June (Solstice) Post - Spring into Summer!

Happy solstice!

This month I’ve decided to post publicly my monthly newsletter written previously only for my supporters on patreon. Patreon is a platform that gets content creators like yours truly paid with a subscription model. Since launching it last year, it has been transformative in my ability to be more bold, more consistent (something I’m still actively working on), and connect deeper with a number of my closest supporters while having a small but vital financial safety net in months I don’t take on much (if any) paid work.

I have been feeling that what I write could be of value to more people who are connected to me on social media and browse my site. If you’re curious what this patreon thing is, I invite you to spend a few minutes watching the video and reading https://patreon.com/subtledream. In becoming a supporter (patron), you get exclusive content AND discounts off prints that you can purchase on my site!

Here's what I've got for you all on this (late) newsletter: 

  • Vipassana

  • June donation

  • Featured work

  • What the coming months hold

  • Garbage pickup

  • Inspirational videos

  • Favorite podcasts

Vipassana 

Hi everyone. I'm back. Back in society for 20 days already actually. 

As many of you know, I went into a 10-day vipassana silent meditation from the end of May to early June. It was my first time. It entailed dozens upon dozens of hours sitting perfectly still, calm and perfectly quiet, feeling the bodily sensations, realizing oneself, shedding old cravings and aversions, and reprogramming the mind to think and operate more harmoniously internally and externally. Feeling. All the feels. Full spectrum. 
Some really pleasant, wonderful experiences and realizations came up, and plenty of unresolved issues and trauma from the past did, too. I sat with them, day in and day out, objectively, and trying not to judge myself nor the sensations. I came to a better understanding of myself in a way I had never felt before. The micro and macro experiences are profound, to say the very least. 

I'm hugely grateful for the time, the place, the rigid structure to form discipline (something I desperately lack in some departments), and for all the love and support I've gotten from friends coming into this session to re-emerge with a solid mental foundation in which to build my new life chapter onto. After the 10 days, I found myself quieter, slower, more appreciative of the gifts already present in my life, and being able to focus on one task (or person) better. Countless micro adjustments that have made a rather large and positive shift. One of my friends remarked in response to a voice message I had left her that I am now talking at a slower pace, less rushed, and more mindful with the words that I use. I chuckled, and wholeheartedly agree. 

Renewed, and ready to face life to make it meaningful, and beautiful. 

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(Re)donation 

At the end of my 10-day meditation at the vipassana center, all of the participants are given the opportunity to give a dāna (Pali and Sanskrit word for the virtue of generosity/charity or any form of giving). I thought that a good way to contribute for this transformative experience would be to subtract my fixed costs (mentioned in previous newsletters) from the net amount received for June. The math came out to $110.05 USD, rounding up to $111. I specifically made it out to the "pagoda fund" at the Northwest Vipassana Center. They are currently building a new structure with 41 meditation cells with a second hall underneath a beautifully-designed pagoda. I feel great about redirecting your financial support to me towards the center, as the vipassana sitting provided shelter, nourishment, care, and most importantly - tools and techniques that have since provided me mental clarity, the ability to reconcile the past, live presently, as well as to sustain my happiness to keep creating a life of meaning and purpose. Truly it has been an invaluable gift. 

In the future, my intention to continue the dāna is to be a server for a 5 or 10-day session - that is, I would be cooking, cleaning, and doing background work and preparations in holding that space for new as well as returning students as I now am. I feel that it would be a great way to give back further while be able to refresh the meditation practice and be reminded of a number of the philosophies. As with any other month, thank you, thank you, especially for those of you who contribute on my patreon. It means a whole lot to me, and know that each dollar goes to positively affect others who bring value to my life. 

