We started our 2 month Western US filming trip in San Francisco with an opportunity to interview Brother David Steindl-Rast. In our sharing together we could see that Christianity in it’s essence has the same understanding and is pointing to the same Divine reality as all the other spiritual traditions. They may dress themselves in different overcoats but underneath, their Essence is the same.
After our interview we embarked on a 2 month road trip through California, Arizona and New Mexico to film beautiful landscapes that will add visual content to our film. After a couple of weeks out in the wilderness we realized we would need a lot more time to capture the beauty of these places, so we extended our trip by another month. Most people don’t realize how much effort goes into producing beautifully lit landscape images, not to mention time-lapse sequences. We too learned through our own experience that it takes a hell of a lot more effort than initially anticipated. We knew we needed physical endurance and patience but we didn’t realize how much of it was required to capture the scenes that we would be satisfied with.
First, one has to find an interesting location, then spend some days running around scouting the area to find the best compositions, you also have to learn about the light in each location, how it interacts with the landscape, what’s the best timing to get the type of light you would like to capture.
Usually when you come the first day Mother Nature graces you with the most beautiful light, most often you are not fully ready to capture it since you are on a scouting walk. You come back the next day fully prepared hoping for the same beautiful moment but She has a way of playing hide and seek, which we confirmed with all photographers we ran into. You are usually given the most beautiful preview when you are not ready, then when you are prepared She plays with you…you then realize you have to completely surrender with humility and have a lot of patience. On average it took us about 10 days to capture one landscape scene with the type of light that makes the place shine.
Not only did we have to learn to be at the Mercy of Mother Nature, humbly surrendering and waiting in patience but we also had to face some other challenging moments. Like getting our car stuck in a mine site, then few days later our car breaking down on us high up on the mountain at 3000m in the dark of night with freezing temperatures…this was surely testing us. Living out of a tent for over 6 weeks, sleeping in the wilderness with bears and coyotes, at times being the only ones for many miles…was another form of letting go of many comforts and for me facing my fear of sleeping amongst bears.
The places that we chose to capture for our film were all very special in their own way. Mono Lake, a saline desert lake that formed at least 760,000 years ago. Ancient Bristlecone forest where you’ll find the oldest trees on this planet, we got there during the Meteor showers and had a chance to really take in this celestial spectacle. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, what an awesome place…one can not describe the feeling of camping out there overnight during the Super Lunar Eclipse. All these places have a very surreal quality to them.
For free desktop wallpapers from these incredible locations. Click here
Towards the end of our trip in New Mexico, we had an interview with the beautiful Pearl Means that spoke to us about the Diné (Navajo) matrileneal world view and how it differs from the modern fragmented world view that is so dominant in the world today. We also came upon an opportunity to meet with a Diné medicine man that shared with us some wisdom from his culture, we were amazed at the similarities between the Diné tradition and all the other Tantric traditions we have been exploring in our film. Due to our studies with our teacher Bhagavan Shanmukha Anantha Natha we were able to understand the Diné tradition, that was a real pleasure.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to get the Diné people to share their ritual practices with us on film, foremost because they feel it’s sacred and it should not be filmed. However, we found there were additional reason for this lack of openness to sharing their beautiful tradition with the world but that is a whole other long conversation in itself.
Overall it has been an incredible journey that will remain with us for the rest of our lives…the shear natural beauty we’ve seen, the moments of challenge that made us grow, and the insights and confirmations that all traditional cultures share the same understanding of the Ultimate Divine Reality. I conclude this post with a beautiful Diné blessing;
“May you walk in beauty…”