janice johnson photography

Winter Wonderland

I am a huge fan of winter.  I embrace it not because of the cold but more because of the opportunities that it presents.  Opportunities to see nature, to see God’s great creation on your own canvass (through your own eyes), to experiment more with your camera gear and most important to meet people.  I have always believed that relationships were the key to any successful endeavour and to your dreams.  One of my most favourite authors of all time Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist has a quotation and says it simply,

“The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”


sitting by the fire and having a hot chocolate in -12ºC weather with folks from Chile













So I called my good friend and nature/outdoor photographer Janice Johnson to come along and shoot some outdoor photos in the middle of -12ºC weather with intermittent snow flakes on a dull but gloomy Sunday morning.  This was probably the best lighting conditions to shoot in but the most important aspect was the “Wonderland” it created from pursuing a passion.  Planted inside each of us are dormant seeds of passion eager to germinate, but like all seeds, they will only grow in the right environment.  The only path by which these seeds of passion can receive life is through our senses. Exposure to the correct elements is essential for the seed to release the passion within it.

In this case exposure to a winter environment had released my passion for storytelling and how lucky I was able to shoot and script a scene in my own backyard. As well the opportunity to sit down at the campfire with some mates sharing a hot chocolate was “more than words can say, but worth more that money can buy”

As I leave my weekly journal for today and I travel to somewhere much warmer next week I always think about this quote:  “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ~ Paulo Coelho.  Keep following your dreams people.



embracing winter and God’s great creation at Hilton Falls Canada

the adventure begins

Lights, Cameras, Action!!

How do we move towards our BIG DREAMS, those BIG Projects, those video assignments which allow us to travel to foreign destinations to shoot epic adventure stories, commericals or to simply collaborate with some of the best minds and talented people?  How do we embark on that journey of success, where out projects continue to blossom and  most importantly you get paid for what you do?

Let’s face it camera work is fun but equipment is costly and adds up not only in dollars but also in sense? It has to be worth it and getting fully paid is a reflection of what we are deserving of, it is a mark of skill and talent that has been invested in our craft.  It is a measure of your value in the marketplace, your services, your relationships and your abilities to deliver exceptional quality products.

So what gets you the results, the BIG TICKET?

lights, cameras, action

lights, cameras & action: knowing your lighting and cameras is important (in front of a green screen)












So here are my suggestions for getting there:

1) Lights

Understand how to shoot under lights and in different lighting environments.  You practice daily and understand how to shoot under various lighting conditions.

2) Cameras

You understand your camera and are proficient in modifying the settings. Everyday you shoot with your camera for 30 minutes to better understand how it performs, how the features work and most importantly how it responds under various lighting conditions.


This is the most important step, to take action. No matter how much preparation you have done, you have to take action by putting our faith into action.  You have to approach people, email them, put together a portfolio video perhaps even build a website.  Action is the main key to success.  At some point in time you have to chase after it by taking baby steps in the direction that you want.

From the infamous Chinese Proverb “A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.” Taking one step at a time creates momentum and motion in the direction of your goals.  I see success as a series of tiny steps forward.  These tiny steps are equivalent to one giant step, the difference only is that tiny  steps creates momentum to overcome inertia or pure resistance to procrastination.  A great scientist Isaac Newton theorized that, ” An object at rest wants to stay at rest and a body in motion wants to stay in motion”.

So call a few people and let’s see where your next big adventure leads you to.  Life is all about who you know and who you bump into.  Which one of your friends may know of someone who has a business, works with someone, knows of a person who can lead you to your dreams?  Most of the projects I have worked on started out by reaching out to people and making sure that I had a great story to build my portfolio so that I could continue to showcase my abilities and talents.

lights, cameras, action

taking action resulted in a client project featuring two princesses: Go Small to Go Big!












What’s your choice going to be? Take action to overcome fear or forever wonder what could of been.

“Go Small to go BIG!”  and remember don’t let anyone steal your dreams 🙂







Pursuit of Happiness

As a film-maker, documentarian and storyteller, the thrill is always in the pursuit of a great story. Once that story is finished, the thrill comes back to the pursuit of the next great story,  followed by the next and then the next.  I’m always in the pursuit of a good story, always chasing my dreams of using storytelling to impact the world, to change someone’s outlook on life.  There are lots of hidden talents within people and somebody’s story can influence another positively.  What is most important to me is to make a positive difference in the world.

A great story is crafted from an idea and an idea is all it takes to generate a concept. So how do the ideas flow? Well I know what interests me and what I gravitate towards.  This always gives me a head start to get the creative juices to flow.  For example I love positive energy, adventure, people’s personal stories, people who dare to dream and who dare to turn those dreams into a reality.

From these initial beliefs I am able to generate a framework to start my storyboard.  At this point my mind becomes very active recognizing the endless possibilities of crafting the story or skinning the cat.  This is where I do my best work under pressure and able to deliver.  This is where the 7th and 8th senses awake and come alive, able to do my best work and the genius inside works his magic.

From here I can create any storyboard visually and I am able to visualize the flow, the people in the interviews and the sequences of events long before it has hit the post production table.  So what’s the secret? The answer is simply living in the present moment, embracing the gift of now, seeing life unfold in the very second that you breathe in and out.  Realizing that the first day of the rest of your life starts now, in the breath that you breathe in and out as opposed to focusing and (worst off dwelling on) what has happened or what could of been.

This has definitely come from forming new daily habits of training my mind to focus only on the positives of life and dream about the unlimited possibilities to relentlessly release the positive energy required to overcome setbacks.  Another way of looking at it is to harness your energy for the possibilities of dreams.  But obsessing over setbacks, past memories only retards your abilities to focus and depletes your available energy to allow the precious moments of the present to pass you by.

Take for example this 12 minute documentary I finished in January 2015 called the “SMALL GOAL”.  I had my camera and a good sports photographer friend of mine Allan V. Crane invited me to roll with him to a sports event.  I did not know what to expect but by being in the present moment I saw the opportunity to capture a great story and make it come alive on video.  I wanted to give the underprivileged a voice and what started off as a 3 day shoot resulted in a return visit to Trinidad with a contract to produce the short story.

The is the pursuit of happiness.