25 September 2012

All I Ask is a Tall Ship...

(One of my favorite quotes of all time...)
"There are three perfect shapes in the world … the hull of a boat, a violin, and a woman's body."    —Charis Wilson quoting Varda

Art Model, Dana © 2007 Terrell Neasley

"Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made."   
- Robert N. Rose

I'm gonna double up here for a bit and catch you up on a couple of points. Well, maybe actually THREE!

My good friend John Kompare, another accomplished photog, sent me an email that has me wondering about my some of my future priorities. You can catch John's blog at this link. He forwarded me a newsletter to a sailing club offering to train you up on basic sailing and cruising at a really good deal. I want so badly to take advantage. I'm sure I mentioned this before, but maybe I didn't. At some point in 2014, I want my travels to hit the water. I want to be on my own boat sailing the South Pacific starting from Chile, to Easter Island and then heading out West. I still have to learn to sail and then I need to get a good boat. Trying to balance that with some of my land-loving travel plans may be problematic on my time table. I am heading back to Central America this year and plan to tour South America next year along with a short stint in Israel. All that doesn't leave a lot of time nor money for sailing. So I have to better organize my thoughts and priorities.

"A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat' "    
- Stephen Wright

Art Model, Dana © 2007 Terrell Neasley
This also ties in with my second topic. Two nights ago, I got to hang out at the Hard Rock with some really good friends. I won't even get started on the party we had the week before. I was a mess. This week however was a bit more civilized and all I had was coke. But my bud Pierre-Luc is an aerialist here in Vegas with one of the Cirque shows. He and I were talking about travel and he mentioned that he's traveled world-wide quite often over the last few years, taking extensive trips in Europe and Southeast Asia at least 7 times. He's a young man. I asked him why he's made traveling so important in his life. What was his answer? Just that...LIFE! This is a man who spends exhilarating hours in the air performing up to 5 or 6 nights a week, doing two shows a night. His skill has to be impeccable. His timing must be absolutely perfect and his rigging has to be without even the slightest defect. A simple slip, to be off in his timing, or faulty rigging can prove disastrous in his profession.

Art Model, Anonymous © 2007 Terrell Neasley
"Bad cooking is responsible for more trouble at sea than all other things put together."
- Thomas Fleming Day

Art Model, Anonymous © 2007 Terrell Neasley
But this is exactly what happened just a few years ago around the time we were first introduced. Faulty rigging resulted in a 30 foot fall onto his head. This is why he travels. He has since healed and is back in the air. And now he takes some time to experience the world. Keep in mind we're not talking about an accountant or marketing executive. We are speaking to a man who's already living life on the edge and he's talking about experiencing life. How many of the rest of us live life making future promises? How many of us are saving up for that life experience that we never make time for beyond a trip to Disneyland? Ever notice how that savings account keeps getting tapped into because "something else came up"? Something will always come up. Sometimes it might take a significant emotional experience to give us that bump we need to get out of our normal routines and do the stuff we dream of doing. I'm not saying you need to build a bucket list. I'm just saying I wish more of us were actually doing the things that make us happy and not putting off these things til the kids leave the house, or until you get that next promotion. There is a big difference between living life and just being alive. To truly live is more than simply surviving. I'm not saying travel is YOUR answer. You may hate traveling, but there IS something you love to do which is that "thing" that you've always talked and dreamed about. Find a way. Make your path. Do this. Now.

I'll save my third thing for later.

12 September 2012

So What's Next?

More of Faerie from some shots I'm just now getting to edit

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'."
- Erma Bombeck

That is a good question. The goal is to definitely implement travel into my business and integrate it into my lifestyle. I already mentioned my desire to head back to Guatemala with a model for two weeks. But beyond that, I'm not certain. I can't say that I feel done with Central America just yet. There are 7 countries there and I've only visited 2. I'd think Honduras would be a priority. Can't say I'm feeling Costa Rica has been on my mind to do some volunteering. El Salvador and Nicaragua would be next. I've been to Panama already, but only from a military perspective.

I think of everywhere I could travel, Central and South America appeal to me most. I need to get serious about learning Spanish. I mean, dang. I was raised in Texas. I've been in Las Vegas for 5 years. How is it that I don't already speak the language? You'd think just from hearing it so often you'd learn it like a baby. I even got German down fairly well while I was there for almost 4 years. Wait...let me take that back. I could order food and tell a cab driver where I wanted to go. But I was getting it down. Don't ask me anything in German now, though. That was 20 years ago. But back to my point, I need to make a more concerted effort to prioritize my language skills. And why stop with just Spanish?

Art Model, Faerie

In the meantime, what's next is getting back to work and building my photography business with the core and staple services I known for. I need to push myself in ways that go beyond the typical and outside my comfort zone. Granted, I believe I've been doing that, but in the process I got comfortable again, so its time for another evolution. I still feel behind for the year. I missed the first 4 months of the year. I did a teaching assignment for a month in May and had about 4 projects or so between mid-April til I left in July for Central America. From an artistic perspective, I talked a few months back about doing more self-portraits. I need to work some nudes in there too. We're in month 9 of this year and I think I've only done a single nude project with a model. Make that two. I got to work with Panda a week after my surgery in January, just before all the real pain started kicking in. I only did 7 nudes all of last year, which is the least amount of projects I've ever done since I first began shooting nudes. So between now and the end of the year, I need to get at least 10 more.

