First Flight

Working as a crew member and videographer for Captain-Crystal Stout’s Morning Star Balloon Company has given me a lot of photo and video opportunities since signing on.

The latest was filming a wedding proposal. But I didn’t know that I would be doing it at 2500 feet! Crystal let me know the night before to be ready to fly and film this wedding proposal by a young man in the Coast Guard assigned to the Port Angeles base and his soon to be fiancé. Very cool!

So I decided to make a short film, not only highlighting the proposal, but what it takes from start to finish to fly the balloon, chase it across country, land it and pack it away. Of course being my first flight as well, I couldn’t resist including a few images of myself!

So enjoy my first trip aloft and also the wedding proposal which is what the whole balloon ride was about.

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The Fat Chance Band at Olympic Cellars Winery

Fat Chance has been hammering out Rock and Roll for over 30 years on the North Olympic Peninsula and they are a great dance band. The concert series benefits local non-profit organizations like the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, The Captain Joseph House, Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts, and others. And you know, we are all about helping out here at Spirit Vision Films. So with camera in hand, I not only enjoyed the venue, but took video and stills while there. I love mixing business with pleasure! Lisa Martin owner of Olympic Cellars, while talking about another video that I am working on for Olympic Cellars decided to use the footage I captured last Saturday to do an info video highlighting the concert series. I wanted to get right on it so I spent last night putting it together for them to be inserted into their website to highlight upcoming events as well as what took place last Saturday. So check out the video and at the same time check out the upcoming events scheduled at Olympic Cellars Winery this summer.

Casey’s Kettle Corn Shoot

Got a call early this morning. Could I come and do a product shoot for Casey’s Kettle Corn here in Sequim? It was Captain-Crystal Stout who works for them. I work on her ground crew for Morning Star Balloon company and she knows that I do not only video work but product photography as well. Sure, I said, when do you need me? Now, she said! It was nine o’clock and Casey had to leave for Seattle at 9:30. Oh, I said. Yeah, I can make that happen as I threw my camera gear into the bag and headed for the door.

We aim to please here at Spirit Vision Films! I was there in about 15 minutes after I hung up. It was really convenient that Casey’s was only about a mile from my house!

So I got to meet Casey and the crew. Shot about a 130 images in about 20 minutes and let Casey get on his way to Seattle. Just uploaded their images to Crystal. I hope they like them!

Casey’s Kettle Corn is a great organization. They do a lot of benefit work for folks around the Sequim – Port Angeles area and we like that around here at Spirit Vision Films! So when you see their product on your local store’s shelves, pick up a bag. Not only do they help folks out, but darn if their kettle corn is some of the best I’ve tasted!

Check the gallery out of their operation here in Sequim. Here is their contact information if you want to get hooked up with their great kettle corn:

Casey’s Kettle Corn

160 Harrison Rd. #4, PO Box 280, Sequim WA 98382 – Toll free 866-388-0000 – 360-582-1138

Contact Captain-Crystal Stout at Crystal@CaseysKettleCorn.com or go to their website at http://www.CaseysKettleCorn.com

2015 Lavender Festival

I managed to hit three of the many lavender farms this last weekend during the 2015 Sequim Lavender Weekend held on July 17-19. The weather was exceptionally hot all three days, hitting the low 90’s and making the festival more like it was being held in Southern California then on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The hot weather we have been having the last couple of months really turned the lavender on and the farms were in great shape with the lavender in full bloom along with various flowers and accompanying crops that contrast that lovely purple color.

I started at the Purple Haze lavender farm, the original and one of the best in the valley in my opinion. When I worked for Clallam County road department back in the early ’90’s I first met Mike Reichner. Back then he worked as a Washington State Park Ranger at the Sequim Bay State Park east of Sequim. He decided to do something different at the time. Mike and his wife Roz opened the Purple Haze lavender farm off Sequim Bay road in 1996. It was a risky proposition at the time that paid dividends over the last 19 years. He was followed by several other lavender farmers who put together the annual Sequim Lavender Festival. Along with the Sequim Irrigation Festival, the oldest continuous festival in Washington State, the two festivals put little Sequim on the map for tourist designations on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Purple Haze is 12 acres of color and aroma! Its rolling hills with its gift shop at the top of the hill and the lavender fields spread out below, showcasing 15,000 English, French, Spanish lavender plants, boasting 50 varieties. Mike and Roz have done it right from the very beginning. That is why I like to start my photo quest at their farm.

During the festival many different vendors find their way to Purple Haze to entice visitors with all manner of food, beverages, arts and crafts. My videography professor Renne Brock-Richmond takes off her college professor hat and dons the art teacher one and shares her multicolored, hand-painted (and invites you to participate and paint your own) linen and silk fabrics (see photos).

Mike and Roz have built a bandstand that different musicians take turns performing in during the festival. Our friends, the Straight Shots band from the Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County benefit Wine Festival were there when I visited. They were cranking out that great old rock and roll in the early afternoon. They were as hot as the weather. Great local band!

I spent about two hours checking out the lavender, flowers, vendors and friends I ran into there before moving on to the Jardin du Soleil lavender farm.

