Oregon for Work and Play

Oregon is one of those states in America that has too much scenery. From mountains to ocean to plains to wine country and all the activities to go with them. I wish there was a way they could share with other states (but not UT, CO, ID, or MT). Then we can all have similar amounts of cool. Sorry other gorgeous states. You already have enough awesome.Vista at Crater TRD JVWM IMG_0930 copyI’ve had the pleasure of visiting Oregon more than a few times for work and play. Years ago on my first visit for work, I was (ironically) sequestered to the inside of a factory with no windows. I knew then, as I drove from the  airport to location and back again, that I needed to return. Col Gorge TRD JVWM IMG_0750 copyOn another work trip for a photo shoot, I was gifted the task of finding locations for hikers, kayakers, scientists, and bird-watchers. I pinched me too. We started in the Columbia River Gorge (above) and “worked” within scenic overlooks, forest trails, and a few of the many waterfalls (below).Lat falls TRD JVWM IMG_0972 copyWe traveled along the Columbia River back to Portland.Portland O TRD CRP JVWM IMG_0766 copy - Version 2Portland is a must-stop or if you need to get your city vibe on. Yes, the hip factor thrives here. Do the food trucks, neighborhoods, and the truly local joints.

If not Portland, see other cities of Oregon. Certainly stop in the small towns…

…Newport is one of them. On the same photo shoot, we collaborated with a family at a lighthouse in the morning and researchers among the dunes (doing real work) in the late afternoon. We had lunch near the harbor of fishing boats and dinner with a view of the coast. Yes, my job is occasionally very cool. This gig was one of my favorites and it has since been filed under Production Nirvana.

Lighthouse top TRD JVWM IMG_0783 copyIf you decide to visit Oregon, seeing everything in one trip can be a challenge. On my most recent visit (for fun) we could have taken a week to do the coast only. From Astoria to the California border is about 380 miles – but you’ll easily add mileage along the way to see, eat, shop, and fill your camera with photos. I do know you’ll add extra time to heal your sore neck – from gawking.
Coastal inlet TRD JVWM IMG_0508 copyI could easily fill your screen with more photos and continue to gush about the Oregon scenery but there aren’t enough adjectives – and this is not a travel blog. I would simply put forth that this State is easily one of the top five in America. Vineyard OR TRD JVWM IMG_0893 copyTravel is subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all human beings have different tastes.  My travel tips for Oregon (and anywhere) are: experience the little things, meet the local people, try something new, see something not recommended by the travel bureau, and create your own scenic overlook. cropped-cropped-crater-lake-nat-park-2011-2x-pano-jamie-vesay-wm-dscf1663-copy.jpgWhether work or play, plan on visiting more than once…

 

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Bury the Railroad Track Shots

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The railroad track shot is uncool and dead. I challenge you to bury it.

It wasn’t very long after the first rail was hammered into the earth, when a photographer spotted the metaphor. Since then, tracks have been dramatized in billions of photos, artwork, commercials, and movies. Add the popularity and ease of entry into photography, over-posting to social media, and less creativity; railroad track shots have become a worn-out cliche’.

In the United States, it is ILLEGAL to shoot on them and near them. You are guilty of TRESPASSING on private property. When you snap a photo, you’re providing the evidence. Law enforcement thanks you.

Hold on. This is where those who don’t get it will react. It will be rapid revolt, denial of facts or simple apathy. I’m okay if you stop reading because I won’t change your mind anyway. To the others, please continue.

I am a professional Location Scout for commercials, movies, and commercial photography. I worked on a movie which involved a scene on the track and on a national commercial for a railroad company. On both of the projects, proper protocol was in play (permission asked and granted, safety meetings held, railroad company personnel were present while shooting, proper PPE worn, etc.). These steps are a professional, legal, and safe process.

Shooting on private property without permission is called “stealing a shot.”

Often, I am asked – “Do we need permission to shoot at location X versus shoot without asking?” I simply reply:  Would you be okay if a photo or film crew shot on your property (front lawn, backyard, dining room, or any of the land you own) or perhaps your place of business – without asking?

SAFETY.  You can get hit by a train easier then you think but most human beings are injured (almost daily) by being around tracks. They slip off the rail (which you should NEVER EVER be on) or fall against the steel or loose it off a bridge or are hurt in many other ways. Some of those people die.

Photo galleries of your local hobbyist-turned-photographer are cringeworthy! Teens, families, and babies are draped across active railroad tracks. By the way, does child protection services know about these people?

And if you are a Liker who thinks it’s ‘cute’ or ‘awesome’ – you’re an enabler.

After seeing local shooter’s websites, I reached out politely to inform them that it’s illegal and unsafe. Their reactions were negative: “I am offended you would accuse me of…”, “Oh that was when I first started” (but I’m not taking the photos down), “Who do you think you are?”, and I got at least one “F you.”

By the way, it doesn’t matter if the line is “dead” or that you’re shooting from the break in the track. The viewer of the photo doesn’t know that… It is the PERCEPTION – you are promoting it as okay.  Ironically, it’s still illegal.

If you are a model or subject or you hired a Photographer to take photos of you or your family, why would you agree to be led into a dangerous situation? I am baffled at parents that say OK to a photographer who says, “Let’s put your baby on the railroad tracks.”

Honestly, I too have taken railroad photographs. But a few years ago, when more photographers began to appear (including way too many amateurs) a change in thinking came to me. I began to feel odd, guilty, and trite when looking at the railroad shot. I began to say NO to clients that asked.

Then Sarah was killed.

Sarah Jones was a young camera assistant and an indirect colleague, ordered to follow trespassers – to “steal a shot.”  After I cried, with everybody else who cared, I grew angry at how standard procedures were not followed. I was embarrassed at the black mark the horrible tragedy placed on true professionals in the industry that get it and are safe – all the time.

If you call yourself a professional filmmaker or photographer, I challenge you to bury the railroad track shot. STOP putting people in unsafe and illegal positions. Think harder. Find an alternative location.

To those who don’t care about breaking the law or putting themselves and their subjects in harm’s way, I am pleading to you – to STOP.  If you’re a hobbyist or enjoy posting the next photo to social media – PLEASE DON’T.

Be smart. Be safe. Have fun and live.

Want more information or prefer to get involved with Railroad Safety?  Engage with Operation Lifesaver.

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See offenders?  Report them to local law enforcement or the railroad police (yes, there’s such a thing).

Are you at the early stages of your film or photo career?  Read my Open Letter to you about being safe and not being afraid to say NO.

Content COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay    ANY USE requires permission.

Collaborator first

I am a Collaborator to filmmakers, photographers, and creatives within commercial advertising campaigns and budgeted creative projects.

A first step is to invite me into the project.  What do you want to achieve…  What is your vision?

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I am a partner through creative, production, and beyond.

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I Scout I Manage I Produce.

VesaysRep@gmail.com                                                                                                            Jamie Vesay’s resume / CV 

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