Monday, December 1, 2008

John heading out again...

I will be leaving tomorrow (Tuesday) for the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Miami. Three different projects in 6 days - yikes. No laptop going with me, so no updates. Will send a link to some pictures after the trip.

See ya!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My next adventure begins...

I'm all for being aware of your surroundings, but this is just a little too much information. Which leads me into my new post. I will be traveling with my brother Tim to Yosemite National Park on Wednesday. We plan to hike Half Dome and venture around the park before heading into San Fransisco for the weekend. Should be a lot of fun, and the good news is you get to come along! Ain't cyberspace great. We have started a new blog so we might share this great adventure.

The new blog is called "Nut and Chocolate" and follows are trip through photography and video. I invite you to follow along! Check it out here: Nut and Chocolate

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Scary moments in my life - Part 1

So you think traveling the world is dangerous...

"First Time"
This is Mason, my new driver in the family. He is on the main road for the first time in his life. I don't remember much detail from my younger days, but I do remember the first highway drive (in Tennessee even) .

"His view"
Is it just me or does this look like some sort of video game? I can only imagine what something simple like "approaching traffic" feels like the first time "approaching traffic." There is a certain level of "I think I am going to die" when sitting beside the 15 year old with a learners permit. I mean, one day they are sitting on the couch and the next day they are sitting behind the wheel.
Scary stuff.

"Jedi Knight Driving Method"
So I told Mason, if you really want to be a good driver you have to use the force - you have to feel it. He knew immediately what I meant and drove the next ten minutes with his eyes closed. I thought it was cool, but apparently the people next to us thought it was dangerous - whimps!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Skyhouse Films returns to it's first love...

So it looks like we are back together - of course she cost me a hundred bucks to get her back, but I figured how many relationships like this are going to come along in a life time? Seems an email account that the domain was under died or was dropped by GoDaddy, so I was never contacted about accounts I had with them and sure enough Skyhouse Films was one of them. Kind of scary when you call tech support to figure out some issues and they say "somebody in Texas owns" (while you check in disbelieve and are amazed at the used cell phone add that comes up in place of your web page). Two panic filled days, but all is good now.

Won't let that happen again...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Skyhouse Films ran away with another lover...

Read it and weep - I know I am. Somehow, and we still have not come to a final conclusion from GoDaddy, I lost my domain. Skyhouse Films belongs to another. The other looks to be professional web grabber uppers. I sent them an email about what it will cost to get it back, we will see. I am not hopeful that anything good will happen. Looks like it is time to drum up another name, here are a few in the lead so far:

I am kinda leaning towards the last one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

John has birthday today :-0

I turned 42 today (lucky me) and went on a hike with my brother Tim. More news on an upcoming journey involving me and my bro. Stay tuned and enjoy the pics!

Photograph on National!

I recently submitted one of my favorite photos from the Navy mission trip. It made it as one of the twelve "Daily Dozen" shots for this week. Here is the link to the site here

I am in the running for having my shot selected to go in a future edition of National Geographic magazine (pretty cool), but I need your help. Each month the Daily Dozen picture gets voted on by viewers. Go to the web link and cast a vote/rating for my image (look under voting machine and you decide what to give it). Each month they pick one to three winners from the four Daily Dozen groups that month. Any would help would be great!

Cool beans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I made the local paper...

Not too hard when you contact them, but hey it's an interesting trip - I'm almost interesting (almost). FYI, working on adding photo's of my last three years of international work, also an overhaul of the blog and trying to find enough projects to keep the family fed. Had an interesting meeting about a project originating in Cuba. Will be entering some photos in contests this fall and looking forward to more photography opportunities.

Anyway, here is a link to the article online: here

More post coming about life and some future trips - one is going to be a lot of fun and you get to come along...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hosting a family and friends screening...

I will be hosting a get together this evening at our home. Family and friends will come over to have some food and then view some pictures from the trip. I love stuff like this; just hanging out, eating some "grill food" and exploring the world through media.

Will update with some pictures this weekend!

From your "international correspondent"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

John makes it home and some Darwin shots

I made it home safe after 32 hours of riding in airplanes. Not a lot of fun, but the backside of a long trip never is. No real issues with flights and luggage, so count your blessings. Here are some images.


