Monday, November 26, 2012

Everglades Keynote - Miami Beach

Skimmers at Sunset - Everglades National Park - ©Mac Stone
If you're in the South Florida area on Wednesday November 28th, join me and Audubon in Miami Beach for a wonderful evening of food, wine, and photography, which is always a winning combination. I'll be giving a keynote on Everglades conservation and the work Audubon has been doing to protect one of our national treasures.

For more information and to reserve your spot, follow the link: Mac Stone Everglades Keynote Invite

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Savage Race - Little Everglades Ranch

Well, the boys at Savage Race have done it again. Each event has eclipsed the last and on October 20th at Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City, Florida, they proved to 4,000 adrenaline junkies that they're the official peddlers of pain in the mud race community. In a span of only six miles they built 25 brutal obstacles including the three-story "Colossus," a twisted half pipe which leads to a swallow-your-stomach water slide and the innovative "Evil Bars," which is the silverback gorilla to other races' playground jungle gyms.

Starting line stampede - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Again this year, I was assigned to shoot the race and was stoked to know the participants would be slogging through a mini version of my favorite stomping grounds, the Everglades. As always, it was a tough shoot accounting for a large area, harsh light, and of course, high intensity mud-slinging. All throughout the day I was climbing atop obstacles, chest-deep in water, or waist deep in mud. By the end I felt like I had run the race several times over.

Walkers on the "Nutt Smasher" - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
My approach to shooting these events is to make sure I get right in the middle of the action, or sometimes right below it. I've found that if I'm not physically engaged with course, then my photos will feel detached too. This philosophy can be dangerous for equipment, but much like wildlife photography, the safest option usually produces "safe" images and the Savage Race crew wanted edgy. So I tried to give them edgy.

Diving over the fire pit - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Here's a handful of some of my favorites from the day as well as a few shots just to show you some of the obstacles. If you're into mud races and a day of fun with your friends, then you need to go and register for one of their upcoming events. Savage Race is creating the new standard for obstacle racing.

Starting line - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Hay Stacks - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Championing the Hay Stacks - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Captain America helping a friend up "Colossus" - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Nutt Smasher - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Not quite up the Colossus - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Grinding the Evil Bars - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Colossus half pipe - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Tazed N Blazed - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Gettin Tazed N Blazed - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Priceless face before getting shocked - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Fire jump - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Evil Bars - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Shriveled Richard - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Colossus - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Scaling the 96'' Stiffie - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Nuff said - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Greg Stone hangin on the Evil Bars - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Davy Jones' Locker - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Backflip off Davy Jones' Locker - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

Savage Race founder Sam Abbitt trying his Wicked Bars - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone
Air Force team looking for their keys - Photo ©Savage Race/Mac Stone

And my favorite photo of the race: the Air Force team breaking into their own car to get their keys out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Presidential overthrow march - Lucio Gutierrez - Quito, Ecuador - 2005 - Photo © Mac Stone
Seven years ago in Ecuador I watched as Quito fell apart during a violent presidential overthrow. Molotov cocktails rained from the sky and buses burned in the street. It was a terribly sad time. Friends of mine were rushed to the hospital 
after getting hit by tear gas bombs and the citizens of Quito lost all faith that democracy was on their side. 

On election day, I always think back to this experience and how grateful I feel for America's order, conduct, and civility towards the sacred right of voting. For everyone caught up in the seemingly endless upheaval and turmoil of divisive politics, remember that we're all Americans and entitled to our own view of how our country should be run. Diversity on all levels is what makes this country great. Embrace the process and your friends or family who might share opposing views because no matter the outcome we'll wake up tomorrow and still need to share the streets, restaurants, and this beautiful country together. 

Margie Boyd - A Bar A Ranch - Wyoming - Photo © Mac Stone

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Scary Things...

Cottonmouth - Big Cypress National Preserve - Photo © Mac Stone
We all have things, or maybe ideas rather, that crawl under our skin and cause our heart to beat a little faster. I have a few friends who are absolutely terrified of snakes. In fact, just looking at this photo above makes them extremely uncomfortable. One friend told me "Mac, I mean this in the nicest way, but I hate this (photo)." I've never had this sort of visceral fear of anything tangible, that I can think of. I love snakes, insects, alligators, and all that creepy crawly and squishy stuff. I'm more afraid of situations or of the idea that I'm not in control. Maybe some of you have this too, but I've always been afraid when standing atop tall buildings or bridges that my alter ego is going to rise up and make me jump. This is the same dark side that starts to itch when police walk by and a part of me feels the urge to grab their gun and say, "ha ha, just kidding." Does this happen to anyone else? Weird.

Well, if you're one of the people terrified of images of snakes and alligators and other denizens of the swamp, then this next part isn't for you. For the next two months I'll have 12 large format canvas prints on exhibit at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida. Running from November 5th until the end of December I'll be displaying and selling these prints which highlight the Everglades watershed and its many landscapes and fauna. Go check it out if you have the chance, because I will be unveiling a few images which I've never displayed to the public. If you're wanting to jump on the Christmas shopping early, head to the swamp because the canvas prints at 2 ft x 3ft are on sale with part of the proceeds going to Audubon's beautiful Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. What does a 2ft x 3ft gallery wrapped canvas look like? Well, I'm glad you asked...