When a place you never dreamed of being able to go becomes your yearly tradition.Read More
Jason Paul, Abudi Alsagoff and I traveled outside of Dubai to Umm Al Quwain, to find an abandoned plane. It was just too tempting and the rumors too good. Could this be a plane that use to carry illegal weaponry for Viktor Bout? The man aka "The Merchant of Death" and the main inspiration for the movie 'Lord of War' who is currently serving time in prison? And if not, seeing a huge abandon plane falling apart in the middle of the desert sounded pretty cool.
Originally we wanted to shoot a video with the plane but after scouting we realized it was in no condition to take the weight of the jumps and moves for a video and instead we planed for a photo shoot. We woke just before 5am to get an early start and drive to the location about an hour away. Our hopes and dreams were to get some magical shots in sunrise with this huge plane. However, once we arrive we stayed in the car till the sun rose high enough to give us light to see through the overcast weather. We didn't get any epic sunrise shots but, what we got instead was more time with less contrasting light through out the day to get what we needed.
Being inside a huge plane that is clearly falling apart (it had been stripped of all valuable items, which probably didn't help) is such an eerie feeling. These things are suppose to carry us in the sky? I was amazed that there weren't any bugs. Where I am from this place would have been crawling with spiders and insects but, here in the desert there were just birds and lots and lots of bird poop. We got a few photos inside while we waited for the weather to clear up but I felt like I needed to keep getting fresh air.
Being on top of a plane was such a cool feeling. Its like having fun somewhere you know you aren't suppose to, like when I was a kid and my father would let me watch 1980's Eddie Murphy comedies (Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America) with him as long as i didn't tell or get caught by my mother. For the athletes, the plane was challenging and at times limiting. It was slippery and dusty with untrustworthy areas. Ideas that had to be ruled out due to not being safe. Still, I feel like we were able to create some amazing images with the diversity of their skill, bravery and talent to adjust to these places.
Last week Red Bull Indonesia launched by throwing a kick off party in Jakarta. They flew in Red Bull athletes, wings girls, and me to shoot images. I was reminded how I still get nervous before shoots. The pressure felt high. I had one day to get images of people flying in from all over the world.
I was nervous about not having enough time to get what was needed. There is always a tight schedule and many things to do in a day. On top of it Jakarta is notorious for traffic that made getting to each location more time consuming. However, everyone was down to get up early and explore.
Luckily, I was working with Pasha the Boss, who I have shot with many times, and Jason Choi, a sponsored skateboarder from South Korea. Its been a while since I had shot skateboarding and I have missed it! There was never a problem of us all getting along and everyone brought their positive attitude.
Shooting in the old town Sheva and Pasha were mobbed by a group of young kids frantically wanting photos and selfies with them because they were blonde foreigners. As they posed and made their pouts and duck faces Pasha copied them and made a kissy face and sounds to go with it. The whole group erupted in laughter. Smiles and selfies are universal.
I got to meet many new friends from all around Indonesia in the parkour and freerunning community. We talked until it got dark and had to leave for dinner. This is what I love most about traveling, meeting people for the first time from a different place and finding every reason to relate.
I got to do this when I was traveling with bands. We would make new friends in every city in one night. Now its the freerunning community that introduces me to these magnetic individuals, but the connection is the same.
Thanks to the internet and social media I know our conversations will continue until our paths cross once again.
There is an odd sadness when I travel and am exposed to new cultures, foods and languages, I will never have enough time to experience them all.
There are over 700 living languages in Indonesia, and I most likely will not be get to hear them all let alone understand them. I won't be able to learn all the languages and have conversations in native tongues. I can only hope to taste as many local dishes as I can.
I am blessed to visit Jakarta for the first time and lovingly bombarded with all the other beautiful places in Indonesia I must visit with first hand accounts from people who have left their countries and moved there. I want to go there, I want to see it all. And this is why I may never call one place home.
I am so thankful to Red Bull for giving me this opportunity and bringing these amazing people together.