Productions Stills – “Grand Canyon By Nature: River of Life”

Preparing to shoot a green screen interview

Preparing to shoot a green screen interview

With Roderick Nash, Author of "Wilderness and the American Mind"

With Roderick Nash, Author of "Wilderness and the American Mind"

With Vance Howard, producer and landscape photographer

With Vance Howard, producer and landscape photographer

We have been working on an interesting project in collaboration with a friend of mine, Vance Howard. He is fabulous landscape photographer, and his work can be seen at Vance’s latest project is a multimedia presentation, which is being shot for the fulldome (planetarium) screen at the Denver Nature and Science Museum. The project is a collaboration with several well known photographers, in addition to Vance, who specialize in panoramic and spherical landscape photography.

Vance and I traveled down the Grand Canyon on a private raft trip many years ago, and our paths crossed once again at the 2008 Boulder Adventure Film Festival’s producer’s workshop, where he was sitting in the front row and caught my attention while I was setting up for the workshop. We spent some time talking after the workshop and shared our common interest in producing for the dome in Denver. Because the dome is typically comprised of 4 separate, stitched high-definition 1080p images, the 4K RED Digital Cinema cameras seem to be a natural fit for fulldome production.

Vance’s vision is to incorporate Canyon vistas with interviews of some of the elders of Canyon conservation. We are using the RED cameras to shoot these interviews, so that Vance can obtain the most flexible image possible for the production.

It was my great honor and privilege to shoot Vance’s interview with Roderick Nash, author of several books, including the well-known “Wilderness and the American Mind.” When I was getting my doctorate back in the early ’90s, I used Rod’s groundbreaking book as the foundation for some of my own research, so it was a lot of fun to meet the man behind the mind. He has been down the Grand Canyon 60 times, so he was loaded with Canyon wisdom and interesting anecdotes about his adventures. He also, coincidentally, had been on a river trip down the Yampa with my best friend and college roommate. What a tiny little globe we inhabit, at times.

What excites me most about this project is how Vance really understands the essence of the Grand Canyon and how committed he is to mining the richness of the Canyon experience. I think that Vance is bringing a truly fresh approach to representing the Canyon by bringing the wisdom of its human elders together in a single project. He also intends to bring some First Nation voices to the project, and I think that commitment, too, will make this a very unique and original project.

Our next interview will be with the ethnobotanist and adventurer Wade Davis, who will be speaking at the Nature and Science Museum in February. He also appeared in the 3D IMAX film “Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk”

In another odd synergy, I sponsored Wade Davis’ appearance at the Telluride Film Festival in conjunction with the amazing film, From the Heart of the World, the BBC documentary about the Kogi people of Colombia. He canceled his appearance at the film festival, so I am excited to finally have a chance to meet him and listen to his stories.

This project has already presented me with many unexpected intersections with several people whose work I have known well yet never met. It promises to be a most interesting journey.


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