Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer Surf Session - Glacier Style

Being from the east coast, people sometimes ask me why Montana? Without giving away too many secrets, I sometimes mention Glacier NP. I can never get enough of this place. Late August found us chasing the end of summer up at Logan's Pass - with snowboards of course.

I feel compelled to apologize for the blatant and scandalous abuse of photoshop/lightroom on these shots. Being a stock photographer I am always editing with the technical requirements of my target stock agency in mind. And so, when I finally got around to working on these photos for myself I said  #*%^ it and started slamming sliders around as if they might disappear in Adobe's next update...

It's also worth noting that I am not a particularly good videographer. I am equally mediocre at snowboarding. Attempting to combine the two can produce some humoros (albeit painful) results. Instructional video on destroying the 5D Mark II and more photos after the "read more" link below...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

iStockphoto's Photographer of The Week

A big shout out to the folks at iStock for serving me up as "The Photographer of the Week". Over the past few years on iStock I've been impressed and inspired by the work of the weekly featured artists, and it's with humility and thanks that I am now able to count myself among them.

I appreciate the blurb they gave my portfolio, "Forest's timeless journey takes us to exquisite levels... we love it" and I want to dedicate that journey to two of my good friends who continue to be ever willing models in our journeys together. Thank you Jacob and Trecy.

Open Roads, Twisted Pathways from Forest Woodward on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bonnaroo 2009

Bonnaroo 2009: The night man cometh from Forest Woodward on Vimeo.

MGMT, Girl Talk, Passion Pit, Portugal. The Man, Crystal Castles, Public Enemy, People Under the Stairs, Cage the Elephant, Chairlift, and more in this photo/video montage.

A big thanks to the guys at Superfly for inviting me out to help shoot the festival

During the day the masses sleep off hang overs of all shapes and forms. The sweet sounds of Al Green and Bon Iver filter in through the shade and sunlight of the half awake but wholly content festival goers. Dusk brings the crackling energy of another Tennessee thunderstorm, and with it the stirring anticipation of the night. Families wander back to tents, while the leaders of the night's revelry stumble out, primed and ready. Flashing lights. Sweat. Bodies. Crowd Surf. Good Vibrations. Ecstasy. Claustrophobia. Euphoria. Panic. Glow Sticks. Mud. More Sweat. This Tent, That Tent, The Other Tent...follow the pulse.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Moped Diaries: Part 2

The Moped Diaries (2:2) from Forest Woodward on Vimeo.
The second part of the journey. Early morning ride out of the Sierras and down to the Mediterranean Costa del Sol...

Day 3: 6:00 AM -John wakes me up in the morning to shoot sunrise. "Hey man, I don't think I'm gonna..." is all I need to hear. When we wake up next the sun is well on its way. Exploring the town we are informed that there is no mechanic, but the old campesino running the gas station might be able to help us. You get funny looks riding a scooter. The looks are even funnier when you only have one scooter to share. Pulling up at the gas station, we find Jorge, a taciturn old fellow with the bronzed and weathered look of a man who has lived life a bit closer to the sun and the earth than our sevillano friends in city. He's not impressed with our moto, or I imagine, by the fact that we pulled up looking like lost newly weds. Having explained our predicament Jorge responded with the open generosity that is still lived and taught in small communities where living together means helping one another, and where strangers are treated with equal generosity. Looking our scooter over he gives us the appropriate socket wrench and instructions for how to remove the muffler in order to get at the punctured tire.

Thanking him, we scoot off up towards the pass. Locating the scooter we lug it back out of the underbrush and set about removing the tire. Tire removed, John runs up and down the mountain on the moped while I explore what may be one of the most magnificent places I could have hoped to be broken down. Heading back to town in time for gazpacho and a siesta.

5:00 PM and we're on the road to Zarah. On the road there, John and I throw ourselves into the turns with a childlike glee. We are the most shameless of scooter riders. We stop a couple of times to explore and shoot some stock of John running.
Arriving at sunset, Zarah is guarded by an old castle perched on the overlooking cliff and proves to be yet another beautiful stop in the chain of pueblos blancos.

Day 4: 4:00 AM John has somehow tricked me into getting up and pushing through the Sierras and down to the Mediternean Costa del Sol for sunrise. When we left Sevilla it was sweltering hot. High in the mountains the night air is cold. Dawning every article of clothing we had, and downing copious amounts of coffee from a mysterious espresso machine in the hostel, we take to the road, winding further into the mountains. John is fun to travel with, but a bit over prepared. He wasted precious moments of sleep gassing up his moped last night because he was afraid of running out in the morning. How boring I thought.
5:30 AM I pull over, ashamed. My scooter's running on fumes. I had hoped to keep going without having to say anything to John, but we're a good half hour past Rhonda and heading towards the last pass before we begin our descent to the coast. We decide to keep climbing and see how far we get. As the sky begins to lighten, and long after my needle has stopped falling and sits at the bottom of the fuel gauge, we crest a ridge and are greeted by the welcome sight of a gas station. Closed. John, good natured as ever, waits with me.

7:00 AM: Refueled and back on the road. We wind through high rocky country, looking back we can make out los pueblos blancos - white smudges tucked amongst the folds of the mountains. A full moon follows us along the ridge. The morning is a pastel wash of color, until suddenly cresting the last ridge we look out over the vast glittering expanse of gold that is the Mediterenean.

