california

Where There Once Was Water ... there is Fire

My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by the fires raging - locally in Big Sur and at Lake Nacimiento, and throughout all of California. Be safe out there, my friends, and hug a Firefighter - they are truly heroes. 

July & August have been tremendously full, and I am thrilled to take some time today to share all our recent adventures with you. Thank you for your continued support for this project. Much love!

In early July a crew of us headed out to the San Joaquin River Gorge to visit the Lodge family and to learn first-hand about the beauty of the region, and the dangers of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam. I encourage you to learn more about this issue HERE - And to join us in asking Sally Jewell to oppose the Temperance Flat dam HERE.

I spent an evening on the shores of Huntington Lake, in the heart of the Sierras affected by bug kill, meditating and sitting with the trees... in the silence, listening... observing... feeling. Our forest... is dying. And for the first time, I sat and I cried with her. Maybe from exhaustion, perhaps sympathy, or even a passing wave of that oppressive feeling of helplessness... I don't know. But when you sit there, looking eye to eye with a dying forest - the lungs of our planet - for me at least, it was hard not to cry....

On a lighter note, my dear friend Mike Mariant and I flew the drone over Tablas Creek Vineyard, a local biodynamic winery in Paso Robles Wine Country, in preparation for filming a couple days of early morning harvest activity in the coming weeks. If you are on the lookout for delicious wine that is grown biodynamically, Tablas Creek is your place.

I traveled up to the South Fork of the American River to do some white water rafting with Friends of the River. Now let me just begin by saying that this crazy business was never on my to-do list, haha!, but alas, I went rafting on Class 2 & 3 rapids, and I managed to stay non-projectile and perma-grinning, the entire day.  Friends of the River is a state-wide river conservation group fighting to protect our rivers, and I definitely got to experience (and film!) some good fun "River Luv". You can join me next year!  Because, yeah, I'm hooked.

As always, thank you for your love and support! If you are interested in participating in this project, or if you know of anyone who might be a good contact, resource, or interview, please be in touch. Namaste.

Coming up...
The Heirloom Seed Expo : Santa Rosa, CA, September 6-8, 2016
SAWPA Riverwalk : Santa Ana River, CA, October 6, 2016

If you haven't yet, please sign up for our newsletter HERE - we send out updates about once a month, and if you're on the list, you'll never miss a thing!  :)

Regenerative Bliss & Head Bonks

This past Saturday I took a rather significant bonk to the head while photographing my husband's mountain bike race. Mountain bike vs. Spectator, if you're hungry for a visual. I mention this mishap because I am feeling quite lucky today. Lucky to be alive, lucky to have a thick skull, lucky to have a bad-ass gang of angels following me around, and lucky to be able to continue to work on this film, albeit at a slightly tamer pace for the next few weeks. I am a firm believer that life doesn't throw anything our way that we cannot handle, so onward and upward I go, gently....

This month I spent time in the northern reaches of California. I traveled up to Mendocino County as spent a day at Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley. Frey Vineyards is a certified organic & biodynamic winery, and not only are they doing all kinds of good for the earth, they are making some delicious wine too.

I took a walk on Shasta Dam. The US Bureau of Reclamation wants to raise the dam by 18 feet, which would flood the Winnemem Wintu tribe off their remaining lands, cost taxpayers a fortune, and provide only a small amount of very expensive water to an elite few. Please read the fine print whenever you are given the opportunity to vote on what may, on the surface, seem like a "water fix", as the reality is often quite different.

I continued north to the tiny little town of Fort Bidwell, sitting in the tippy top eastern corner of the state, a part of California I had yet to explore, and WOW, I think my brain exploded (but this time in the best way possible). I spent two days with Abbey & Spencer Smith at the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management, a hub for the Savory Institute.

These beautiful souls are practicing Regenerative Agriculture and Holistic Land Management - mimicking the behavior of ancient grazing herds in order to heal and regenerate the soil. The incredible importance of healthy soil it is relatively new to me, my friends, and you would be amazed, as am I, at it's potential... not only in regards to healing the water cycle, but also in regards to reversing our climate crisis. This is a BIG deal.

