Photo of the Day: Beached

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More end-of-day photos from Morro Rock in California. I have to admit having watched about 900 hours of Shark Week this week I am looking at these photos with a different eye – apparently there have been several attacks on this very beach, fortunately non fatal and at a different time of year as the marine wildlife migrates through the region. There’s still so much to learn about these animals and their ecosystem, and how to safely share the ocean with them.

The Return

Do you ever spend so much time prepping and planning for a trip that when you come home there’s this weird vacuum in your existence and you can’t quite figure out what to do with yourself? That was me last week.

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However! I am now back to reality and finally starting to post some stuff from my trip to the Florida Keys. I didn’t get many pictures of the kayaking portion – the outfitter rushed us a lot, as they were trying to finish early to get on to another trip in Costa Rica – but the bike portion was spectacular. I’m already pondering doing just the kayak segment again next year, but as a series of day kayaks to make it a little easier – and to avoid the heart-stopping traverse of the 7 mile bridge (which I did my first day, and don’t ever need to do again – yikes!) If I do I will start at the south end of the Bahia Honda bridge, which is truly spectacular and where the scenery starts to get really great.

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Happy Monday, and check back for more photos this week. There’s loads 🙂

 

 

St. Simon’s Sunset

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Back from St. Simon’s Island! We had a great 2-day shoot there and are currently in post working on our first webisode of The Haunted Seas. We initially intended to tell the story of the haunted lighthouse, but we heard so many great tales and met so many interesting people that we wound up with three stories – not just the lighthouse but “Mary the Wanderer” and the mystery of Igbo Landing. Full webisode is coming soon!

Photo above is the sunset off the landing near the Lighthouse, looking towards the St. Simon’s Pier. Below, some of the ancient live oaks near the keeper’s cottage at the lighthouse.

You can also see a short video we made for Instagram here.

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Writewritewrite (and edit)

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Doing a large amount of writing is both the most exciting and the most boring thing imaginable.

Right now it is a slow time for the commercial production I do, which means I’m taking the opportunity to work on some longer-format projects that I have been meaning to do for a while, and occasionally deep-cleaning a closet just for the sake of variety. Because writing, as I’ve said, is not always exciting stuff. I love the research, the excuse to read and reference and take notes for hours – I feel like I’m in the research montage of every heist movie ever at that point – but the actual chained-to-the-desk writing part can be a bit tedious, especially if the weather’s nice and you hit a segment of writer’s block.

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Fortunately I have some fairly exciting things that I’m writing about, which I thought I’d catch everyone up on today. You can picture me surrounded by maps and charts and cups of coffee and my favorite pens and endless notebooks as you read. My cat should probably be trying to sprawl across my laptop at the same time. Life’s tough for a writer.

You could also picture me swearing under my breath as I peruse the online thesaurus for yet another synonym for “amazing” and trying to re-find a tab I just closed and mopping up the coffee my cat spilled, which is probably more realistic. But it’s your mental picture so you get to choose.

So… projects!

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My biggest upcoming project is a combination webseries/podcast called The Haunted Seas, about ghost stories, legends, and hauntings involving the ocean. We’re aiming for 2 pocasts and one webisode a month right now, and I’ve just finished writing the first podcast, about the Ghost Ship of the Northumberland Strait, a fiery phantom that plies the channel between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We record it tomorrow, and it should be live in time for next week’s blog update. Then late next week I go to St. Simon’s Island in South Georgia to shoot our first webisode, about the haunting of the St. Simon’s Lighthouse.

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not actually the St. Simon’s Lighthouse. This is the Tybee Light in Savannah.

In between writing sessions for these, I’m working on two e-books: one is a guide to spiritual and meditation retreats in the Southeastern US, and one is a guide to Georgia golf courses. If I can find a spiritual retreat in Georgia that involved silent meditation AND golfing, I will have hit the mother lode. There’s some sort of joke to be made about the crowds at a golf tournament being practically a silent meditation anyway, but I just… can’t… find it.

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When I absolutely cannot take the desk anymore, and the cat’s spilled all the coffee, I get to go outside (assuming it’s not raining) and train for my other upcoming project, which is a 240 mile combination kayak/bicycle trip through the Florida Keys, which I’m attempting – probably solo, as none of my friends are sufficiently insane to go – in April or possibly May. Starting in Key Largo, I’ll paddle to Key West, and then ride my bike back to the starting point. I’m calling it “The Turtle Traverse”, because “There and Back Again” is already taken, and because I’m planning to make a donation to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon at the end of the trip.

