Have you ever just stopped and asked yourself, “how have I been able to do all that I have done?” Personally, I ask that question often, and thanks to Facebook’s timeline feature that allows me to go back in time and just see all that I’ve been so fortunate and blessed to experience, I’m just left speechless really. One major highlight has been working in the outdoor industry.
This has truly been amazing for me. I’ve met some of the most genuine people, and have traveled to breathtaking locations.
From South Africa to Belize and many places in between…
I’d love to share a few highlights.
My very first outdoor TV show that I was involved in was called Sovereign Sportsman. A mutual friend had connected me with some guys who were very passionate about their concept for this TV show… to travel around the United States and parts of the World showcasing some amazing people doing amazing things… I was excited to jump on board. We got through the first season, and it was a hit. In fact, we were typically in the top 3 best shows for that network at the time, and for a show in it's debut season, that meant a lot.
At the start of season 2, the team decided to go to South Africa. It was very thrilling to everyone on the team, but to me especially, I had a hard time keeping my excitement and anticipation at a normal level. See, being from Belize, there’s always this sense of wanting to go back to the motherland – Belize having deep African heritage as part of its history.
So, needless to say, this wasn’t going to be just another shoot… just another episode, this was way more than that for me. For 14 days I felt like I was in another world. The coffee tasted so much better, the sunrises and sunsets seemed so much more personal, and after I finally got over the ridiculous jet lag, I found myself completely amazed by the absolute beauty that is South Africa. To say I’m excited to go back would be a pretty big understatement.
It was time for the tropics…
With the same show, we decided to go to Belize to close off the season. Since it was my homeland, I acted as both show producer and tour guide, which was so awesome. I gathered a few of my contacts and we were able to acquire a private island to do some pretty amazing fishing. What was so impressive to me was the fact that I’d lived in Belize till I was 18 years old, and felt that I was seeing parts of my country for the very first time… truly amazing place.
We teamed up with a conservation team in Belize and helped free a turtle that was wounded by a boat prop. Probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
This episode we shot in Belize won us a regional Emmy at the Mid-South Emmy Awards. What an absolute honor.
Next was what I still consider one of the toughest things I’ve ever done… attempt the summit of Mount Rainier. I say attempt cause I was only able to make it to 10,000 feet. Climbing a mountain while trying to film simultaneously turns out to have been way harder that I ever expected, but the view being above the clouds was really what did it for me. Taking 3 wounded warriors to the very top made this particular episode one of my favorites. Turned out, the academy loved it too and we won an Emmy for this one as well.
The view from Camp Muir at 10,188 feet
While I sorta stumbled into this industry, I’ve grown to really appreciate it. See my style for the longest typically required a great deal of pre-production, or preparatory work, which for the most part isn’t how the outdoor industry works. So many things get thrown your way at the last minute that one simply cannot help. If it’s a hunting trip, you truly have no idea how that hunt is going to turn out at the end of 5 plus days. Imagine filming a movie and not knowing if the main character would even show up when he said he would? What would you do then? It’s that extreme and intense for me, and while that has certainly been frustrating to me on many levels, it’s really shown me how to adapt. It’s forced me to grow in other areas of my professional self. It’s challenged me to be quicker in the field in order to still get quality shots in a short amount of time.
At the end of the day it’s about learning new things about myself in order to be even better for my clients. If you’re wired like me in the slightest way, getting the smallest pat on the back from someone regarding work you’ve done is extremely valuable and it motivates me to never shy away from challenges I’ll encounter.
Thanks for reading. All the best.