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Tom Anderson
Former MySpace first friend, enjoying being retired :-)
Former MySpace first friend, enjoying being retired :-)

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Spent a few days in Oregon and was amazed at the trees and diversity there. This is a tree native to Japan, but I've never seen one like this on my several visits to Japan. Go figure. Will definitely be spending a lot more time shooting in this incredible place! Go Oregon :) !

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This is kind of a fun news/entrepreneus website. I like it ! They just did a little story on me :)

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I have the coolest story for you! It’s a story about dreams coming true! :-) Stick with me here, this is long!!

When I first began taking photos, I searched the interwebs for help. I quickly found +Serge Ramelli, a French photographer with a Youtube channel. Not only did his videos teach me Photoshop & Lightroom, I found Serge engaging & fun to watch. Like most all Americans, I liked the French accent! :)

Fast forward a few months later and I’m in Paris taking photos and who should I happen to run into… SERGE RAMELLI, my YouTube teacher! (We photographers are like sheep, always flocking about together in the same spots!) I approached the jovial Frenchmen, “Serge, I’ve watched everything on your Youtube channel! You’ve really helped me.. Thank you!” We added each other on Facebook and I said Bonjour.

Fast forward a year later, and Serge called me asking for help. He told me he wanted to get an 0-1 visa to come to the US to produce feature films. He wanted to work in Hollywood and make movies! I was happy to help. So from a dusty tent some place in Arizona, I typed up a letter on my laptop… when I got back to civilization a few days later, I sent off the letter.

Like magic, after just one month, Serge told me his Visa had been approved and he was coming to Hollywood. He thanked me profusely and told me he never would have been able to come to America without my “star power” endorsement. (Take that Donald T!!) I thought it was funny that immigration would care what I thought, but I felt warm & fuzzy thinking I’d helped Serge! The man who'd helped me so much through his videos! This was in Sep 2014.

Now fast forward again to just a few months ago! (The story is getting better…) I started feeling social again (as some of you may have noticed by my recent postings!)

I had stopped scaling mountains, stopped squeezing into ice caves, and stopped jumping over lava to photograph volcanos. I was sleeping in my house in Los Angeles, not in a tent in Patagonia. I noticed I actually have a nice bed & house here in Lalaland. Lol.

Anyway, I started thinking about Serge, and I messaged him:

“Serge, how are things going, did you ever make that movie?”

To my surprise, he wrote back, “YES! It comes out in a month!” And he sent me a link to the trailer.

When I watched the trailer, the biggest smile came to my face. I was overcome! Not only does it look like a great movie (I’m such a sucker for these feel-good movies), but Photo Serge, the would-be producer was not just a producer.. Serge was the freakin STAR of the movie!! I was shocked. He’s so good in the trailer. Watch this trailer!!! OK! Did you watch it? I watched it like 15 times that night. Haha.

That’s my Serge. :-) I immediately began peppering him with questions.. How did this happen? How did you learn how to act? How did you end up being the star!? I got so pumped up. I was so proud of him!! As an actor, Serge is a natural! America hasn’t had a goofy, lovable foreigner in awhile. Now we have Serge. I think he’s going to be the next Gerard Depardieu!

The next morning I had lunch with Serge. It felt so Hollywood… we were sitting on a sunny street side cafe discussing his life in movies over the last 2 years. It turns out Serge has wanted to be an actor for a long time! And now his dream has come true! I began to ask Serge about producing movies and the budgets, costs, issues, etc. I was asking because I’ve had what I might call a “fantasy” of making a movie myself. I first thought of it back in 2000 when I was getting a Masters in Film at UCLA. Didn’t know that about me, did ya? Haha.

Now here’s where the story gets even more interesting. Serge’s movie, “The Hollywouldnts” is an independent movie financed on a small budget. It’s currently in pre-order status. There have been 500 preorders already.. wow! If Serge can get 347 more pre-orders, he will actually set the all time record for pre-orders on an independent film! Completely nuts!

If that happens, Variety and a bunch of industry magazines will write about the power of social media driving recognition for his movie! And if that happens, the movie just may get enough attention for big distributors to see it. If that happens, Serge’s little movie will be taken to the next level! And finally, if this movie becomes a financial success, Serge will be able to produce and develop more movies. I was so excited about his story. I told him I wanted to help!

Side note: Lately I’ve made a point of trying to help people with anything they need.. It’s kinda my new thing. :) I meet someone that I know, or someone I just met for the first time and I ask: what do you need in life? If I can help, I do help! I connect them to the right person, or whatever… It’s been pretty awesome and fun! (This relates to my earlier post a few weeks ago about having the best day in my life. I felt that way because I helped so many people in one day!) It’s nice to not think about yourself, ya know? Haha. So yah, I immediately told Serge I wanted to help!

The first thing I did was pre-order my own copy… a small gesture. But now I’m here spreading the word, a bigger gesture! WAVE!!. If you like this movie and you want to help Serge and the creative team behind this movie, pre-order it on iTunes… It’s just $9.99 for the SD version! Remember the key is to pre-order. If you order before the movie comes out on May 16, then that’s the key metric that is going to make the industry notice this little indie film.

There were 60 people employed by the production of this movie — some young & hungry and just getting in the industry, others more seasoned and lending a hand to this passion project… I want to blow this out and make it a success for them, and make it possible for them all to do it again. They’re already in preproduction for the next project! You can help to by pre-ordering the movie. Please do!

