Creating meaning through Adventure (+ Giveaway)

By on April 27, 2014

One of the reasons I love being “Von Wong”, is that it allows me to meet passionate individuals that are living out their dreams.

Earlier this year I had the chance to document the life of an adventure photographer based out of Las Vegas by the name of Daniel Woods. He wanted me to help him create something that would capture who he was and what he did all in a single inspirational video.

Watch it full screen for some inspiration:

Though I didn’t have any video equipment with me at the time, I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I was at speaking at the ImagingUSA trade show at the time, and took the opportunity to reach out to Sony asking if they would be interested in sponsoring this inspirational video and within half a day, they got me a NEX-VG900, 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Zeiss 50mm F1.4Sony 70-200mm F4 and a 5 foot Cinevate Slider.

Geared up and ready to go, our adventure began in Phoenix, Arizona with Monstro, Daniel’s mobile studio as we prepared for our road trip to Vegas.

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During the 5 hour drive, I took the time to get to know Daniel inside and out – from his religion, to childhood, to family before finally talking about his work. I wanted to understand his motivations and aspirations so that I could start painting a picture in my minds eye on how best to portray this passionate artist.

As the conversations got deeper, a storyboard began to form in my mind – one that would focus not on what he did… but on why he did it. On what drives an individual to relentlessly pursue the intense lifestyle of an adventure photographer.

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An average week for Daniel was to wake up at 5 AM, 3 times a week to set up and prepare 4-6 travel packs of canoes, paddles and photo gear, spending an entire 8 hour day guiding, trekking and paddling through canyons and ravines all the while taking pictures before reaching home to then dry off, reset all the gear, offload, cull and edit proofs for his clients so that they can view and select them before leaving the country.

Insane!

While chatting with Daniel, I came to the realization that it would be very helpful to get an assistant to help me out. I remembered vaguely in the back of my mind that I had received a very enthusiastic fan mail from a fellow called Enrique Malfavon who lived out in Vegas so I decided to surprise him with a spontaneous phone call asking him if he wanted to tag along for a couple days of epic treks.

And just like that… the next afternoon, I found myself on an inflatable raft, with a fan that had messaged me over a year and a half ago, two amazingly motivated 50 year old ladies who had never done something so crazy in their lives, floating on a river reminiscent of a page straight out of the lord of the rings, with Daniel a man I had just met a week prior, singing opera to us.

Von Wong Epic Adventures Photography BTS 12 copy

Over the next two days, I found myself excitedly lugging 20 kgs of gear up and down Red Rock Canyon, running ahead of the group to frame my shots so I could capture them as they walked on past before chasing them again.

Von Wong Epic Adventures Photography BTS 38 copy

I’ve had friends and colleagues ask: Wait how did you manage to lug all that gear around AND film simultaneously? And the secret is those years of martial arts, rock climbing and parkour training… in addition to some nifty little clips from Peak Design to climb up and down hands free while keeping my cameras at the ready.

At the end of the day, what I truly wanted to do was create a video that not only would help Daniel in his passionate pursuit but that would inspire you guys out there to push through the challenges that you face in your own lives.

Because as Daniel eloquently said in the video: “Anything that’s worth anything has a little bit of pain.”

Von Wong Epic Adventures Photography BTS 35 copy

Special thanks to Sony for supporting this project. Much love :)

Epilogue

You may have noticed the subtle mention of my brand new Peak Design clips earlier in the post and for those of you who made it this far, I have some great news for you: I have one to give away.

Peak Design will be sponsoring a Professional Pack to one lucky photographer of their choice.

To participate, simply leave a comment down below on how this nifty device could help you in your workflow and what you thought of the video!

PEAKDESIGN

Announcements:

  • Sid3showrob

    I have been looking for a good way to carry my camera, without needing a clumsy strap. I have seen other belt based solutions, and those look ok, but I don’t think you can beat the versatile Peak Design clip. I hope I can try one out soon! :)

  • yellowdavid

    Hi Benjamin,

    First comment for me on your blog. I have been a “silent follower” for a few weeks though.

    Very nice video. Once again, love the work you do.

    Photography is for me a hobby, I love to try to capture people’s emotions during everyday life or meaningful events. I would love to have an opportunity to try the innovative clips from Peak Design, I believe it will help me never to miss a shot!

  • veerakesari

    Hi,
    Superb video. I have been admiring your videos since when I saw your video about describing yourself. Now after seeing your savingeliza campaign I immediately sent my best photo to that campaign.

    And the peak design clips, I’m hearing first time about them. It would be a great help during my travel. During my recent para sailing trip I had a hard time securing my camera. Peak design clips would be great in those situations.
    Thanks :)

  • MariDoug

    This would be a great way for me to take pictures at the Primavera Music Fest without the hassle of straps; while it may not help with the jostling crowds, at least it will make it more comfortable! I enjoyed the video.

    runningmatey at hotmail dot com

  • ylluria

    Wow.. the shots in that video were -gorgeous.- And I love that he takes them w/the meaning behind them of making these amaaazing experiences for people (not just for the sake of the photos themselves- but truly uplifting peoples’ lives). :) You can see his passion, his love and his joy come through in the light, precision and beauty within his photos. Those are some -amazing- captures. ^_^ (And I really dug the music you put with it too. I can still hear it in my head as I mull over memories of the film. ^_^)

    Dunno if I’m in time for the giveaway, but for what it’s worth, I’d love a set like this because it’d enable me to take my camera -everywhere,- and in so many different ways. As a visually impaired artist, performer & general creative who’s just moved to a beautiful new city, I’ve been able to do things here that I’ve waiting my whole life to do (chiefly because of transportation & access issues), and I want to share my journey, as well as all of the creative photo ideas I’ve had thanks to this new place, w/others as I explore my new hometown, and make my new life here. ^_^ I’ve got SO many inspirations.. and this accessory pack would make it easier to take my camera into any situation, and thus, maky some of my many dreams a reaily. ^_^

  • Nick

    Great post! I’m traveling to Peru this year, and would love to use this to hold my go pro on my backpack chest strap while hiking to help create a time lapse movie of my travels. I can imagine a time-lapse video of the trail up to Machu Picchu with the grand view framing the end of the journey. :) Plus, the colors match my backpack! Haha

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