Featured work 

Back when I was living and working in New Zealand, one of my favorite collaborations and projects was with Food Resilience Network/Edible Canterbury, who's mission is to create a regenerative food future for all, and together with their Community Manager Michael Reynolds, who is also a dear friend sharing many similar values and motivations of permaculture, community, and collaboration, we made this organizational video happen - in part thanks to your support in the very first couple months of my patreon launching. Their newly-done site features photos that I took between 2017 and 2018, and check it out here: https://ediblecanterbury.org.nz/

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What the coming months hold 

In a nutshell: 

  • Conscious Impact annual retreat

  • Conscious Impact video work

  • Road trip back to the PNW

  • Weddings

  • New Patreon video, and other new content

  • Search of a new home and community (or at least plant the seeds)

At the time of my finishing this post in the passenger seat of my little car overlooking the ocean in the Presidio in San Francisco, the odometer reads 3182 miles (5120 km) since I departed Los Angeles 6 weeks back on May 8th. Last weekend was my high school friend's wedding at a beautiful setting in the coastal hills. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the special day on film (vs. stills) while seeing several high school connections, some I haven't seen since we graduated. I've got 2 more weddings booked for later this year - Sep 1 and Oct 5 - and they will both be in the Seattle region. The focus now is shifted to organizing and begin editing for the wedding that just and also for the school I filmed for in Seattle a couple weeks ago. It's a busy time on the road, but I am incredibly happy to be able to take this creative work with me while on the road and be able to explore old and new spots and see some dear friends. I've packed in my car a work desk, a large monitor for editing, and as a number of you already know too a solar panel and electric generator to charge and power all of my devices with renewable energy. Woohoo! 

So, tomorrow afternoon is the start of our Conscious Impact annual retreat. 6 of us will converge just north of the Bay Area, while a few will call in from various locations to tune in and provide their input throughout our multi-day discussions. I am hugely excited by this. The amount of work and progress made since I left Nepal in November last year has been monumental, and I cannot wait to hear more directly from the core team, discuss what went well and what could be improved going forward, and also lay some ground work for season (year) 5 and beyond. After the retreat and discussions, I will stay with Orion, one of the co-founders, to continue working on video projects together. We've both been anticipating this since earlier this year, and now that I am in a significantly better headspace and feeling healthy inside and out, I have confidence we'll make this time really productive. More to come. 

At some point in July, I will return to the Pacific Northwest for most of summer. I intend on staying with friends or helping them (and really, myself) housesit while they are out of town and work out of Seattle and my car if out in the woods (recall: solar panels, desk, and camping gear!) while spending much-welcomed time in the wild places all around the beautiful region. I will continue live frugally off what I have and will earn with recent and upcoming photo and video gigs along with the support I get from all of you. Many hours will be spent for Conscious Impact work, and I foresee myself investing some time once more with the Beacon Food Forest to shoot and create some content too. It's pretty amazing to make this a reality when just a little over a year I wrote down and published the original vision back in Australia at the time of the patreon launch. Live simply, support the value and community-driven organizations dear to my heart with my craft, and amplify our reach and positive impact together. 

While in Scandinavia and more recently on this new chapter of life, I've been jazzed up by so many great ideas that I feel almost overwhelmed! There are so many stories and topics I wish to write about, and countless video ideas I want to execute. Where to begin? This will require some consolidation followed by action. This much is clear though - a new patreon video is in order. The launch video has served its purpose in getting my platform off the ground and for all of you to watch and understand who I am and what I stand for. The narrative has evolved - I feel that I am leaving the scarcity mindset behind steadily and embracing a brighter paradigm that has already manifested in countless ways in my life. Conversations with a number of you have also helped me pivot and consider moving forward. I do apologize for the late delivery on the postcards as well as other perks that haven't been (fully) fulfilled. As mentioned in the patreon writeup, this is an experimental platform and the hope is that we are all learning from the progress while not being attached to certain outcomes. I feel responsible for anyone feeling they aren't getting their monetary support, and if that's the case (and as always), I welcome feedback from you, whether positive or negative. On the flip side, I hope a number of you have been seeing patron-only Stories on Instagram, and remember that they can all be viewed via the Highlights bubble on my profile available only to you. 

I recall very clearly as I returned to the Pacific Northwest mid-May the feeling of coming home. The lush greens, the precipitation, elements, dense forests, snow-capped peaks that sharply contrasts with the blue or moody skies, glacier-fed rivers, wild foraging, less humans and pollution, closer access to trails and wild places, and the prevalent culture of local + seasonal foods - all of that and so much more. As I walked silently along the forested-trail at the vipassana center on day 2 or 3, I said in my mind and later in a whisper, "it feels so good to be home." Perhaps this is the year I dedicate time and energy into finding a new home for me there. A homebase, one where I invest into and could return year after year to grow and cultivate it along with others who share deep values with. We shall see. The travels, the curiosity, and the exploration, locally and globally, won't stop - oh no, certainly not. 

