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Rare Air Episode 5: Bradley Lake Trail

An original November 2014 desktop calendar appears below.

Thank you for following along here friends. I appreciate any interest in my projects, and this footage representing Grand Teton National Park’s Bradley Lake Trail is very special to me, even though it doesn’t represent my best work. This is one of the first times I set a camera down for a minute to take-in nature, where I had a vague idea of how I’d use the footage to help bring you along. The cameras I had available the day I recorded this (7 July 2012) were a Sony DSC-W290 compact and a Droid Razr. Below, I’m sharing more of my snaps from that spectacular day. The Rare Air footage was taken on our hike up the mountainside, not too far past the crossing of a welcome creek, where Riley and I had cooled off, and I had paused John Muir-style to admire the world’s upness. We achieved an especially lovely spot, and I parked myself with the Sony while Beth, Amelia and Riley took a rest.

Right then, it struck me that I had started something new… and that day, there were a couple more times when I repeated the one-minute documentary session. Unfortunately, at that time, I had not yet learned the very important lesson about disabling a camera’s auto-focus settings. So, even though I had started getting into the habit of methodically capturing good footage, much of what I shot that day and for months afterward isn’t really usable, because of camera auto-focusing. Read more

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Angela Sun: Thanks for the Documentary

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Angela Sun is widely known in the worlds of sports and media. Among the very first Asian-American female hosts to appear on the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports, Tennis Channel and Yahoo! Sports, Angela was the sideline host for Season 4 of “American Ninja Warrior.” Among many exciting career assignments, she has hosted “Yahoo! Sports Minute,” the number one online sports show watched daily by millions, and the LIVE pre-game show for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Angela also directed and executive produced the independent feature documentary film, “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in 2013, chronicling her personal journey of discovery to one of the most remote places on Earth, Midway Atoll. With the goal of revealing the truth about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Read more

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Rare Air Episode 3: Kalaloch Beach

Captured June 16, 2014.

Time in nature = sacred saturation. Free August 2014 desktop calendar below. Read more

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Rare Air Episode 2: Quinault Rain Forest

Captured June 15, 2014.

Time in nature = sacred saturation. Read more

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Rare Air Episode 1: Shoshone National Forest

When I was very young, I had a lot of fun playing – often with my brother or cousins – in a small, trickling creek that ran behind my grandparents’ home in rural Illinois. I have gotten sentimental about this particular spot in the past with my mom and my bro, and they both were quick to correct my reference by saying, “you’re talking about the ditch!

I prefer creek, thank you very much. There, we caught minnows and crawdads, and began and ended many adventures into the forest above their homestead. Many years later, I returned to Grandma’s one late night, and on a whim, I ventured out to the creek with a cassette recorder, to capture the sound of the water’s flow in that setting. I sat there and recorded for maybe a minute, and afterward, listening to those sounds while sitting in other places as my life moved on, I was really surprised at how I felt drawn into that special time and place, and how that added some interesting new facet to my life that day.

That’s the tale behind an idea I have come up with for a series of video shorts Read more

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Randy Baker: On Location

Along with my mentor and dear friend Randy Baker (above left, and that’s me on the right), I am very proud to announce the release of our book, “Randy Baker: On Location” by yours truly. It’s available now in Softcover, Hardcover and Digital editions with no markup: http://blur.by/1crueUG Thank you very much for taking a look and for any support and feedback.

This book is a collaboration between television producer/director/videographer Randy Baker and publisher, press agent, writer and producer Roger Darnell. When you search the Internet Movie Database for Randy, you will find him listed as a director of photography, cinematographer, technical manager or camera operator for an amazing list of television shows that continues to grow year after year. The exclusive photographs in “Randy Baker: On Location” reflect his passions as a dedicated professional and a gifted imagemaker with a vibrant perspective, a humongous heart, and a great eye. All support is greatly appreciated; we hope you love the book and look forward to hearing your feedback.

If you have any questions on orders, please call me at 1.828.264.8898. Thank you very much for your interest!

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Nov. 21, 1998: Character

In November of 1998, Beth and I were living in our Barrington Way townhome in Glendale, California, which hosted us and our cats nicely enough through a very exciting and challenging time. Going back to Arc of the Poet, that was our critical California move in the so-called “Fame and Fortune” era. While I was extremely thankful at that time to have landed on the staff of Crest National in Hollywood, my film industry dreams were still very personal, and I pressed on to the best of my abilities on every front. Externally, I continued to “swing for the fence” by submitting my best writing up to that point to places like the Guggenheim Foundation, to competitions, literary agents and contacts I thought might take an interest in the projects or the talent behind them. Internally, even at that time which is now almost 15 years in the past, I had identified a “next level” goal: writing a novel. Maybe if I had won that 1999-2000 Guggenheim Fellowship I applied for in late 1998, I would have made more progress.