"I have a simple philosophy: Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. Scratch where it itches."
- Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Art Model, Faerie
What else is next? Outside of travel, doing my art, and working my business... nothing. That's where all my concentration is for now and I've got lots more to do. There's enough on my plate to keep me occupied and gainfully-employed if I can just handle those aforementioned taskings. Maybe I can add in there objectives to maintain my sanity and minimize the disturbance to my calm. I think better that way and thus increase creativeness, efficiency, and productivity. Oh, I guess I can add in there getting healthy. The knee surgery didn't pan out as well as hoped and now I have some rotator cuff issues in my right shoulder. I hate being slowed down this much, but I am trying not to push it. Too look at me, you'd never be able to tell I am so broken. Just last night, talking to a couple at a bar, they commented that I obviously must work out. Yeah, right. At the moment I'm running off a lifestyle of strenuous physical activity, genetics, and God's Grace. But all that ain't going to hold up if I don't get fixed and get back to my regular activities soon. So I guess I had better add that onto the list of priorities. Be cool. Get healthy. Oh and also get the iPhone 5. Yeah, that's all.

05 September 2012

A Few More Points on Central America

Standing in front of the main waterfall at Seven Altars, Guatemala

Midnight shot, Hopkins, Belize
I can spend the rest of the year talking about Central America. I've got so many pics and videos to keep content fresh for the next six months. But that's not all that this blog is about. However, let me just say a few more things. In all the beautiful surroundings that is Guatemala and Belize, there were three things that were nonetheless heartbreaking to see. First and foremost was the disparity of wealth. Now let me predicate this with the fact that I admit this was my first visit and I did not see all of the country. I have not done an national economic study on any of the countries to back up my opinion with discrete facts. That being said, I didn't see, nor did I have the impression, that there was a large middle class. This means that I'm thinking the majority the people will fall on the outlying edges of the economic scale. The distribution of wealth seemed to me to be heavily skewed towards the right side of the bell curve. On one side of the river you find elaborate boat houses and on the opposite side, I'll just say it can be pathetic. I even began to consider weather or not my presence as a tourist in some way exploited the poor of the region. Make no mistake, this is the system. I'll be back. I'll be more educated, more informed, and better prepared upon my return.

“Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”
 - John Berger 

Kids playing just off the Rio Dulce
The second thing has to do with the poor condition of dogs in just about every city I visited. Sometimes conditions were so deplorable that you can see rotting flesh on some of these animals. Heather and I were almost attacked a couple of times by a pack of dogs, once in San Miguel and once in Finca Ixobel, though the Finca Ixobel dogs were owned by a tourist family. I was very pleased to see Ismael, who manages Casa Rosada in Livingston who has taken it upon himself to launch a tremendous effort to bring in Veterinarians from the U.S. to volunteer to come help heal, cure, spay, and neuter the animals, and educate the local population and owners of the importance of taking better care of their pets. Ismael is volunteering to host these Vets with free lodging and food for their services. This man is such a great guy!

And thirdly, I learned for the first time about the importance of saving our coral reefs. Admittedly, any time I have heard about it before, I didn't really put much care into the notion. However, upon seeing the dead field of reefs while snorkeling a half mile off Tobacco Caye, it became suddenly a disparaging sight. It was awe-inspiring to witness the life amongst the corals as I swam around sting-rays and barracuda. The water was crystal clear, the marine life was so colorful and beautiful... and then everything turns gray and looks devoid of life. I'm a fan of coral reefs now. Please be conscious of your actions when swimming through or over them and help protect our reefs.

"The first time I added the art nude to my landscape photography it was as if I had added a soul, they took on a life and became much more than the sum of each. I was looking over the images after a photo shoot, I could hardly believe my own eyes and the beauty I had captured."  - David Winge

Canoeing through mangroves, just off the Rio Dulce
I'm not sure when I'll get back to Guatemala. I'd like to say I'll be back in November. I've got one thing holding me up though. I feel like I need a model. It may be pathetic of me to say, but I think I'm having a more difficult time appreciating how gorgeous some of the areas I visit is when I don't have a nude model to accompany me. During this last trip, I could not shake that notion from my mind. Yes, its beautiful to see. Yes, the waterfalls are gorgeous. I know the rivers, jungles, and cabins are precious to witness. But I need a nude model. Gotta have it. Can't get around it. It must be done. The perfect situation? A new client hires me to accompany and follow her around to do just this and defers to my creative expertise and gives me complete artistic liberties to produce a collaborative work of art for the ages!

Yeah, so I thought it might also be cool to post a short video interview of Heather Rae upon our arrival in Hopkins, Belize. I had to reduce the quality to get it within Blogger's size requirements, so I'll need to work around that next time. Check it out. You just might learn something. BTW, the place we are staying here in Hopkins is the Lebeha Drumming Center & Cabanas. And more on her discussion of the History of the Garifuna people.