Sunset from the Mercy deck on our way to Darwin, Australia. It was one night and two days of travel.

My last breakfast on ship. Gotta give credit to the Navy - not to bad.

Made anchor in the morning and this was our view of Darwin. A small but very nice city with shopping, beaches and plenty of natural habitat.

This is the small port we came into. We arrived on a private boat and had to go through customs just to the right of this picture. That's Australian Navy ships in the background. Don't get to comfy with the scenery. We had large carp swimming around the pier (crystal clear water) and the boat helper told us he has a nice picture of a 13ft. croc sunning on the boat ramp about 25 ft away from the customs area - ouch!

A little beach music - Australian style. Had to dig the local grooves. This guy was way cool playing the dijerie doo (Sp?). Hard to believe one person gets all that sound out of those things. Also had a drummer to the left. Loads of fun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some pics from the last few days...

Cutest Kid Award

This little guy was at one of the medical clinics we drove to yesterday. I tried to get his attention as he walked by (sometimes I look like a large tree to little kids because of my height and the fact that people in Asian countries tend to be smaller in size). I gave him the little "speeze" sound and he never looked up and then his mom saw me with the camera and yelled to him "photo" and he looked up instantly and started smiling like a professional. I have a series of great shots, but this one highlights his big round eyes. The white in front is part of the gum he was chewing and not just his front teeth.

The USNS Mercy is to the left of the moutain range. I beleive this is a morning shot.

This is my filmmaking buddy Malcolm. We are attending last nights closing ceremonies for Timor Leste. They had shrimp, roast beef, egg rolls, the Pacific Fleet band and a big cake cutting ceremony.

This is the after party party. I fotgot to mention that beer and wine was served at the ceremonies :-). This was a group that met for a sing and dance get together under the flight deck. What a hoot! Three guitars and "Brown Eyed Girl" sung multiply times, but my favorites were "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams jr., "Johnny Be Good" and JR Cash songs (although Brown Eyed Girl is always good). In this shot there are Navy guys playing the guitars, Aussie gal doing the dancin' (with some in the background), Canadians clapping in the green shirts and some civilians in street clothes. They also had a small group of people dancing behind them (more people came and went as the two hour session ebed and flowed). I decided to take pictures of the shindig because it was such a neat setting and another reason was to playfully blackmail the person we report to from the Navy (and no I will not point him out with the guitar). At first I was shooting directly with the flash unit into the crowd and then decided to bounce the flash off the ceiling. I cranked the iso up to 1600 and let the motion affect the picture. I love the way it adds to the static shot. Can you just hear the music with everyone singing out:
"Do you remember when we used to sing, Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da"

Not to confuse you with life seeming to be one big party, here are a couple of shots for the work I am actually doing on the ship. This is a girl getting transfered from surgery to a recovery bed. She had surgery on her leg and they needed to keep them straight so she was transfered using the sheets. I was following a nurse named Candy on the far left from Project Hope.

This is Diane in the kids ward from Project Hope. A mom and son get dinner and some instructions. He is in for cleft palette surgery. Over 70 were performed by Operation Smile.

A Kids class from Florida or California made these cards for the sailors. Pretty cool to have them posted everywhere with encouraging messages. A group of people on the ship wrote return letters. Pretty important to support the troops. It makes a difference!

Do you remember these two people? They were the ones I followed in the military truck to the helicopter site for transport to the ship. The son had his operation and was doing fine. If you go to a clinic and meet people, when they see you on the ship they give you a big smile and wave. What a journey for this family and a very happy ending.

Night time on the ship with a 30 second shutter release. The streak on the left in the water is a small boat going by that patrols the area 24 hours a day while we are in port (two of them are out and about). The sun had set about 30 minutes before and I used my small tripod to record some pretty cool night stuff.


Need to head off to bed; it is very late (1:30am) and I have 6:00am wake up. We are heading to Australia and are entering the bigger water now as I can feel the ship rocking. They say it can get rough and we had to make sure everything was secure around us before going to bed.

Enjoy the pics and I would love to hear your comments!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Internet acting up, John feeling down...

