My neighbor Victor just dug a huge pit for a septic tank. He usually has three horses. I heard a lot of horse noises yesterday and noticed one of them was missing. Somehow the pregnant female horse, Ruby, had fallen into the hole. She was freaking out and covered in blood from trying to escape. The neighbors were not home… and I was at a loss for a plan to help this poor horse.
How the hell do you get a thousand pound beast out of a nine foot deep hole?
Ruby was trying to get out by the lowest wall but there was a barbed wire fence at the top that she kept getting tangled up in. I ran to my other neighbor’s trailer and told them, “We have a horse situation.” Neither of us had Victor’s number, so he drove down to where his wife works.
I was standing by the pit trying to calm the horse when Victor pulled up in his pickup truck. He said his wife had called him then said a bunch of things in Spanish that I couldn’t understand and drove away. He returned a few minutes later con un caballero amigo, that is a cowboy friend.
The plan was to stack hay bails and make some steps for Ruby to climb out. We got a ladder and a fifteen year old kid climbed down and cautiously approached Ruby. “Brave kid.”, I said. Unfortunately we only had four hay bails and that wasn’t quite enough.
Victor decided to go buy more hay but when he got in his truck it wouldn’t start. “You’re having quite a day.” I said. “I need a drink.” said Victor. We got in my truck and went on a mission to find alfalfa hay to make horse steps. A few miles down the road I got a call that the horse had been rescued somehow, so we stopped at la tienda and Victor bought a bottle of mezcal and some beer. Most of the rest of the day was spent working on that.
The sun was setting on a Wednesday in southern Baja. I cracked a beer, jumped in the truck and gunned it down the rough dirt road leaving the solar powered Wi-Fi in the trailing dust. I was searching for the giant agave plants endemic to this region.
A mile later I entered a small valley of agave plants and found four that were still small enough to transplant to my plot of desert land. I also came across a big pile of garbage that somebody had dumped out there.
The sun was gone by now but the moon was bright. I put on my leather gloves and gathered the flammable trash into a pile that blazed into the night sky with a touch of my blowtorch.
My beer was empty and I was hot and sweaty so I came home. The generator broke down yesterday so there wasn’t any hot water at the house I’m renting but the cold water actually felt great.
Feeling refreshed, I put on my cleanest dirty shirt and headed into town to check out some live music. I barely speak Spanish and I certainly don’t know how to salsa dance but I nodded my head to the band while downing fifty peso Pacificos.
I was supposed to meet up with my friend Jesse at the bar. We met last year when I buried my truck to the frame in deep sand on the beach and he pulled me out. Jesse was a no show. Later I found out his truck battery had died and he was stranded without cel reception.
I’m new in town and don’t really know many people yet so I stood around the bar as it got more crowded. Eventually I started chatting with a young lady that spoke English. Her name was Autumn and she just bought a house near here. She told me that she used to live in Colorado and Oregon. “Me too.”, I said.
“Do you know Landon Dowlen?” She asked me out of the blue. About twenty years ago I used to date his wife Angela before they met oddly enough. This planet Earth, it’s so very small.
I finally got around to editing this mini-doc that I shot last year in Oregon.
I caught up with my old friend Cedar at his house on Mount Hood where he took me on an incredible 18 mile downhill trail. He even set me up with a top of the line Esker Elkat carbon fiber full suspension mountain bike for the day. We sat down on his porch and discussed his philosophy for living the good life on the mountain.
I wish I had said something slightly more profound. What did I do with my 2 seconds of fame? Basically I said, “His wife is hot.”. Real classy move Niles. But I’ll take it. It’s part of a long running joke I’ve had with my friend Jeremy. He used to video conference with his girlfriend when we shared a room in Africa while filming a project long ago. I’d usually come stumbling in late at night and he’d be on his laptop chatting away with an attractive woman. I’d mumble something about her being hot as I crashed into my single bed that was about 2 feet away from his.
Eventually they got married and I kept the joke going by always yelling in the background when he was talking to her, “Your wife is hot!”. It’s pretty funny that of all the things I said while sharing an RV in the desert outside of Area 51 with Stephen Rodrick, Rolling Stone’s embedded journalist, that’s the one that made it into print. It’s a cool article, you should read it and learn about the Yeti.
“I call her Yeti because most people have never met her and doubt she exists,” says Corbell. Niles, his cameraman, chimes in, “I just call her ‘hot.’”
District 37 Dual-Sport has made LA-Barstow-to-Vegas one of the most famous and longest two-day dual-sport rides in the world. 2018 marks the 35th year for the 400 mile+ dual-sport ride. The tour starts the day after Thanksgiving, using creative routes chosen to Barstow and Las Vegas. Gear bags are transported from point-to-point each day. Adventure bikes, vintage bikes, side-hacks and small displacement bikes are all encouraged to join the fun with the regular dual-sport bikes as long as they are street legal.