And finally, a word about our trees... the lungs of our planet. After spending a couple of days in the Southern Sierras for hubby's mountain bike race I realized the gravity of the situation. Our Mother Earth has lung cancer, and we must do everything in our power to HEAL this planet, not destroy. With 113 degree days in June here on the Central Coast, and fires already raging all across the state, it's beginning to feel like we may already be too late. But I refuse to despair. We can do this, together, from the ground up, with love and care and community. Much love, my friends. Namaste.

Personal Responsibility

Flooded rice fields are a common sight in the Sacramento Valley. The average pound of rice requires 449 gallons (1,700 liters) of water to produce.

Flooded rice fields are a common sight in the Sacramento Valley. The average pound of rice requires 449 gallons (1,700 liters) of water to produce.

It's heating up out there!

June is here. Yowza! El "None-yo" is in our past, it's HOT, record hot in some places, and Lake Mead is at an all time low. This is heavy stuff, my friends.

As I continue on this wild adventure, I am learning that the consequences of our personal choices are not as abstract & removed as they may seem. Our personal choices & habits are, in fact, at the root of our planet's struggle. I am learning that I must do everything in my power to minimize my footprint on this Earth. To use LESS. Less water. Less stuff. Less everything. We all must. And the good news is ... YES, it absolutely makes a difference.

In early May I had the opportunity to meet (and film!) one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, Josh Fox, as he visited SLO on his "How to Let Go & Love" tour. AMAZING. I traveled to Sacramento to participate in California Rivers Day at the State Capitol with Friends of the River, California's only statewide river conservation organization. I also spent a couple inspiring days at the Yisrael Family Farm, a 1/2 acre urban farm in Oak Park, whose mission is pure... to "Transform the Hood for GOOD." 

And I flew. Yew! Thanks to a long-time friend, and his shiny new pilot's license, I had the opportunity for a bird's eye view.... of thousands of nut trees in tidy little rows, sprawling urban developments, the intricate and delicate Delta, and freshly flooded rice fields stretching for miles.

Steven and I traveled to Yosemite Valley for a few days to celebrate two super fun years of marriage, and it was refreshing to hike amidst the roar of the waterfalls and to feel their cool mist on our faces. Mother Nature is wondrous indeed.

This film, this project, is already the biggest and most rewarding of my career.... and I still feel like I'm only just beginning. AMAZING. You may have caught my mug smiling at you from the cover of the Paso Robles Magazine recently, or perhaps from the Art pages of the New Times. Whee! I am honored and thrilled to be making headlines along the way. Thank you all for your continued support & care. Y'all are truly the BEST!  xo

 

May the 4th be with You

Happy May, my friends! I cannot believe how quickly 2016 is flying by. Wowzers. I have much excitement & many updates to share with you today ... yay!

First & foremost I would like to welcome to the WTOWW Family, Fialta, a huge-hearted & ridiculously talented local band. Check out their music here.

I have been a busy little bee lately... buzzing around the state of California, talking with a variety of folks about our state's water issues, and focusing, of course, on SOLUTIONS.

I talked with Creston-based Agriculturalist Hilary Graves about the sensitive nature of decisions made regarding the Paso Robles Ground Water Basin. I interviewed author Seth M. Siegel about his book "Let There Be Water : Israel's Solution for a Water Starved World". And then I hit the road north... spent a day hiking around Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz, and then headed up to the big city to present photographs from my project at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. What a rush that was!

I came home in time to participate in the Earth Day Fair & Music Festival in SLO, then traveled south to spend a morning with Ron Wildermuth at the West Basin Municipal Water District talking about the importance of recycled water in our future water portfolio. I toured one of the San Gabriel Basin clean-up facilities, operating amidst the largest and most polluted groundwater "Superfund" site in California, with Ken Manning, Executive Director of the San Gabriel Basin WQA. And I spent an afternoon in Yucaipa talking with Steve Loe, the retired Forest Service Ranger responsible for starting the public outcry against Nestle's bottling operations in the San Bernadino National Forest.

