced me off the bottom, rag dolled me and as I surfaced, I saw some scratches on my housing port. Shoots. Damage. Repairable and the marks were not in the lens’ line of sight. Whew. Next wave was perfect. Nailed it. Then Lars, who was sitting further outside said “Hey David, check it out, we have a bait ball just offshore. Wow, did you see that? Two dolphins, a baby and an older one!”

We worked the last half hour alone as Hans had gone in and was watching us as the light ebbed. Then Lars went in, and I was out alone in the stillness of evening, light waning and realized that all was quiet inside of me. I swam to the outside shot a couple more frames and began to work shoreward. A set missed the outside sandbar and doubled up just as a backwash wave hit and I shot a final last frame, that beautiful one above.

So I dragged you along on this tale to explain that though what I do looks easy, and I make it out as such, one of the primary reasons is that I know the risks, yes, but that my perception is highly trained and tuned. That part is not so special nor as arrogant as it may at first read. It is how we all should be, who have a grasp on what it means to be human, living in a body, designed to walk the land, but composed largely of salt water, and wedded to the Sea.

Below are a few more of the 24 A list images from the evening.

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Tis the Season

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

 

For?

We all know what the Holidays in North America typically are significant of: the prior sacrifices and services of the forbearers of the Nation and Christianity. Of course aside from those, at the core, it should be about the inception of gratitude.

Traditions are funny things. Over time the embeds get, well… buried.

Seth Godin has this to say about it today.

Black Friday. Really? I hate the name. Black, the absence of light, love, or gratitude.

My wife, Donna had to explain it to me. Keep in mind, such has been my own transformation, that she was tutoring a man with approximately 20 years of product manufacturing and retail experience. This is what she told me last night as my sons, and two of my colleagues were sharing some Thanksgiving time together.

“David, Black Friday is about putting retailers back in the black on their balance sheets. You know, as opposed to being in the red! ”

“Oh, I see.” And I did. But likely not what she thought.

We are so wrapped up in the day to day struggles here in this country that we are easily sold out, and  that  personal resolve, it sometimes becomes an unwitting and yes, even unwilling participant in something we ought to refrain from.

Well why should we resist? I mean, isn’t this supposed to be about giving? What are we to do?

Easy. Never stop doing what we can, and do it for no other purpose as to act in an expression of what is in our heart. Better make sure what is in there is not Black. It really needs to be white.

This weekend, Donna is having a company sale at her retail and online stores. But her take is a little bit different. Hurricane Sandy gutted the East Coast. There is no way existing Govt programs are going to be able to do much to alleviate suffering as Winter descends.

All week long, while I had been wrestling with issues regarding Blue Ocean Sciences and OceanLovers tech project for radiation remediation in Japan, Donna had been studying up on the problem of the East Coast. I had given her little in the way of hard advice, but had explained what to look for.

I do work in affiliation with K38 Rescue. We are tutored and trained in disaster response. I know a bit about the process, especially after witnessing what Shawn Alladio did during Katrina, and more.

So here is what Donna found. On the East Coast is a group Called Clean Ocean Action. For many years they have coordinated social and environmental programs on the East Coast. On Dec 8th they have a projects call, were they want everyone to contact them and will act as a liason to put resources where they need to go. As a trained first responder, I have to state and underscore, that this is VERY smart.

So instead of a Black Friday push, Donna and Betty B will donate 25% of all sales both online and in her store all weekend long, to Clean Ocean Action, and write a check and send it on Monday. NOT black. Green. Understand?

That is how we all ought to think: reach out, connect, and do so intelligently.

Giving is really about the beneficiary and not us, as the givers. That gets buried, much as one would think that it does not.

My brilliant friend Pete Ippel, left me a note on Facebook which I found this morning. A youtube piece called Buy NOTHING Day.

“Gratitude. It is a response to the gifts that are given to us in life. And when we commit to a life of gratitude, life becomes a complete gift of receiving and giving. It brings peace and contentment as a result. “-¬† Dr. Ed Brenegar

I unfortunately do not sell much, but I do have affiliates who carry some of my work.

This weekend, Solitary Exposure is doing a promotional sale. Donna also has a bit of my framed Artwork that she sells in her Fir St Store here in Ventura. So let’s do this. I will take 25% of my royalty payments from all sales via Betty B and Solitary Exposure from today till Christmas, and write a check to Clean Ocean Action in their mission to alleviate suffering from Hurricane Sandy.

But what I want any one you to do is this: say or write to Larry Beard or Donna, that you are grateful for what they are doing. Express gratitude in word and deed.

That matters.

 

Here is a little gift.

It is what is in my own heart, after much study about what goes on in Japan right now. I will write on that when I have a bit more time.

Aloha oe, a hui ho.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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