What will life look like this autumn and beyond? A few ideas are circling in my head, and I am alright not being attached to any one of them, or even others I haven't considered. I will welcome what I consciously create in the present moment and whatever comes of it simply is. 

Garbage pickup

Every month I've been picking up dozens of pieces of garbage from beaches, parks, urban streets, rivers, and everywhere else humans have sadly made our mark on the environment. Inorganic, non-biodegradable waste causes not only an eyesore, but has deep, negative effects on the ecology and in particular to birds and sea creatures. We are ALL responsible for the state of our oceans and beaches, as we are the very consumers and we vote with our dollars everyday. Do you want the oceans to have more plastics than fish? I know my answer well. 

I have seen bays and ports in several regions where the floating garbage is so dense that the surface of the water cannot be seen, and although it pains me to know this truth, it is from this very appalling phenomenon that I somehow draw inspiration - that because we caused it out of ignorance, we can also reverse it out of awareness. I am but one person, and truly a few dozen every month for the rest of my life isn't gonna make a dent on the macro level. I do this on Patreon and social media blatantly because at least for my humble little audience on the internet it comes into the foreground of peoples' minds, even if it's for 10 seconds. It allows for there to be a space for commentary and discussion. You guys aren't literally hiring me to do garbage pickup, but as a gesture of gratitude and also because it is simply the right thing to do - the $2/month makes it an exchange that I feel at least is more fun. 

I've been posting pics of garbage pickup on Instagram stories - it's less time-consuming for me and as mentioned, that way more people can see it. 

Favorite inspirational videos

If there is just one or two things you'll watch or listen to, make it the Carl Sagan and/or Matt D'avella videos. 

Favorite podcasts 

I could easily share 10 more, but for your sake as well as mine I had to keep this list shorter, haha. Like recent months, I've been hard on the podcast game. I have found it is one of the best ways to fill the gaps of time to keep my brain not only stimulated but expanding on philosophies, new ideas, and knowledge by wise people with much to offer and share. With all the recent hours driving, this has been absolutely transformative in upgrading my brain while being able to stay awake and enjoy the journey even more. They are a bit on the long side, but trust me, they are worth the listen. 

Huge huge once more thanks to my 45 supporters who contribute monthly to make my pro-bono work and support possible for organizations and individuals who place people and planet before profits first. Read more about that here and see if you’d be keen to pitch in, too. You can get (massive) discounts off prints off my site if you do!

Jonathan

PS: the patreon-published version contains exclusive photos and some announcements not found anywhere else. Hey, I’ve gotta hook up my patrons first and foremost, alright?

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Pomponio Beach Adventure (Video)

Been a while. Not the adventuring. That hasn’t stopped one bit. But it has been a while since I’ve cut together an adventure-oriented video purely for fun and sake of creativity. I’ve been learning lots about editing, sound mixing, color grading, workflow, pitfalls to avoid, better storytelling, and more (thanks, YouTube and all the great creators on there!).

Really, the next logical step is to apply the new knowledge by practice and repeat. Rinse and repeat. So here it is: a quick cut of an afternoon adventure with 2 good friends on the coast of northern California. Make sure that sound is turned on. Good headphones & speakers definitely recommended.

New sights, that gorgeous late afternoon light, spring blossoms, the open road, wind in your hair, aerial perspectives of where the land meets the sea, waves, oh the magical sound of waves, all meshed together with an uplifting track by a.m. beef (music licensing via artlist.io). Videography + editing by yours truly.

Thanks to Vidu Love & Nimna Perera for being great models ;) , and hat tip to Vidu also in getting some behind the scenes shots of me on that gorgeous afternoon!

Video also viewable on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/subtledream/pomponioadventure

Nephew time before I depart

One of my favorite moments in Los Angeles before departing for this trip to Norway was taking my youngest nephew out for a bike ride at a nearby park. He rode on the front rack. We have done this several time before, so he remembered the drill and rules - absolutely no touching the wheel while we're moving, and hands gripping the handlebar at all times.