I remain incredibly grateful for all the support & care as I continue on this journey. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Y'all are truly the BEST! xo

new family & updates

WTOWW_Proxima_Parada_web.jpg

 

Happy Saturday, my loves! Kickstarter officially delivered our funds (HUGE thanks to all our backers!), and I have hit the ground running. I'm SO excited to share with you that we have new members to welcome to the WTOWW Family... Proxima Parada! These guys are an incredibly talented and immensely fun-loving local band, and you will be hearing their music in the film in a big way. Check out some of their rad tunes!

I recently spent a week filming in Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to interview Bruce Reznik, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Water Keepers; Ron Finley, the one-and-only "Gangster Gardener"; George McGraw, Founder of DigDeep; Lonnie & Mary, passionate Bee Farmers in Corona; and Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Author of "Comfortably Unaware". I also toured the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility at West Basin Municipal Water District, and talked with the folks there about the importance of recycled water in our current and future water landscape.

I had the opportunity this week to interview Seth M. Siegel, author of "Let There Be Water". He gave a presentation at Cal Poly about what Israel has done to create a secure water future, and generously sent all guests home with a copy of his book. It's a must-read, in my opinion.

I have been invited to present images from my project at Open Show in San Francisco on April 15th as part of the San Francisco Green Film Festival, and I am thrilled for this opportunity. If you live in the Bay Area, please come - I would LOVE to see you!

For you SLO-County folks, my project is currently featured in Information Press, Paso Robles Magazine and SLO Life Magazine. And I will be a featured artist at the Earth Day Fair & Music Festival on April 24th at El Chorro Park. Mark your calendars and come out to play!

Thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me on this journey, and for making all of this possible. You are the best!

We did it!

Yaaaaaaay!  WE DID IT !

In the final hours of yesterday's leap day, due to the love and support of over 344 awesome backers on Kickstarter, and countless cheerleaders, we have reached our funding goal. 100% funded! Can you believe it? Over $25,300 raised, with 5 days still left in the campaign. THANK YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Honestly, you really are the best, and this film will now become a reality, thanks to YOU.

So many exciting updates to come, but for now please know this.... I am overflowing with gratitude, and feel exponentially fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible people.

Please continue sharing the project over the next few days if your heart calls you to do so. The more money we raise, the better the film will be in the end, and the larger the audience it will reach. I appreciate all the love & support, to the moon & beyond... Cheers, loves!

 


Website launch!

 

Happy Almost New Year!


I hope your holidays have been happy and bright, and that you find excitement and wonder in all the possibilities of a brand new year on the horizon.

Today is a big day. Today I excitedly admit to the world, and to myself, that I have absolutely 100% found my passion. I finally know who and what it is that I want to be when I grow up. Wheee! And you may have guessed it... I want to be a documentary filmmaker. Today I am one step closer. Today I launch the official website for the first documentary film of my career. And I am thrilled to share this creation with YOU. Thank you for being here, and for being a part of this crazy journey.

 

 

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” 
- Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
 
One of twelve Nestle well sites in the San Bernadino National Forest. Nestle has been operating these wells, pumping out upwards of 68,000 gallons of water a day, on special-use permits that expired in the 1980's.

One of twelve Nestle well sites in the San Bernadino National Forest. Nestle has been operating these wells, pumping out upwards of 68,000 gallons of water a day, on special-use permits that expired in the 1980's.

