THE GENESIS PROJECT
:THE GENESIS PROJECT:
Those of you who know me and well those who have just started following along on the adventure that I call life, May know 2 very hard facts about me. 1 I am not religious at all I hold no gods or goddesses and I am not even spiritual I am a realist. If I can see, touch, smell and or taste it I can get behind it if not it doesn’t matter to me. 2 Even though I am known for shooting Dark artwork, Nude models, and Commercial work my heart has always been rooted in nature/macro photography. In every interview I have ever done I have been asked something along the lines of “What is your favorite thing to shoot?” and to most interviewers surprise my answer is always a rapid fire” NATURE”.
I seam to always talk about challenging myself as an artist but never to much about how I challenge myself as a person. At the beginning of this year I found myself in a bought of depression I just could not seam to kick. I tried everything I could to shake it but nothing seamed to work. I have always found soils in nature but I ended up feeling like I wasnt able to get to the good spots on the planet.
One night while laying bed I started skimming through Netflix for something to watch when I came across a show called “Tales by Light” It looked pretty interesting so I gave it a go. I found myself watching the entire first season before falling asleep. Working for a company like NATGEO or Animal Planet has always been a dream of mine, Hell over all these years of publications my proudest moment as a photographer was when I made it into the National Parks Magazine in 2016.
I spent most of the next few weeks watching the videos of “More than just Parks” for inspiration and just to see how to improve myself as a nature artist since it is something I love dearly. Now I am a realist so I realize I am no were near as good as the Pattiz brothers that create these stunning videos of National parks all over the country. But even though they are better than I am, It gives me something to strive for. One day I hope to be able to work along side some of the greats but I see I need to work harder and it will come some day.
Feeling very discouraged, not because I felt bad about my abilities but because I couldn’t not afford to travel the country and spend weeks documenting these stunning places. So after much contemplation I thought why not start smaller? Why does it have to be some rain-forest or desert or mountain range? Ohio may not be the Rocky Mountains or Black sand beaches, But we do have some beautiful parks some I have never seen before and I have lived here a long time.
Over the next few weeks I started researching parks around northern Ohio, Just trying to find unique places to shoot. Then I began to plan, and “The Genesis Project” was born!
I want you to do your very own version of this project, Yes you read that right I want you to go out and shoot Nature you don’t have to get as in depth as I did in this project but if you love to shoot take 1, 2, 4, 10 hours out of one week and shoot, just walk about a park, your backyard, the beach, or where ever, just make it something to do with Nature photography. When you post use the #
So that I can see all the beautiful art you create.
So this what I came up with is I wanted to spend 1 whole week shooting NOTHING but nature and or Macro work.
Goal One. Rent a 600mm lens to use.
Goal Two. Schedule a different location for each day of the week. Google maps helped out a lot with that.
Goal Three. DO IT!
Goal Four. Name it. I chose to name this “The Genesis Project” for a few reasons. One the actual definition is “Origin” or “beginning of something”. Two I enjoy utilizing folklore to invoke feelings in my art and by using a word that is associated with one of the largest religions in the world. The word becomes common place enough for the general public to recognize it thus making it relatable to a larger audience. The psychology of art is fun!
I woke up the first morning at 3am Made myself a cup of coffee and rolled my smokes for the day. Grabbed my back pack, headphones and headed to the car. I drove for an hour to my first location the Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve it was just over an hour drive. It was still dark outside when I got the parking lot, I tossed on my pack grabbed the tripod and hit play on my Phone to start the sound track of my trip. I walked through the woods for awhile taking the winding path through the marsh. As I turned one corner I almost walked right into a large Buck (good thing I think it was more scared of me HA) it took off running but they truly are a beautiful animal. After I shook off the nerves I continued to walk, about a half mile into the path it opens up to a nice big lake with a little boat dock. I thought this would make a great place to time lapse the sun rise which was only 30 min away. So I unpacked my gear and set up for the shot, I set the camera to shoot and sat down on a log waiting for the sun to rise. I sat there watching the camera do its thing I breathed deep and enjoyed the absolutely beauty of it all. The smell of the water, the cool breeze of my face, the feeling of being all alone in the dark. As I sat there taking it all in I didn’t even notice the rather large half asleep beaver that had woke up and sat down next to me to clean his face before jumping into the water. He/she acted as if I didn’t matter, No fear not a hesitation, just walked right past me as if I was no threat at all. You can see him swimming around in the time lapse portion of the video posted below.