Will have some pictures to post later today. Internet has been hit or miss the last few days. I am still feeling under the weather and will head to sick call after this post to get some cold medicine. Doing a little shooting and hanging out on the ship. Three more days and we are on the road to Darwin, Australia.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some pics from the MedCap...

The MedCap was on the other side of the Island of Timor Leste. It is basically a medical clinic with adult/peds docs seeing patients with dental (extractions) and Opto (eyeglasses). We went by helicopter and stayed from Sunday through Friday. Here are some pics from the trip. They are out of order (blogger, I hate you), but I will leave comments for each picture...

We had an Australian security detail working traffic for us. They were big, strong with muscles and guns. We had no problems :-)

This is one of my favorites (other one coming up). This little girl was afraid of me, not the first time mind you, so I shot this from the hip walking by her. I guess, for me, it was capturing her at a time when she was unaware. It is simple, but she was lovely in the red dress. I have a lot more of her.

Dr. Jonathan Green (my new friend) from Project Hope exams a patient. I have a ton of patient stuff, but wanted to give you a just a few. I didn't even notice the camera guy in the background. They flew some media people out for a 30 minute photo op.

I love this dental picture because of the man's shirt. My son Trey would love that shirt. Of course, I love the overhead view and wide angle lens.

This is another one of my favorites. This lady was traveling to the landing zone for transport to the ship by helo. I scored a ride in the back of the truck with them. The little girl on the right is going for a cleft surgery. I love the positioning, the lighting and the way they are holding each other. I believe what adds power to this shot is the eyes looking into the camera. There is a level of uncertainty about what is next. At the LZ, the women started crying as some of her children showed up to say goodbye. Can you imagine living in a village all your life and then getting in a truck, on a black hawk helicopter and flying to a hospital ship for surgery?

The Aussies set up a line to control the flow of people entering the gate.

Group shot. These are the 23 people on the trip. A few civilians, reservists, public health, Navy, Air Force and Army. I was behind the camera. Notice the dog? This was the dog who stayed with us at our place. We named her "Ribs" Not a hard guess as to why. We plumped her up some before we left.

Me on the Black Hawk helicopter. Pretty fun ride. On the way back they gave us the extra special version and swooped through mountains and valleys. Way cool!

This was the LZ (landing zone for you non-military type). The Australians base camp was just to the lower right of the picture.

Shot from the town bridge on a little walking tour.

Riding to the place we are going to stay in the back of a big mititary truck. Watch the bumps cause it gets rough.

Man peeks over fence as he waits in line. The clinic was run at a local school. Not uncommon to have glass embedded in the top of the concrete wall in other countries.

Thanks for looking through the pictures. I have about 1495 more, but it is pretty slow to upload on the computers here. It is nice to keep you posted and show you some of my world.

Health update: Was able to take a three hour nap today. Still feeling under the weather. Hopefully this cold will turn around soon, if not, off to sick call...

Thanks for following along....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I am alive...

Hey there.
Made it back after 6 days in the jungle (or small town in the mountains).

Wanted to let you know I am back and in good health except for a cold I have picked up sleeping next to a window. It would not have been so bad if I had brought sheets and blankets on the trip. Somehow I missed that memo. So I went with nothing but the sheet on the bed (if you can call it a bed) and my towel as a blanket. I was very tired and usually get run down and pick up the a little cough. Need to rest and take some Comtrex...

Will post some visuals very soon. I will also find out what's next. Overall we had about 1000 people come out to the clinic. One case of some really bad foot disease that no one could explain, lots of TB patients and some interesting Australian security detail with big muscles and big guns and a couple of really cool Black Hawk helicopter rides.

Some firsts for me:
-MRE for lunch daily (meals ready to eat)
-Actually using the Asian "squatty" toilet (whole in the ground)
-Black Hawk helicopter ride
-Taking a shower in the toilet (hose water - did that twice and it was bad...)
-Loving being back on the ship! (and I thought it was tough here, but now - 5 star hotel!)

Made 23 new friends on the trip. Will have some pictures later. Have to get some ready for the ships Ops briefing tonight. They will be showing some of my pictures :-)

See ya!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday news and reviews...