WTOWW : News & Updates


I had the opportunity early on in the month to hike up into the San Bernadino County Forest with members from The Story of Stuff community. We visited a Nestle well site (one of twelve) that has been pumping water out of the mountains, upwards of 68,000 gallons a day, (and then selling it back to us in plastic bottles) on a special-use permit that expired in the 1980s.  The Story of Stuff, along with two other non-profits, are currently suing the Forest Service for not enforcing the renewal of this permit. To read more about their work on this issue, and why the Privatization of water is such a frightening concept, visit their website : storyofstuff.org

I toured the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant in Playa Del Rey, CA.  This plant is operated by the City of Los Angeles, and is responsible for processing 340 million gallons of wastewater every day.  The plant is the city's largest and oldest treatment facility. Free tours can be arranged by appointment.

I read Dr. Richard Oppenlander's important and enlightening book, "Comfortably Unaware". In this book, Dr. Oppenlander outlines the relationship between our food choices and the sustainability of our planet.  He suggests that the only way to truly live sustainably on this earth is to shift to a plant-based diet, on a world-wide level, and soon. I have found myself fully inspired by this book (I recommend you read it), his life's work, and his fearless approach to a sensitive subject. I am thrilled for the opportunity to interview Dr. Oppenlander in March, and excited for all I will learn as I experiment with a smaller personal water footprint through the implementation of a plant-based lifestyle in the new year.

 
A view from atop the tanks at the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant in Playa Del Rey, CA.  This plant is the largest (and the oldest) in the City of Los Angeles.

A view from atop the tanks at the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant in Playa Del Rey, CA.  This plant is the largest (and the oldest) in the City of Los Angeles.

Thank you!


As always, thank you for your love and support! If you are interested in participating in this project, or if you know of anyone who might be a good contact, resource, or interview, please be in touch. Namaste.

Welcome!

GREETINGS & THANK YOU

I hope the Holidays find you well and in good spirits.
I have some truly exciting news to share, and I thank you for visiting my website. As many of you know, I continue to love my work as a Professional Photographer on the Central Coast of California. The BIG news is that I have recently added a second love, and my heart is exploding!. I have started production on my first documentary film, titled "Where There Once Was Water : A California Story". My heart beats wild for this project, and I hope to share the journey with you as I change and grow as an artist.

Where There Once Was Water is a feature length documentary film about California's historic drought, featuring stories of those living and studying it, and exploring ideas and solutions for our collective future. Coming soon!

So, where do you fit in?  Firstly - If you'd like to be a part of the "Where There Once Was Water" Film Tribe, please sign up for my newsletter on the home page of the website. This newsletter will be your source for the occasional important update about my film, along with possible invitations to participate, and some newsy bits, fun content, and special deals from the App's Photography side of life too. I am thrilled to be on this new journey, and honored to share the ride with YOU! 

WTOWW : NEWS & UPDATES

Most recently, my work on this film has taken me up Hwy 395 to the snow-capped Eastern Sierras, the barren emptiness of Owens Valley, and the tufas of Mono Lake. Up I-5 to Folsom Lake to explore the town of Mormon Island as it re-emerges from the lake bed, then on to the sparkling high mountain beauty of Lake Tahoe, the bathtub rings at Lake Oroville, and south to the charred remains of the Shirley Fire in the mountains above Kernville and Lake Isabella.

I traveled to Carson City to interview Dan Beard, former Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation, and author of "Deadbeat Dams". Every single taxpayer owes it to themselves to read his book. Seriously. Do it. You'll be glad you did, and probably a little pissed off too.

I traveled to the Bay Area and interviewed Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director for The Story Of Stuff Project, about their recent law suit involving the US Forest Service and Nestle, for operating bottling facilities in the San Bernadino Forest on a special-use permit that expired in the 1980s. Last weekend I joined the Story of Stuff community on a hike in the San Bernadino National Forest to visit one of these illegal Nestle well sites. Nestle's behavior is unacceptable, and this is brought into sharp focus because of the drought.

Water is a necessity to life, and the opportunities for us to rethink our relationships with water are many. I look forward to sharing information, ideas and stories with you as they emerge and develop.

THANK YOU!

As always, thank you for your love and support! If you are interested in participating in this project, or if you know of anyone who might be a good contact, resource, or interview, please be in touch. Namaste.