The late afternoon light was perfect. We rode inside the dam where overflowing water would flood where we were standing. He and his brother both have been into rocks and crystals lately, so often our outings would include crystal hunting. He would show me all the cool pieces he discovered and let me evaluate whether they are as cool as he thinks (and in bringing them home too). Exercise for me, fun for him, memories for all of us, and $0 spent. As the Mastercard commercial would now announce: Priceless.

I snapped these timeless photos with a $28 manual focus lens that was actually defective. So often it's not about the gear to capture and preserve memories.

Norway photos to come, but I have so many memories from California I still wanna share before the Scandinavian reel begins.

Hyperlapse over the California coast

Oh, California.

As nomadic as I may have been in the last several years, I do still call California home. It is, afterall, where I've spent the most time in my life. I associate rather deeply with this land, its many peoples, the mixture of cultures, the apparent and underlying issues, and even its geology.

This is a primer to a longer post tomorrow. This home state of mine is gonna be a theme. The week-long trip I have just gotten back from has really provided me a whole lot to reflect upon and opened up new perspectives, ideas, and I'd say opportunities as well.

PS: this hyperlapse video is a newer thing I'm learning to do. It's time-lapse pumped up to the next level.

Big Sur - aerial boomerang

To be amongst these old, wise, beautiful trees. 🌲

What a fun, lush Spring day running through the streams and forests around Big Sur. I caught the perfect sunny and mild weather window a few days ago. The Spring rains are back in full force today and it's a welcome contrast while continuing to provide the land, the plants, and wildlife more precious water. 💦

Let's see if on my southbound journey I'd be able to swing through the region again and catch a bit more sunshine and outdoor time. ✨

This boomerang-style aerial video is a carbon copy of what Johnny Harris does (and does so superbly). He makes top-shelf, inspiring, informative content for Vox, with his wife Iz Harris (who I'm more than happy to support on Patreon), as well as on their own channels.

More desert magic

On a roll now, don't ya think? 😉

This is what I would call desert glow. Spring bloom. Super bloom. Mega bloom. Or mega glow, spring glow? Alright, I don't actually have a name set, but WILL YOU JUST LOOK AT THAT?

Nature never ceases to amaze in its creation and beauty. The flowers in the first photo are called lupens. To my knowledge, they are one of the first blossoms in the spring and they are nitrogen fixers. They intake nitrogen from the atmosphere - and most of our atmosphere is nitrogen - and pump it through their leaves, plant body, and into the ground. The nitrogen is made bio-available for other microorganisms and plants to utilize for their cellular magic-growth. In the spring, as the temperature warms and the conditions become conducive to sprouting or regrowth, this nitrogen, along with carbon, phosphorus (and other trace minerals too), and water, allow plants to do their thing.

Lupens only hang around for around 3-4 months from my observation. They come first and die first, but they give other plants and living beings what they need to thrive. Seeing them in the desert helped remind me the resilience and cyclical regeneration of plants and all the living systems that sustain our earth, and us.

Do swipe through, because there are 2 more accompanying desert glow captures. Oh I love these.

So this glow that got me to write in caps - I woke up at the crack of dawn to witness and capture these scenes. I had slept in my car the night before because of the semi-crazy winds and desert rains. Some people may think this is rough. However, consider this - I rolled out of my vehicle and walked across the meadow in absolute peaceful silence except for the first song birds. I'd consider that my commute. At this moment for me, this is the free and unattached life I wouldn't really trade much for. Well, perhaps a tiny house in the woods, next to a river, with a little garden, within a community. One can dream (and take action towards that reality).

Reawakening

"We are the low tide as well as the high. When bones and broken bottles appear. Small creatures die in the sun and shrinking puddles.

Between the tides shifting from low to high or high to low, the apogee on either side, is called a slack tide.

Those bones and bottles aren’t going to just go away.

But ask yourself. When is your favorite time to go to the beach? Low tide eh. When the hidden becomes apparent. When we can observe and wonder at the wrack and wreck of all the evolution that happens on the edge of things.

There is beauty in destruction, death, detritus, and chaos. Entropy is the other apogee of order. The most powerful people I know can embrace the range of existence. From rage storm and wildfire, to the small patterns in the sand.