Word up...
Just wanted to report the latest happenings and include some video clips and pictures. Today was the first day off the ship since Singapore. We (Malcolm, my filmmaking counterpart), went in to Dilli to the opening ceremonies. Pretty low key, but was worth the effort. I have a couple pictures from the helicopters dropping stuff off and picking stuff up on the pier. But first up is the latest news from today: I will start with the little news I told you about in the previous entry, I am leaving for a five day trip to the other side of Timor. We get to fly by helicopter over the mountains to a fairly remote place and set up for what they call a MedCap. It really is like a medical clinic with doctors and nurses. She see a lot of people and I am excited to go. So no communication for five to six days :-( The other new is that we tried ot run another Doc film discussion group, but the DVD player did not like the DVD and would sputter on playback. Kind of a bummer. We had about 20 people. Will pick back up with it when I return.
That's about it for new news. Here is a look at the mess hall and the food we eat:

I have more clips but time is against me and I need to get at least SOME sleep. These are some pics from the trip in for the opening cermonies:

Well folks I gotta run. I will be off the air for a few days and will be back with a whole bunch of pictures and stories. Stay tuned and keep those comments coming!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Pictures and updates...

Hey there.
Almost 11:00pm here and I am wiped out. A few interesting pictures for you to see. First up is another sunset with a helicopter doing manuevers and the one after that is the helpicopter working on take offs and landings on the flight deck. It is always windy on the ship and the take off/landing spot is not that big of an area and interesting to watch them ride those birds in wit hthe wind. The helicopters are of course very loud and shake the top of the boat - especially when you are eating below in the mess hall. Pretty cool to watch them take off and fly away...

Next up is a the shirt I made and wore at our "Shellback" event. It was done in marker and all the red washed out (or on me). I was "DJ Dish-Wog." Everyone was a Pollywog before finishing the event and now is a bonna fide Shellback. This proves I was there and the sore muscles prove I had to do lots of push ups and sit ups.

The last picture is what happened tonight. We sailed by a VOLCANO!!!! It was really, really cool. Just this massive rock sticking out of the sea spitting out ash or smoke (or something) and I have the shots to prove it:

It would spit out stuff every once in a while from the center. It is not a lava volcano, just a smokey one. Really fun to go by it; lots of people out taking pictures.


Here is what I know from my schedule. We are arriving in East Timor in the morning. We go on shore for the opening ceremony (10:15am our time - we are 13 hours ahead). Lots of big wigs from the country including their president. Then it is back to the boat for the rest of the day. I am trying to get another film discussion group together for the evening. They cancelled the one for tonight because of some Navy training. They have also asked to run them on the ship's closed circuit tv for everyone to be able to watch - pretty cool. We will still get our group together and discuss the film. We can only fit about 40 people in the room, so it can't get too full. Apparently they like docs. Part of it is people hungry for good content and not just movies and lot's of people in the military with world experiences that connect them with global issues.

I will save another special announcement for tomorrow's blog.

Thanks for following along.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

First ever doc film group meets on Navy ship!

We had our first documentary film and discussion meeting tonight in the officers lounge. Things went pretty well, especially after the sound was fixed at about 15 minutes in (surround sound issues). Had a decent group of about 25. Good news - they want to continue tomorrow night!

Next film up is "The Devil's Miner" (a Tom Eckblad favorite). Fun to get back in the swing of things. It has been a year since I ran one of these things. We had Navy, Canadian and Australian military present, along with some civilians.

Can't wait for another film and discussion time.


Movie clips at sea...

Just some clips from around the ship. They are smaller in size and shorter in length because of file size restrictions. More to come later...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scenes from the ship...

Here are some pics while we travel. We arrive at East Timor July 12th. Two more days to travel and we will be there. I am also working on some small video clips from the boat. Did my first load of laundry this morning at 5:00am. It is tricky to find the time when one of the other 1000 ship mates is not trying to get some laundry done!

Looks like I will run a documentary film and discussion group tonight in the officers lounge. We will watch the Beauty Academy of Kabul. Wish I had Tom Eckblad with me (they would love the long hair Tom!). Should be interesting.


Sunset day 2

Sunset day 3

Flight deck

Ready and watching

Bug Spray on steroids

From the bridge

Running at night