After the sun had breached the horizon the lake had come alive with sounds, and all those animals starting there day so I packed up and tossed on the 600mm lens and began to snap away. After a few hours of walking around and shooting I started back to the house Day 1 Done.
“You can’t see me”
I woke again at 3am to coffee and smoke only this time my buddy Rob from “the desperate beat” Was joining in on the adventure so when he arrived we began the 2+ hour drive to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area just outside Toledo Ohio. It was raining like crazy when we left Cleveland and according to the weather we were in for a wet adventure but as dedicated as we are we were both prepared rain sleeves in hand. However when we arrived it was just at sunrise and the rain had let up. Neither of us had ever visited this location and I can honestly say it was AMAZING! I felt like I was walking through Jurassic park, wildlife everywhere and HUGE trees and swamp it was probably the best place I have ever visited in Ohio. We walked for a few hours then went and got lunch then came back, the rain came and went a few times but over all this was an amazing part of this project I cannot wait to go back.
One thing Ohio has an abundance of is Cows and farms, So I knew I wanted to go photograph some of that, so day 3 happens to fall on my wife’s day off So we headed out south east to shoot some cows. It was also a very rainy drab day so most of the cows were in there barns so we drove around for awhile and found nothing. But then we came across a Bull farm and I managed to snap a few shots from the car. On our way back to the freeway we came across a very angry Hawk in the road. (Side story when planning this series I had bought a pocket knife off Amazon and when I told Juliet about it I said “I only got it cause I have a feeling I am gonna come across and an animal I will have to cut out of some trash”) Now back to the Hawk, as we drove closer we could see that it was in some sort of blue twine. I pulled over and Juliet and I got out of the car. We tried to grab him as he struggled to get away from us but with no luck, however he did manage to wiggle a wing lose so he could fly and he coasted up to a tree surrounded by water so we couldn’t get to him. He was not happy but at least he was somewhat free and with that powerful beak and talons he’d be able to get the rest of the twine off him, It looked as if someone made a makeshift harness and tried to keep him as a pet. As we were headed back to the car another car pulled up and the gentleman inside said he had been trying to free him too. So at least we could leave and know someone else was looking out for him too.
The duck pond in the Lake county metro parks was next to visit. Now I have shot at this location and visited there hundreds of times over the years however I never had a 600mm lens with me so it made for a fun new perspective on this location, Just a few hours I spent here listening to my headphones and enjoying the familiarity of the location.
Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Another place I have shot many times but this time I wanted to make it a little different. So I made this day a open Photo walk event to bring out as many people with me as possible. Upon arrival it was a bit rainy but then it got HOT and sunny. Bleh we all know how I feel about the sun and heat but over all the day went great my inlaws joined in the walk along with a few other photographers.
I had one more day to shoot with the lens and I wanted to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So as I drove along the winding road past the Locks I would pop out and snap a few photos here and there. The series was coming to an end and I was so tired, over this whole week I had walked more than I had in years. I had pushed myself far past what I thought was my physical capabilities between being over weight and having a heart condition I had done the impossible I had walked over 5 miles. Now most people would look at that and say that it isn’t that far, But for someone who’ feet are totally fucked from years of abuse its pretty damn far I mean hell just a few years ago I walked with a cane and the doctors thought surgery wouldn’t even help save them. But this project wasn’t just about taking photos of pretty nature. It was to get me moving again to work on my health and its hard. When I was younger I didn’t think I’d make it to 30 so why even bother caring at all about my health. But now that my body is failing me I feel the need to not let it completely fall apart. I am super glad I chose to do this project when I did cause it helped out a ton on my most recent job in Denver CO where we walked 8 hours a day for 4 days straight. As for Day 7 well according to the story of “Genesis” It was a day to rest, So I did just that I took myself to BED! With that said I hope this made sense to you and I hope you enjoyed my ramblings enjoy day 6 and a small video I put together.