Today, that objective remains very high on my list, and my nine-year-old son Riley is just one of the writers in my life who is showing me how it’s done. Through his fourth grade class, he is participating in National Novel Writing Month. He took off at the beginning of November and has been piling on the words.

Another real inspiration for me is my father-in-law Bill Martin. His sixth book has just gone off to the publisher – so the first paperback edition of “Rio Pecos Compound” is just a few weeks away. The adventures continue on the “Tales of Mason” website: http://williamfmartin.com

With all of my writing experience, when I look at long-form fiction writing, my vision splinters into a great number of facets. I feel the responsibilities as designer, architect, resident artist, builder and storyteller, for starters. And as these pieces are organized, then comes the time to put them into action. In the past, I have been able to move characters forward within some pretty interesting narratives; solid choice of subject matter is imperative. That is where I have found myself many times over the years, ready and willing but needing to write the right thing.

I have a guess that when the alignment occurs, it becomes sort of sublime. Below is a poem I wrote on 11/21/98. Amid all the outward amplification of myself happening at that time, inside I knew I had to write engagingly and thoughtfully. So many words can go into something – each must hook, tantalize, convey and deliver along the way toward somewhere worth going, for some reason. I usually wonder this: What’s the reason?

Character
by Roger Darnell Read more

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Fifty words

My family members and many close friends are participating in a special project where words are essential. An early version appears here with more updates coming soon. This one is written by Lila Ridings-Darnell, Heather Turner, Bud Ridings, Tiffany Eakle, Cheri Wynn and yours truly and designed using http://wordle.net.

And here is the final version, featuring additional input from Bob Bingham, Connie Bingham, Riley Darnell, Bernice Lurkins, Jim Darnell, Peggy Darnell, Mike LaHood, Joel Ridings, Nell Thacker, Ann Kiefert, Kristianna Bursa Myus, Sherry Ridings, Laura Darnell, Speed Jenner, Victoria Lynn Soden, Molly Gaffner-Jones, Richie Ridings, Linda Ridings, Bart Ridings, Mike Stoecklin, Liesl McVey Gaffner, Jane Davidson Zappia, Denise VanTassel Smith, Dianna Darnell Rist, Marti Reeser, Sara Jacobs Contevita, Beth Darnell, Judy Davis, Sandy Holzhauer, Michelle Munich, Terri McClung, Jane Hilliard, Cristy Willman, Barb Davis Ridings, Rachel Ridings, Jerry Gaffner, Daniel Ridings, Janice McFarland, Kalonie Farley Caulk, Martha Smith, Melissa Schumacher, Teri (Cruthis) Boehm, John Darnell, Marshall Mollet, Carla Mollet, Susan Darnell, Amelia Darnell, Claire Bowling, Dorothy Ridings, Dan Clotfelter and Nancy Clotfelter.

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April 21, 2013

Friends, the public comment period on the Keystone XL Pipeline ends tomorrow on Monday, April 22. Will you please seize this moment to tell President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to reject Keystone XL (even if you have done so already) by visiting this link and completing the form?

I am extremely grateful to those of you who have given your attention to all efforts aimed at opposing the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Obviously, this is a contentious issue, and since there is BIG money at stake, the truths about environmental impacts are being buried. One of the brazen arguments we have heard time and time again is how safe pipelines are, but did you know that on March 29, 2013, ExxonMobil experienced a pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, that spewed 85,000 gallons of tar sands crude into the community? Don’t be surprised if you don’t know about it – they have millions of dollars to spend to cover their backs, and they even have the ability to establish a no-fly zone over their environmental catastrophes. Thankfully, in this era, they can’t stop the ugly truth from leaking out, as you can see above. With all this in mind, I felt that the time was right once again to bring this issue to your attention.

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August 19, 2012: Hemingway

Roger D. with Alice Wright in 1984Looking back, I can see that – like so many others – as a young student, my education was greatly affected by certain teachers and faculty-members who went out of their way to ensure I learned something valuable during my days at school. When it comes to English classes, as I made my way through four different high schools in three different states, the lessons I received ranged from advanced and accelerated to “never mind!” Luckily, when registering for classes for my senior year of high school, the phenomenal Oak Ridge guidance counselor Carolyn Smith sounded-out my interests and aptitude, and got me signed-up for an AP English class with a lady who elevated my education to levels I never imagined: Mrs. Alice Wright.

Together with Jay Lerew and Ana Fernandez (yes, there were only three of us in that class), I began each day of the 1983-1984 academic year sitting in the front row of seats in Mrs. Wright’s classroom… and I learned a lot. We were tasked with reading a different classic novel (of our own choosing) every two weeks, and we also navigated through “The Norton Introduction to Literature,” learning a great deal more about ourselves and our interests with each passing day. Read more

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