My good friend was getting married in Ireland and my desire to capture this led me to a camera quandary. I have more cameras than most people but I didn’t want to lug a huge case of gear and feel like I was working, so the C300 mkII was out. I have a 5D but I’d need to bring more gear to make that work and it would still be a big case. I have a tiny GoPro but it’s too wide angle. My iPhone fits right in my pocket… but the sensor is too small.
I did some research and the RX-100 mkV seemed like the best travel camera so I added it to my cart on B&H… but didn’t check out right away. Then the price suddenly dropped by $100 (yay!). A few days later the mark VI was announced but wasn’t shipping yet (boo!). I was stuck between release cycles and the wedding was right around the corner.
As I was foraging for sustenance in my refrigerator one day when I noticed I had several rolls of super 8mm film languishing in the vegetable drawer. Home movies were much cooler shot on film. I found an old Super 8 camera somebody had given me in a box upstairs. Holy crap there is a roll of film in it! How many years has that been in there? Well no matter I’m taking it to Ireland and pointing it at my friends.
In the end I brought two super 8 cameras and seven 50 foot rolls of film. I got it developed and scanned at Pro8mm in Burbank and was pleasantly surprised that most of it turned out. I practically had an in camera edit going as well but they scanned it out of order so I dropped it into FCPX, scaled it to fit 1920×1080, and brought it some good old Irish songs. I’m really happy with it and so were the bride and groom.
Here is the first episode of a five part series I recently shot with award-winning boxing writer Lance Pugmire for The Los Angeles Times. Canelo Alvarez is the young superstar and pride of Mexican boxing, versus Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, the unified middleweight world champion who hails from Kazakhstan.
It was an exciting fight, expected to end with a K.O. but it turned out to be a draw. Fortunately for me that was the bet I had placed at the sports book and it paid 25 to 1…
The new CNN Original Series “The Nineties” premieres Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Following in the success of the decade series “The Eighties”, I served as director of photography and camera operator for most of the interview shoots for this series.
My friend Janet Sollod likes dancing, hiking, and rock climbing. Janet has purple hair, a degree from MIT, and metastatic cancer. STAT recently published a really thoughtful and inspirational article about Janet and her cancer support group that you should read.
“No lifetime is enough to experience everything… I will see, do, taste, smell, feel everything that I can in my lifetime, however long or short that it may be. And it will be enough.” – Dr. Janet Sollod
Janet’s college roommate Dr. Pardis Sabeti recently lost her uncle Mike to cancer while she was hospitalized from an accident. Pardis wrote this song for Mike after he passed while she was still recovering in the hospital. Aside from being named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People for her work on the Ebola epidemic, Pardis is also in a band called Thousand Days. They recorded the song and reached out to me to create a video featuring Janet. Subsequently I packed my truck full of camera gear and drove North to San Francisco to film for about a week. I brought a hard drive full of footage back to Jessica Locke at Cutters Editorial and she got editor TJ Lasure to start assembling it into a music video.
Please click the play button above at any time to watch Janet dancing through the graveyard, laughing, smiling, not regretting a moment spent here in this world.
I served as second unit director of photography and camera operator for the majority of production for this CNN documentary series following the crucial events of the 1980’s decade. It’s now available streaming on Netflix if you are interested in watching.
LAB2V is an epic enduro motorcycle rally, this was my second year. I did a lot better this year on a KTM690 than last year on the big Honda XR650L. The 2 expert guys I rode with didn’t have to wait for me as much. I still managed to get completely lost for several hours on day 1 with no GPS or cel service, and low fuel. I finally got my bearings and made Barstow at dusk an hour before my friends who had to plug a flat on the trail.
We started day 2 at 5:30am in 30 degree temperatures. My Klim gear helped a lot (last year I rode it in jeans, bad idea) but within 30 minutes of leaving I could not feel any of my fingers. I melted one pair of gloves trying to warm my hands on the exhaust. We skipped some of the more boring gravel roads just outside Barstow and hauled ass down the 15 to Baker, our objective being to do the whole route via the “hard way” and there is never really enough daylight for that.
By noon it was close to 70 degrees and I was soaked in sweat and the trails were getting tough. I dropped it quite a few times but without any major consequences. I broke the tip of my shifter off which was annoying but I just threw a wad of tape on it and kept going. My small tail bag started to disintegrate (never buy Bilt brand) I taped and zip tied it. Also my license plate got caught up in my rear wheel and now looks like a sardine can lid rolled up tight.
Somewhere along the way we lost our GPS rider that had been leading us and two of us finished via roll chart and memory. The most difficult/fun section is Red Rock Canyon right before you get to Vegas, it’s not really that hard but the fatigue of getting there makes it harder and there are usually piles of bikes. Last year I had to bail out because the sun had set so I was happy to make that part. There were a couple more crashes for the video then we hit the pavement into Vegas. I finished about 4 hours earlier than I did last year so I was very proud of myself.
I put together our groups’ GoPro footage and I hope you find this edit entertaining. Likes, comments, and shares are appreciated.