Last Tuesday to Thursday I was invited to Lake Tahoe by Hotels.com to watch a shoot for a new Hotels.com commercial. The commercial is designed to promote their new booking app, but the feature of the shoot itself was JT Holmes who is a professional stuntman/skydiver. He did the stunt in Transformers 3 where they jump off the Sears Tower in Chicago in squirrel suits. The premise of the video is that he jumps out of an airplane, books his hotel while he’s dropping and then lands on the beach of the hotel with his room waiting. It was interesting to see a live commercial shoot in person.
While I was there I also had a chance to go hot air ballooning over Lake Tahoe. What makes ballooning there interesting is that it is the only place in the world where you take off and land a balloon from a boat. I was very skeptical when I first heard we were going to be landing on a boat, but the whole process seemed pretty easy once it was done. I got some great photos from 4,000 ft over Lake Tahoe.
This morning I made my third appearance on the Joy Cardin show on Wisconsin Public Radio. I talked about my recent travels and answered questions for an hour from callers. I also barely made it into the studio on time. You might hear me breathing heavy at the beginning of the show. I literally had to run from the parking ramp only to find that the elevator was out and I had to climb up 7 stories to get to the booth. I arrived with about 2 minutes to spare.
I also finished uploading the last of my photos from the Yukon today. It took me 12 hours to upload them all, which says more about Time Warner Cable service than it does about Smugmug. Expect a photo essay very very soon. I’m down to only 2,700 photos to edit from my original 5,800, most of which are from Spain.
Also, I’ll be doing my monthly Q&A column soon. If you have any questions about travel, photography or anything else. Please send them to me.
What I’m Reading
I have just started reading The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island by Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo. I have been to Easter Island and I’ve read most of the accounts of they how and why of the statues, the collapse of the civilization and what happen to the inhabitants. This book looked to be a new twist on things and they appear to have some new evidence as to what happened. Easter Island was one of the first places I visited back in 2007 and I’d like to go back to photography it properly. I don’t feel like I did it justice the first time I was there.
I finished reading this book several months ago but I thought The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor deserved a mention. It is widely assumed that humans evolved and then developed technology. The book posits the question, with some pretty good evidence, that early tools may have shaped human evolution. One tool they discuss in detail, which Taylor thinks might be the first tool ever used by humans, is the baby sling. Human babies require a lot of attention and they slow you down if you are nomadic. The simple use of a sling to carry children was a huge boost to the ability of early people to migrate, run away from danger and follow food. It isn’t something you think about but it makes some sense.