You, my amazing friend, embody both the body, ocean, and vessel, earth, and the tidal interplay between. I see it in your work. And I see it in your heart! Have faith brother, in the process and in yourself. I do in you :)"

Huge, immense gratitude to my brother Brian Hasabe for these poetic, elegant, and profound words.

I've rediscovered the fire within myself. 🔥I'm on my way to being in the groove. This desert trip was everything I needed and didn't know I needed. I've been posting heaps to Stories but will continue to write & record more. I've realized more and more how many friends, acquaintances, and even strangers understand the feeling so well themselves.

Perhaps my little contribution back is to help others through what was a newer experience (of temporary depression, helplessness, and utter lack of motivation to accomplish almost anything) for me.

Here's a first set of stills of the snippets of the spring bloom magic out in the desert as well as the beautiful geology with none but my very own best company, and... a bunch of cameras. Nature and exploration are some powerful medicine.

Much love and appreciation for so many of your words and immense support in all forms. You've helped me back up. 🙏🏽 Onwards to all that I've been wanting to create and share with you all.

Coming out of a slump...

I finally made something the other day. Feels good to create again. This slump has been dark, unkind, and lingering. I am just trying to take baby steps in getting back in my groove.

This is from our time at Joshua Tree National Park back in winter solstice. Trying some new animation and sound effects in videos.

Music by Tone Ranger with a track named "Flow," used with permission via Jumpsuit Records membership.

Big thanks to my supporters via Patreon (patreon.com/subtledream) in their continued financial support in allowing to create beautiful things like this.

The ocean, life on the edges

The ocean's been a theme in recent weeks. It's been especially apparent since returning to California after visiting the Pacific Northwest. I've found myself at the ocean often admiring its force as well as tranquility and all the magic that occur at these "edges" - as described in #permaculture - where one ecological habitat meets or transitions to another. The life that these edges attract and the shifts in the way of being from the microscopic level way up high to the birds' eye view, is astounding, humbling, and peaceful.

Enjoy this set from Baja California Sur + Southern California taken in the past couple weeks.

Some words as 2018 wraps up.

Every now and then I'd get a notification from Google Photos or Facebook showing me a moment from X years ago, and more often than not it's a (hugely) pleasant surprise. They represent so much more than simply the where/who/what. They also bring back memories, emotions, sensations not depicted in the pixels. It's one of the reasons why I love my work so much. I get to observe, (sometimes facilitate), capture, and preserve these memories that could last forever.

2018 has been a tremendous year once more for me. One of incredible growth and expansion. I spent much time being in and exploring a few new places, made some really radical new friends, made peace with people I had disagreements with, made mistakes, failed and rebounded, made and rescued quite a lot of food, discovered and tried new things, had very little diarrhea, and rekindled a number of old connections as well as reconnecting with family.

Sometime in mid 2017 I committed myself to take photography and videography full-on and sustain myself with my craft. I had spent the summer doing a complete makeover of my website, and putting it out there that here I am, a poor artist with bright eyes, able hands, and open mind, ready to attract more than just a financial means of livelihood. Not long after I had finished revamping the site, I landed in New Zealand.

Just over a year ago at a solstice/holidays gathering in Christchurch, I remember being surrounded by a group of friends and stating my intention to continue to attract the good work and financial abundance for the incoming year. I wanted to not only have the passion, but capital too. There's been this mindset of scarcity that I feel has kept me from reaching my full potential. I welcomed the challenges that come with the commitment. I've devoted myself to my craft, and am happy to say that though there are slumps and unmotivated days, each week overall I DO feel closer to my vision of what a life of abundance could look and feel like.

New Zealand was in countless ways multiple lessons that keep teaching, a land that has kept giving, an incubator for new ideas to be born and explored, and a meeting point for all the teachers I came across. While I don't believe I had taken full advantage of my time there, but that in itself is a lesson that will keep paying dividends. Aotearoa-New Zealand, you are truly a wonderful place. I long to return.

