This year has been fun, so fun, I haven't posted anything in nearly 10 months. This past winter I got a chance to shoot in Iceland in the middle of the winter. I had been to Iceland twice prior, but only in the summer. I was a little weary of the 6 hours of daylight we would have, and didn't think Iceland could be as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer. Oh man, was I wrong. The long dawn, straight into magic hour provides some of the best light I have ever seen. Short in length, but beautiful in quality. The weather temps (at least close to the coast) were not much colder then NYC in the winter. It was a brief shoot (including this below photo of a cold water survival suite at the iceberg lagoon), but man was it awesome!!! It chaged my how prespective on Iceland in the winter.
I love when the stars align! This past December the feature documentary Salero (which I DP'ed) was invited to screen at the Havana Film Festival. At the same time the US eased up the travel restriction to Cuba AND Delta and other major airlines have started flying direct flights from JFK to Havana! On pretty short notice I snagged an extremely cheap ticket, cleared my scheduled, and headed to Havana for the 34th Annual Havana Film Festival!
In short, the festival was amazing! Havana provided plenty of excitement and adventures! Outside of Old Havana, the city didn't disappoint (Old Havana was pretty, but clearly geared towards tourism). A few quick and random tips (current as of Jan 2017):
- If your adventure and don't like to be with the crowds, its worth looking into air BnBs in neighborhoods outside of Old Havana. I stayed in Malecon, near Hotel Presidente, which was also convenient for festival events, but also provided a dose of what middle class daily life is like in Havana.
- Taxis will charge you an arm and leg, so rent a bike or bring a skateboard! Havana is pretty small and quick to get around once you're on wheels. I found a guy on Ave G, and got a bike for a 24 hour period. I also spent a morning skating around Havana, and it was a total blast.
- Delta makes it really really easy to go! Yes, you have to have a legit reason, but you can buy a visa at check in. I had zero hassle going, arriving, leaving and returning. If you work in the creative world, you could easily go to research projects, shoot projects, or keep the film festival in mind, its worth a visit! Independent travel to Cuba is easy.
- The food in Cuba isn't all that bad, but it will be expensive if you eat at the fancier places (but still cheaper then NYC). If you are staying in an Air BnB and are looking to keep cost down, I'd suggest bringing breakfest foods, as I had a hard time finding milk and eggs.
- The last few photos are from an art space called Fabrica. Its not exactly under-the-radar, but it is far form Old Havana. If you're into the arts, its 100% worth the visit. The restaurant and bar connected with the art space are also great, and probably one of the best meals I had while there. http://www.fac.cu/
And now some photos from my 5 days, 3 nights in Havana!
This past summer a good buddy of mine was getting married in Iceland. Having spent 2 weeks in Iceland just a few years ago (and at almost exactly the same time of year), I wanted to check out somewhere new en route. My girlfriend and I had become obsessed with The Faroe Islands after following the country's official Instagram feed.
The Faroe Islands are a island nation halfway between Iceland and Norway, with a total population is less then 50,000. Needless to say, the Faroes are not easy to get too (Unless you are already in Iceland, Scotland or Denmark). After realizing it would be cheaper to book flights from Reykjavík to The Faroes, then spend a week in Iceland (Iceland because very very expensive during peak season), my girlfriend and I jumped at the opportunity to visit such a unique and remote place.
I'll let the photos (and above video) speak for themselves. But one last note; the Faroe Islands really had a "not-yet-spoiled" feel to them. Its what I imagined Iceland was like 20 years ago. The Faroe Islands (18 in total) is fairly compacted. You can drive nearly half the county in a day although you'll need a lot more time for all the amazing hiking.
The Faroe Islands are one of the most unique places I have ever visited and definitely in the top 5 trips I have ever taken. Don't miss them if you ever have the opportunity!
OFF TO ICELAND: After the Faroe Islands we stopped in Iceland for 4 days for our friends wedding. What a blur, and what a blast! After the Faroe Islands, Iceland seemed congested and one giant tourist scam... Iceland is definitely worth visiting, I'd just suggest going during the low season or shoulder season.
While trekking Kilimanjaro earlier this year, I brought along a c300. I shot somewhat aimlessly, not really short what I'd make out of it. Well, after milling it about, this is the short I came up with. Check it out:
"The Continual March to Solitude is an experimental short film created out of recent footage shot while trekking Kilimanjaro and an archival recording of “The Snow of Kilimanjaro.” The audio was repurposed and re-edited (like you would do with an interview) to create a new story about the continual quest for exploration and adventure."
This film was shot during the low season (Early April), when Kilimanjaro sees its least amount of visitors. Footage was collected over the 6 day trek, and shot at altitudes ranging from 6,000ft to 19,341 ft. The low season surprised us with a crowd-less and snowcapped peak.
For more information about trekking Kilimanjaro in the off season, check my previous blog post.
Director/DP: Andrew David Watson
Sound Mix: Julienne Guffain
Music: “Cave of Swimmers” by Blake Ewing | The Music Bed
Featuring: Emanual Motta of Origin Trails Tanzania www.origintrails.co.tz