Do you want to give back?

First light on the Huascaran Massif, taken from the top floor of La Casa de Maruja B&B, Huaraz, Peru.

Do you have a desire to give back?
Last summer I bumped into Nikki McGee, founder of EMG, Elevated Mountain Guides, while shooting an event in Salt Lake City. I quickly learned that she and a few others were headed to Peru in November to teach a wilderness medicine course at a school in Huaraz. I told her I would love to help.

Situated at 10,000 feet above sea level, Huaraz, Peru gives true meaning to the term “Mountain Town”.

Don’t get me wrong, photographing action and adventure is a blast, but recently I’ve been looking for ways to get involved with organizations that give back to the outdoor community and working with EMG fit that bill. And beside, our passions go beyond the outdoor activities we participate in. Right?… Or maybe it’s just my restlessness that has me constantly on the move.

Emily Mahaffey instructs during the Wilderness Medicine Course, Huaraz, Peru.

So a few emails and phone calls later I was on a plane to Lima and then a bus to Huaraz. This project was a departure from the norm. Instead of focusing on an objective like a summit, climb, trail, etc., and creating shiny picture-perfect images, I had the opportunity to slow down and absorb things as they came. Fear and self doubt were ever present as I opened up to others and developed relationships, but as you probably already know, this world is filled with amazing people. So by the end of our short time there I’d gotten to know the vibrant outdoor community of Huaraz, made several new friends, and realized how lucky we all are to live in this stunning world we call home. The chifa, ceviche, lomo saltado, mountains, lakes, taxis, car horns, rooster calls, and markets left a lasting impression. And it was beautiful. So much so that I’m headed back with my entire family this June.

Danny and friends.

 

Elevated Mountain Guides (https://www.elevatedmountainguides.org) , EMG, is a nonprofit helping underserved communities access the outdoors.

Erkki Becker, Gisela Rosas and Gilberth having fun above Huaraz, Peru.

It began as gathering and delivering used climbing gear to the technical institute in Huaraz and has now blossomed into teaching wilderness medicine in South America and developing youth after-school-outdoor programs in the United States.

Hurrah! The class celebrates on the final day ceremony at the Instituto Tecnologico.

My task was to come back with both still and motion pictures. The still images will be used for websites, printed brochures, social media, and to spread their message. The motion clips are used as the back drop to a voice-over taken from a few interviews conducted over the last four months.

First light on the Huascaran Massif, taken from the top floor of La Casa de Maruja B&B, Huaraz, Peru.

 

Click the video below to watch this six minute piece, which is part profile, part event documentation, and 100% gorilla-style, going fast and light.

*Indoor climbing footage courtesy of Nicole Passeri.

See you out there,

Louis

The Importance of Narrative.

Lloyd Johnson, Alta, Utah.
Lloyd Johnson, Alta, Utah.

I believe in the power of good stories. In my opinion a good story trumps all else. If you don’t have a story then it’s fluff, empty words on the page, and/or just eye candy. In the world of outdoor pursuits we are inundated with mesmerizing visuals and unlimited narcissistic tendencies that have the tendency to leave us temporarily entertained, but ultimately empty. Most of it lacks depth, heart, and a good story.

I want to share stories that have something more to them. I want to move past my shallow attempts that try to pull meaning from nothing, but end up doing very little in the end.

Last fall I was asked to create a video profile of an Alta Ski Area local. I immediately thought of Lloyd Johnson. I was first introduced to Lloyd over ten years ago and was immediately intrigued. In his seventies he was telemark skiing and actually dropping his knee, something not all who have tele skis do. Lloyd is a Chicago native who began skiing at the age of 40 when he moved to Salt Lake City. When her retired at the age of 65 he picked up telemarking. He has been an annual pass holder at Alta since 1983 and skis about 115 days a year. Not bad for a guy well into his 80’s. I knew he would be perfect for this project.

We filmed two days. Actually two mornings at Alta. The first was a seated interview in front of the camera. The second morning was a stormy day on the slopes. I then whittled the interview audio down to 2 minutes, a process that was extremely time consuming, then found the music, and finally paired them with the motion clips from the second day.

Nothing fancy here. The result is a simple narrative. There is no drone footage, super slow motion, speed ramping, or death defying action, just a good story. You be the judge. Does a good story trump the rest?

Alta Profile – Lloyd Johnson