Jardin du Soleil lavender farm is currently owned by Paul and Jordan Schiefen. It has changed hands at least a couple of times since the first lavender was planted on its 10 acres of rolling hills back in 1999. It is a certified organic lavender farm and one that I like to shoot each year.

I ran into one of my old friend’s two daughters, Becky and Stephanie Reed manning a booth on the grounds. Again, different vendors from food and beverage, to arts and crafts find their way to various lavender farms to sell their products during this festival. It is all part of the festival and it’s great to see so many coming from all over the state to participate.

I had another engagement in the early evening at Olympic Cellars Winery to see Fat Chance, so I only spent about an hour checking out the farm before moving on to the last one of the day …. George Washington Inn lavender.

I was unaware of the events scheduled for the day, but was pleasantly surprised that my timing visiting George Washington Inn was right on! They had a re-enactment of the battle of Lexington Green with period costumes, both Colonial and British, along with real muskets and cannons firing volley after volley at each other! Great entertainment! The smoke and sulfur smell of gun powder hung in the air for quite some time after the battle.

George Washington Inn is an actual replica of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s house. It is a top notch Bed and Breakfast, sitting atop a bluff over-looking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It also is situated on 10 acres, which part is a lavender farm. It has a long, long driveway lined with wildflowers and lavender. They had an encampment of both the Colonial armies, as well as the British that allowed visitors to see up close and personal how these armies lived during the Revolutionary war in the late 1700’s. I wish I could have spent more time there but had to make my way back home to get ready for the benefit at Olympic Cellars. But it was a great day! Scorching hot, but I had a great time visiting these three fields. It would have been easy to spend all three days to see all the fields that are out there. And I didn’t think about trying to go the Street Fair! Well maybe next year!

Check out some of the images I shot in the galleries at the right. Hope you enjoy! I did!

Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County’s Benefit Wine Festival at the Cedars at Dungeness

On July 11th, 2015, Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County held their second annual Wine Festival at the Cedars at Dungeness in the Dungeness Valley near Sequim, Washington.

I was invited to shoot both stills and video of the event for them. Partly to document the event and partly for an upcoming video we are working on for their website. So I took my assistant Jenna Rose along to help with the shoot. Not only did we get some great footage and images, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at this great benefit for the under-housed of Clallam County.

The Habitat folks know how to put a benefit together and this one really shined, in spite of an occasional passing rain shower that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the several hundred folks who attended from all over the state. Seventeen wine vendors representing dozens of various vintages from local to across the globe were out in force pouring wine for the attendees. Also representing two mini breweries for those more inclined to have a designer brew were making a hit with the crowds.

The food was absolutely first class! Fresh local fruit and veggies, various types of cheeses and salamis, grilled oysters with bacon and melted blue chees, smoked salmon, and different breads! I ate way too much of …. everything! Great stuff.

Meanwhile two local bands, Locals Only and the Straight Shots belted out that good old rock and roll! Jenna, my assistant even got me on the dance floor for a few dances! We had a great time in between shots. We met a ton of people, some local folks I hadn’t seen in a while and everyone had a great time. Most of all the benefit raised a fair amount of money for the Habitat vision here in Clallam County.

Check out the sidebar for some of the images I shot at the event!

Flying High on the 4th of July

This is the second short film I created for Captain-Crystal Stout and her Morning Star Balloon Co. This time I had my trusty Canon 7D with me all the time we were working on the ground crew. I like using the ‘Fusion’ style photography/videography method because of my time as a photographer prior to delving into videography to highlight a story.

It was a perfect, warm North Olympic Peninsula morning when the Morning Star was launched with her captain and clients. Enjoy the moment of the day with us!

Flying High with Captain-Crystal Stout

Spirit Vision Films is working to obtain an exemption from the FAA to commercially fly UAV’s here on the North Olympic Peninsula. One of the requirements is to have at least a sport private pilots license. So my brother Eric and myself are working with Captain-Crystal Stout and the Morning Star Balloon Company here in Sequim to obtain that sport license. We are working with her balloon ground crew to help with that goal.

Here is the first day on the job. I created a lot of this video with my Galaxy S-4 because I was not in reach of my Canon DSLR that I shoot most of my videos with. After the flight the Captain had a celebration with the other balloon’s captain, Jeff Spear and crew from Vagabond Balloons. She explained the history of ballooning and gave her clients the balloon blessing. A good time had by all!

John’s Story

This short video will be featured as one of two short films at the 2015 Moving Pictures Film Festival at Peninsula College, in Port Angeles Washington on June 4th at Maier Hall at 7:00 PM. It is a story of fishing for king salmon on the Nehalem River in Oregon. Yet it is much more than that as life interrupts and changes everything.

Sailing Moon Ruby Port

One of the first videos I did for Olympic Cellars Winery of Port Angeles, WA., was highlighting the hand bottled Sailing Moon ruby port-style wine that they produce. This was a fun video showing the Friends of the Winery getting together to bottle the  wine. The limited edition wine sold out quickly and was a hit among those tasting this unique dessert wine.

The video also highlighted some of the features of Olympic Cellars Winery, one of the oldest on the North Olympic Peninsula with its iconic hundred plus year old barn turned winery, along with its hand-crafted serving bar and young vineyard with the back drop of the Olympic Mountains.