Sometimes you find good ideas. And sometimes good ideas find you.
The Under Water, Over Land Challenge found me.
I had this vague glimmer of an idea that there was no online video contest (or offline, for that matter) specific to nature and outdoors shooters. So I threw up a thread on DVinfo.net, my favorite video info-site, which asked if anyone would be interested in participating in one…
That was one year ago.
The contest exploded.
The idea attracted an excellent team of volunteers, Mat and Kevin, who donate a ton time of time and energy to help me run the thing, as well as donating web hosting and their design skills. Players from all over the world have put up a breath-taking 144 films from every corner of the world: Canada, UK, Australia, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Taiwan, the Arctic Circle, South America, the US, and more! The regular players have developed strong ties and an excellent, supportive community.
Now I have new friends all over the world, people who love shooting the planet just as much as I do.
One of our players, who finished all six rounds last year, has fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional wildlife shooter. Films that grew out of UWOL have been in local film festivals. It’s great to see the players succeed.
The players are chomping at the bit to have a face-to-face meet-up. Our first will probably take place in Norway or maybe at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. That would be huge fun, to see those films with that group of people.
The best part of the whole thing for me, as a baked-in educator, is seeing how much everyone improves in craft while having so much fun doing it. The players inspire me, every round, with how much love they have for the planet and how they express this with their creativity.
Now I just have to see about getting those T-shirts printed! And find a few really excellent sponsors, I know they are out there!
To join the fun and check out the films, visit the UWOL website: http://www.uwolchallenge.com
We kick off a new season beginning January 24. Check the website for details, grab your camera, and get ready to start shooting stuff!
I have uploaded a still from one of my UWOL entries, which I shot last April in Bhutan, on a trip. It’s a picture of an animal called a takin which is native to Bhutan and parts of China. I was lucky enough to catch images of a baby takin. It is considered a magical animal in Bhutan. Everything in Bhutan is magical.