I am grateful for many things, but most importantly are the humans. I have gratitude for Peter in getting me down under in the first place, Erica and Preston in their friendship and immense drive that made me run harder faster stronger while remembering to slow down and have fun, Kit for your openness and hospitality in your home, the whole Ministry of Awesome team in putting up with me at your coworking space, Michael Reynolds in being an all-star human, friend, and collaborator, Franca for your beauty, patience, and honesty, AJ & Allison in being absolute gems of humans and deep discussions that really move me cosmically, the Guido-Henry-Milena trio for our short but truly memorable time together AND in rescuing me in the final hours in NZ. Rieki in his visionary projections on what our future could be, and acting upon it.

I am forever grateful to Sue & Tony Angles for their love and hospitality in Sydney, for the Enspiral and Digital Storytellers team to have showed me what immense power we hold when we run for-purpose instead of for-profit. For Zana and her family in hosting me in Byron Bay, Ibaia on the Gold Coast, all whilst I was working on the launch of my Patreon.

Gratitude also to Utsav in being a teacher, friend, and host in Kolkata, Kristine who put me up (and put up with me) throughout Vietnam, Carina in traveling with me in Sikkim, and my friends-"clients" Elizabeth & Anup, Christina & Kevin for your truly wonderful weddings that brought me (back) to places I really enjoy to do what I really like - capturing moments while making a living out of it. It's pretty rad.

Beyond grateful for Conscious Impact, and every human that's taken part in its creation and ongoing devotions to the land and one another. Returning to the Himalayas this year was invigorating for deeper parts of my soul. A piece of my heart is always there, awaiting its missing pieces for a reunion.

Deeply thankful for friends and communities back on the west coast of the US & Canada. California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, thank you for (re)inviting me back and welcoming me always. I feel at home here.

And especially for the Seattle/Beacon Food Forest crew - wow. Nothing but love. Michael Guenther, Caroline, Allen, Steph, y'all are just wonderful.

And to my father, my sisters, their spouses, nephews, and of course, my mother - oh my brave, strong mother - here I am, because of them, typing this unexpectedly in California while looking out the window of the last morning of yet another momentous year.

Onwards!

Lately...

Lately I've been time traveling, a lot. As I go through years of old photos, each one has lit up a different part of my memory, bringing back flashes of sensations stored in my brain and throughout my body. Truly quite the wonderful experience.

Unearthing gems like this always puts a big fat smile on my face. This was from the Avenue of the Giants where some of the tallest trees in the world reside. In my previous time there, I rode through those stunning redwoods on my bicycle. This third time was just as sensational.

But where do I even begin with this moment? Rewind a week and I'd have found myself making a last-minute purchase in Seattle of my friend's vehicle as she and her partner were swiftly preparing to go overseas for a new job. I then made a post of Craigslist to find rideshare companions, and within days departed with a packed car headed south - with Danny from Puerto Rico (left) and a black labrador who needed to be transported to his other 'parent' down the Willamette Valley. We drove into a wall of smoke as we got deeper into Oregon. Just like this year, the (wild)fires started early and raged across thousands of acres. In Northern California the visibility and air quality were so poor we weren't sure if it was even safe to be outside for more than a few minutes.

I had heard from the grapevine (Insta) that a couple old friends were camping at Mt Shasta, so we (just Danny & I now) joined them. Unexpectedly, we escaped the smoke purely by being high enough in elevation at the base of Shasta. The air was pure delight to breath again. We spent 2 mindblowingly beautiful nights just below this magical mountain (if you haven't been I strongly recommend a visit in this lifetime) with a crew of ubër chill, artistic, and musical talents - friends and their friends from all over - including Alex (right) + Kate (center).

Most of the time, we dangled out of the windows with our mouths wide open, cruising slowly down the Avenue of the Giants - so appropriately named - and it was especially delightful for me as I had the realization that it was these three's very first time being amongst the grandmother trees. 🌲 #subtledream

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I'm back in California!

I'm back and ready to take your photograph, video, or tell your story!

I recently returned to California from my 5th trip to Nepal. This time I spent 7 weeks in the Himalayan country, and all but 3 days were with the Conscious Impact community continuing our natural building, agriculture, and youth empowerment projects.

This community that I've mentioned so often encompasses the locals it serves, locals who work alongside us, the volunteers - both Nepali & foreigners, and our supporters spanning the globe. To date, we've had about 500 volunteers representing ~40 countries from every continent except Antarctica. It's extraordinary.