The Moped Diaries: Part 1

The Moped Diaries (1:2) from Forest Woodward on Vimeo.

2 underpowered mopeds. 4 days. 600 Kilometers.

March 12th, Day 1: Leaving Sevilla. Lots of questions. Following John as he strangely weaves through traffic. Weaving sounds to graceful - imagine the way a drunkard weaves. As we strapped on our space helmets and filled out paperwork for the rentals he confessed that he'd never ridden anything more powerful than a bicycle before. Watching him now I wonder if he had even ridden that. Just moments ago we had spluttered out of the garage at Vespa Sur. These were no Vespas. We're talking bottom of the line gringo scooters. If they'd known what we planned to do with them I doubt they would have even given us these. Questions still churning. Amidst the jumble two resurface repeatedly, "Is John going to wreck?" and "How long until my moped breaks down". Twenty minutes out and my moped is steadily losing power. We turn back and trade it in for a different one. Back on the road John's moped splutters as he frantically swerves out of traffic and coasts to a stop. Neither of us are mechanically inclined, but eventually we do manage to figure out how to unscrew the gas cap and peer into the empty tank.
Gas tanks refilled we reach the outskirts of Sevilla. Now what? Tere had said to go recto recto recto until we got to Dos Hermanas. It wasn't that we didn't understand her, but something looked so appealing about that on ramp. Now we're on the autopista. This is where Tere told us not to go. The speed limit is 120 kph - no one drives the speed limit. I glance down at my speedometer. It maxes out at 80 kph. It doesn't want to go faster than 60. We pull over. Two grown frightened men on mopeds. John asks if I had seen the sign saying that mopeds were prohibited on the autopista. I hadn't. 6 more km - we decide to chance it. Off the hellish freeway and still alive, we relax a little. Scooting into pastoral Spain - we can see the Sierras in the distance. Later tonight we'll be in the foothills. The sun gathers speed as it slides towards the horizon. Golden light twisting through ancient orchards of olive trees. Long after nightfall we splutter into the quaint town of Arcos. Dinner is red wine, fried egg, bread, potatoes, sausage, chicken, salad and flan. Street lamps guide us through winding cobble streets and the whitewashed houses situated atop the rocky tore rising out of the foothills. Friendly people, good food. We've arrived in the first of Los Pueblos Blancos. I like.

Day 2: Sunrise. Being a photographer sucks. I wake John up and tell him it's time to go. He asks if the alarm has gone off and I tell him I think so. Why else would I be telling him to get up? He looks at his cell phone, "it's 3:15". Confused but happy about the prospect of more sleep. 6:00 AM comes and it might as well have been 3:15 again. Sunrise still seemed a stupid idea. 2 hours later I'm ecstatic. From a rooftop John and I watch and photograph as the sun creeps up over the distant ridge-line of the Sierras, illuminating the landscape into which we'd ridden last night under the cover of darkness.

Midafternoon: Headed further into the mountains we've pulled off the main road onto a dirt track. The countryside rolls out away from us in green waves until they meet the rocky crags of the Sierra Beticas. Lush meets arid. We find shade and crack a bottle of rioja. Queso curado, olives, fresh bread, mandarins, dark chocolate. If nothing else, the Spaniards have taught us the value of a good meal. Traveling with a photographer can be really annoying. I know this. John's been a patient companion and even a willing model, but when I ask him to jump a barbed wire fence and go sit in the middle of a field of cows he balks. More rioja. Still no? I abandon my pretensions of high fashion and appreciate the landscape as is. Siesta in the shade. Shadows are getting long and it's time to push on.

Dusk: Winding up into the mountains, the country soon looses it's soft pastoral feel and is replaced by rocky tores and gnarled trees twisting into dark tunnels. Chasing the last of the light up the mountain we emerge from the forest and out into the high tundra. Pulling out the camera for the 100th time, I encourage John as he obliging drives back and forth along a winding stretch of road, leaving a trail of light through the dusk. Below the valley is in shadow. Ridges fold into one another, velvety shades of blue against the pastel horizon. We're nearing Grazalema, the next pueblo blanco, and our destination for the night. Stars are out now. Mountain stars, desert stars, call them what you want, they're the stars that are always there but can only be seen when you leave the lights of civilization and find those places where the air is clean and dry.

Pulling out of another overlook I gun the engine (how do you gun a 49cc engine?) and as the tire hops up over a berm and back onto the road I feel and then hear the dull flat thunk of an airless tire. No tools, no lights, no air. We drag the offending scooter up into the woods and stash it. Now the interesting part. A backpack of camera gear, 300 lbs of man, and the rest of our provisions. Forget Che Guevara and the Motorcycle Diaries, this no longer passes as even a parody. Somewhere the trip has metamorphosed and now Dumb and Dumber are sharing a ridiculously overloaded scooter headed over a mountain pass. Surprisingly we arrive in Grazalema intact. Dinner and a shower and I'm sleeping contentedly. It's only been a couple hundred kilometers, but it feels a world away from the classrooms and museums of Sevilla.

Routa de Los Pueblos Blancos in a larger map