So that’s it for projects! Stay tuned for updates on these and any other Constant Holiday crazy I can come up with. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, where I try to post at least one photo or video daily.

Now I need more coffee.

 

 

Photo of the Week: At the Edge

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From my one trip to the Grand Canyon – I was in Tempe, Arizona, on a job and we had a day off in the middle, so my companion and I drove out to the Canyon because I had never seen it. It took forever to get there and we got lost at one point, driving endlessly thru the dusty plains until we found the proper road and got back enroute to the park. Once you’re headed the right way it’s not like you’re going to miss it – it’s a giant prehistoric hole in the earth. You can’t begin to appreciate how BIG it is until you see it in person, and even then you can only see sections, so it doesn’t really sink in until you drive along from one lookout… to the next… to the next… it seems to go on forever.

My friend and I wanted to see the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is on the opposite side of the canyon, but one of the rangers patiently explained to us that it would take a minimum of five hours to get there. It’s just that big.

(Hats off, by the way, to the extremely patient and knowledgable members of the National Park Service, who have to put up with stupid questions from the likes of me, all day, every day. You people are true heroes.)

So we had to content ourselves with the one side of the canyon, which was a terrible hardship, as you can see, and listen to the wind whip through the stones and the pinon pines, and watch the thin winter sun tint the rocks a warmer shade of red, until we finally acknowledged that we were freezing and ran for the car, and the lower desert, and hot food, and annoyed the waitress at the diner we ate in by babbling non-stop about what we’d just seen and whether I had, in fact seen a donkey on the canyon floor (consensus: no) and a million other things she’d probably heard before, since she serves waffles and burgers 20 minutes from the Grand Canyon everyday. We felt kind of bad about it and left a giant tip. Then we drove back to Tempe, long hours in the dark, quietly contemplating what we had seen.

(I totally saw a donkey. I’m sure of it.)

 

Windows & Doors

 

Today’s windows and doors are brought to you by the lovely town of Oaxaca, Mexico, where I spent a week admiring the graceful colonial architecture and shimmering colors, and showcasing my inability to take a photograph with a level horizon.

Some fun links for your Thursday….

Over the holidays I went to Florida to visit family, and for the second year in a row I was able to go snorkeling with the manatees at the Homasassa River. I went with these fine folks, who are very knowledgeable and also very careful of the manatee’s safety and wellbeing; I highly recommend them. I also highly recommend this Cressi dive mask; I snorkel whenever possible and I am always being driven crazy by leaky masks. Is my face a weird shape? Am I Max Headroom? Who knows. But this mask is the only one I’ve found that doesn’t leak on me and I think it was only about 50 bucks.

On the subject of safely snorkeling with manatees, and manta rays, and alligators – well, maybe those you just observe from a distance – my amazing friends Claire and Jeremiah have the first episode of their kick-ass webseries, Kickass Animal Encounters, up and running, and you should totally check it out, because it is – wait for it – kickass. You can also see more coolness on their blog! Go! Right now!

(And at the risk of blowing my own horn, if you watch the “Update” video, the huge map that Claire is pointing to is totally MY map, on the wall of MY den, so I feel I should get at least 12% of the credit for the awesomeness of that segment.)

(Although an argument could be made for 15)

If you need to chill out this chilly Thursday, I recommend Watership Song by User’s Atmosphere, which you’ll sadly have to listen to only on youtube because I can’t find a purchase link to it anywhere; or Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan, which IS available on Amazon, and is the best thing about the third Blade movie, besides Ryan Reynolds’ abs.

If you’re into movies check out the Reel Snobs podcast! Sassy Chicks discussing Flicks. I love it. Reel Snob Kalena even got on CNN this week!

Finally, a quick shout out to my favorite instagrams of the week: @egzgiozcan, who I think is Turkish and fills her instagram with her quirky illustrations, which I love, and @javie.33, one of my favorite underwater/wildlife photographers on insta. His boat photo from yesterday is particularly gorgeous.

Enjoy! And have a great, safe weekend of adventures…

Oh, good grief, I almost forgot – I’ve written an ebook! As many of you know I work in film and television, and I wrote an ebook on How To Be A Movie Location, for anyone who’s interested in renting out their home/office/property to a film production. Money! Excitement! Craft Services! It’s all in there and it’s only $1.99 as a download so check it out!