Together we've (re)built 32 homes, 2 community centers, an orphanage, a school, a business building, and many micro structures on the land where we dwell, cook, live, play, and share stories, craft, and practices with one another. We've stuck to our principles of earth stewardship, natural building, and selfless service to the community by listening to and responding to their needs while holding firm on our permaculture (systems thinking and design for coexistence and abundance for all living beings and the earth) roots.

This trip back was important and special for a number of reasons, some of which I've written in recent posts and on Patreon where I share (and will continue to) more with my amazing supporters.

Meanwhile, I'd be delighted to connect for the photoshoot idea that's been on your mind, with your recently engaged friend who seeks a photo/videographer, or other documentation/visual storytelling needs that you or someone you know could benefit from. Know that all paying work allows me to sustain this livelihood to work/serve/play/explore/thrive, as it is my main source of income. Know that my income often goes right back into purchasing gear that helps me capture moments better and continue pro-bono or discounted work for individuals and organizations like Conscious Impact. Know that I always do what I can to minimize my environmental & social impact while fostering regeneration. And, as most of you are aware, I happily travel for a good gig or opportunity. Try me 😉

Jonathan H. Lee, at your service!

PS: this was from an awesome wedding where I partnered with the talented Vidu Love & Kristin Cameron to capture the very special day of Christina Leung & Kevin Sun ✨

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#foodisfree

As I was packing up and before I left my parents' house this evening, I decided to do once more something no one really does in our neighborhood - I would pick dozens of sweet grapefruits from our backyard and encourage folks walking by to take as much or little as they fancy.

The concept isn't new to me. The @foodisfree project is one that I've followed and admired for years. It's one of thousands of wonderful ideas, if done and implemented at a widespread level, would and could move us to a real sharing economy, and as Shareable calls it - "sharing cities." That's the type of future I want to live and take part in. 

But where my parents live in suburbia Los Angeles ain't like parts of Portland, Berlin, Amsterdam, Seattle, or even the various small towns and rural communities I'd been a part of where neighbors know one another, spend time in their front pouches/yards, openly share resources and support one another, etc. No, this is one where there's not even a dedicated sidewalk, one where ornamental and non-native grasses dominate the manicured landscape, where the sounds of internal combustion engines from vehicles and mowers along with water-wasting sprinklers are the main sources of sounds throughout any day. 

This is the unsustainable American dream that so many people have bought into without realizing the disconnection it has brought forth from natural cycles and one another. 
The concept of food being free and the fair share of abundance (e.g. food) with everyone can be viewed as a socialist nightmare for many in the US. But I don't see it that way. I see possibilities where others see a pipe dream. I see the hungry and homeless having sustenance and shelter by the dissolving of greed and scarcity. I see these possibilities becoming a norm where we regenerate ourselves, each other, and our earth instead of extracting it as if it contains infinite resources. I see little acts like this - the simple sharing of fruits - a rebellion against a system so ingrained, so utterly off-sync with our true natural selves of compassion and empathy, that perhaps that is all it would take for someone to wake up from their trance. I'm ready to meet you there. 🙌🏽

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Presenting you...

What a fun and joyous day that was this newly wed couple! A little teaser before I go offline for a couple days. Gonna go recharge amongst the Sequoias.

It's been a few years since I've spent considerable time in the Sierras. I adore those mountains and the beautiful landscape and ecology. They are my kind of sanctuary. 🌲

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Bonnie & Dennis & Family Photoshoot

A gorgeous day out at the beach in southern California! I had the chance to meet Bonnie, Dennis, and their family in Los Angeles over the weekend, and we went to Seal Beach for a family photoshoot. Light breeze, perfect temperatures, and not too many people even though it was a Saturday. We had discussed about the photoshoot for a few days and actually changed locations last minute due to the infamous Los Angeles traffic. Well our "Plan B" location turned out pretty sublime afterall. Though my camera nearly drowned in seawater(!), I had a lot of fun and we captured some great pixels together. I love my 2-lens/2-camera combo (Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART + Canon 100mm f/2) that I've been using for the wedding last weekend and several portrait photoshoots in the past couple months. Here's a small collection of favorites showing the place and energy of the afternoon. Thanks, Bonnie & Dennis!