Awful Right Season

Awful Right Season – Live at Plant Hall from Steve Widoff on Vimeo.

Did I tell you that I started shooting and editing 8mm film in the 7th grade?  Yep, I loved it then and I love it now.  I shot frame-by-frame stop motion sequences of garden hoses coming to life and shorts about crazed wild men in the swampy woods around my childhood neighborhood.  It was awesome.

I’ve remained focused on my still image business but, given the ability of my gear to also capture high quality video, it’s been impossible not to want to take on a moving project as well.  So, when I was approached by good friend and fellow ultimate frisbee player Mike Farrell to create their band’s video, I said, “hell, yes!”  Thanks to all the volunteers for their time during this race to the finish line.  It was scary, fun, horrible, exciting, exhausting and rewarding.  To see more about the band, goto: www.dropinpickup.com

The Value of Switching Gears

Being creative in a digital world these days means rarely having the opportunity to create something tangible. Working outdoors with little to no distractions is meditative and refreshing. At the end of the day, you feel a different kind of tired.  At the end of a project, you’re ready to go back to being creative with new ideas and purpose.

Last summer, Wendy, Willy and I started building a tiny cabin.  We have owned the land it sits on since before our son was born and, for the most part, camped rustically on it in tents.  I could write a book on the mishaps and struggles we’ve had over the years; from waking up in the snow with a dead car battery, to swarming bees, trailer fires, bears, and screech owls scaring the s#*t out of us in the middle of the night.  Despite it all, I yearn to return to it time and time again.

We had a nice trailer parked on the site for a number of years, but, if you have ever owned one, you know that they invite rodents and slowly give way to the elements. I’ve always been handy and remodeled sections of our homes over the years, so I knew I could handle the build. The pre-planning stages alone took months; finding just the right layout, creating a strong material list that would not require constant follow up visits to Lowe’s, and getting past the fear that permitting would be a problem.

The plan was to spend a week bonding with the family to kick the project off. We could’ve never guessed that our week on the property would be the wettest in that area all summer, sending the troops into a morale-busting tailspin that ended with a few of the troops renting a car and heading back to FLA. I remained in my extensive tent village forging on. With the help of a (really good) friend, I managed to complete the hard sections; roof and siding. Neighbors helped me with windows and porch ceiling. Having a substantial structure has made it easier to return a few more times since, seeing the seasons and spending holidays snowboarding.

The time-lapse is random and does not show the entire build.  It was created by shooting individual .jpgs every 10 secs with a point and shoot camera set on a tripod.  Some cameras have built in intervalometer settings.  Mine required a separate device that plugs into it.  The rain further complicated camera placement.  Shooting in a slightly higher resolution enables panning and zooming, creating artificial camera movement that adds interest.  Here is another time-lapse video I created around one of Wendy’s passions with a slight bit more intention https://vimeo.com/58985910.

The Right Stuff

 

It’s no small feat to put together a multi-day production.  The folks at Hanley Wood made it look easy.
The Task: Show the capabilities of Fed-Ex Office through the services they provide to the convention service industry.  From planning and design, to production, delivery, and installation, Fed-Ex Office does it all.
The How: Rent out one really large convention center with tons of natural light.  Mix in a dozen or so models, sun-hungry northern clients, a video crew, gaffers and such.  Add lots of fake badges, banner and displays.  Simmer for 2-3 days and Voila!

Simplicity

 

I am very grateful for where I am in my life right now.  I live in a modest but beautiful house in one of the most sought after neighborhoods in Tampa.  I have an awesome wife and teenaged son.  We are surrounded by bright, caring, considerate neighbors.  I have almost no expensive needs outside of the tools of my trade.  Immediately after the most recent economy collapse, I was forced to look at our worst case scenario; what if we, like many, lost everything, had to move and find other means to support ourselves?  It was a scary time, but it gave me a new perspective on what I really needed and what was truly important.  The good news is that the economy has come back, work is as good as ever, and we never had to leave our beautiful surroundings.  I have since become more active in the community and give much more of my time to help kids within various non-profit organizations.

These revelations have changed me.   I have shared it with those close to me but never on a public forum.  I want to cleanse.  I want to own next to nothing.  The thought is so freeing, so incredibly simple that I can’t let go of it.

While searching for ideas on living in an RV (don’t laugh), I found a blog by a guy who exemplifies free thinking.  He’s written several books including how to attract girls out of your league and how to be the best possible version of yourself.  He was a professional gambler, travels extensively, lived with Courtney Love for a time and recently bought an island off the coast of Maine with a group of friends.  Check him out.  http://tynan.com/

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True That

 

There seems to be a trend towards more editorial, true-life documentary style shooting.  There’s a lot to be said for images you can believe in, and have that belief translate to the brand it represents.

The images above are from a shoot at Gopher Resources in Tampa, Florida.