I’m super excited to watch the movie when it comes out! I normally only get this excited about the release of Star Wars movies… Haha. I’m supposed to be in Amsterdam on the release date. Anyone there? Maybe we can organize a little release party. :-)

For my own part, I want to say that through meeting Serge (he doesn’t even know this yet), I’ve made some key steps to start producing a movie myself. It’s an idea I’ve had for many years, and its starting to become a reality. How nuts is that?! Haha. It’s something I literally never thought I would actually do, but now I’m actually working on it. Thank you Serge for the inspiration! That's the second time Serge has helped my creative life - first with photos, now with movie-making.

So whether you want to pre-order and help out Serge or not.. I hope you found this little story entertaining and use it as inspiration to step outside your normal routine of thinking and make your own dreams come true!!

Serge went from being a Youtube Photoshop tutorial guy to realizing his dream of producing and acting in a movie in just two short years! And it’s clear even from the trailer that he has a real talent for it! I’m totally blown away by what he’s achieved.

I’m gonna watch the trailer again… it always makes my heart swell. :-) Enjoy !

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I love animals. Why? I'm asking myself... In part, I just think they're so cute and fun to watch.

It's funny we humans will spend countless creative hours from hundreds of individuals with budgets at $200-$300 million dollars to create something entertaining like Game of Thrones or a blockbuster movie, but I'm just as entertained watching a puppy roll around on the floor, or a guinea pig sit there and do nothing but sniff and turn his head from side to side. Is this normal? I mean do you guys feel the same way? Haha

I literally watched these monkeys for about 7 hours! I arrived early in the morning and didn't leave until it was getting dark. This photo was taken in Japan in a very cold climate... Like shivering & shaking cold. I don't like being cold, trust me. But I still sat there and watched these guys for 7 hours!

I think part of why I love animals so much is that they seem pure and incapable of deception. That's probably not true. I've seen some tricky Penguin behavior. But it's almost as if I wish we humans were as simple as animals -- that we'd just relax and enjoy the now. Animals might fight over scarce resources, but at least it's up front and honest: big monkey, "my food! my woman!" small monkey "ok, we cool." That's about the extent of it. I've also read that there's something genetic in human beings that we respond to cuteness. We like cute things so we will be inclined to protect our own human offspring... As long as they're cute. Once they become obnoxious teenagers, all bets are off. :)

The reason these Snow Monkeys are in the water is because it's a natural hot spring. The monkeys live in the valley that surrounds this spring, and they forage for food and hang out. While I was freezing cold watching them, they're doing their thing and when they get to cold, they jump in and take a nice hot bath to warm up! Maybe that's why they're looking at me...? They're wondering why I don't get in, or wondering how I'm handling the cold? Haha.. I was really hoping it would start snowing so their heads would have some snow piled on top.. It did snow a bit, but not enough for the desired effect. Still, I had a great time and I'm pretty satisfied with the photos I took of them.

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Many years ago, I joined Google+ and started poking around. Through that experience I met +Trey Ratcliff - I think you all know him! We became fast friends and I picked up a camera because that was his thing. What a change it made in my life...

For years ever since, I've been on the road experiencing the physical beauty of the world. Using a camera was a revolution to me -- it made me stop and notice the world around me. Truly, I was not looking before. I would let beautiful moments like this pass me by... Not now. (There's more, keep reading)

Adding this piece of technology to my travel bag has literally transformed my attention & perception, and the way I see the world. How fortunate are we when the simplest things like clouds and light can bring so much joy into our hearts?

If you don't feel this way when you see a sunset, try a little experiment. Make sure you're outside during sunrise or sunset. Look at the clouds. Just make a small effort to notice. Bring your cel phone and take a photo. Try this experiment and see what it does for you. For anyone that tries it, come back and comment on here a week from now. If you post something about it on your own profile, please hashtag #myspacetomphotoexperiment so I can find it. I'm curious to see what this little experiment does for you :)

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Lavaflow on the Big Island of Hawaii. Amazing!

This is one of my favorite photos of the last year. I put myself in some semi-serious danger to take this shot. I walked, climbed and hopped over lava to get to this point, not exactly smart. :) Also not too wise to stand on a cliff with lava running underneath you and large chunks of the cliff falling into the ocean! Put another way: I'm not recommending this to you. That said, this is truly one of the most exceptional things I have ever witnessed. Hopefully you can be satisfied with my photo and not try this yourself... Here we are seeing the formation of Earth right before your eyes!

The lava flow is so dynamic that sometimes it changes within hours, which makes this photo all the more special to me. I shot this at sunset as little bits of rain were falling and got some water spots on my lens, so I woke up at 4am and came back the next morning. By then it was just too hot to stand in the same spot. I could only last for a few seconds each time I tried. The lava flow had completely changed as well. It looks different every time you go.

I was thinking of going back for NYE last Dec.I thought it would be an awesome place to be on NYE - no crowds, no clubs, no countdown. Just me and the Earth. Luckily I didn't, that was the night that a massive amount -- acres, I believe - fell into the ocean. Capturing lava flowing into the ocean has been a dream of mine for many years... Dreams do come true :)

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This is an interesting read. Apparently Facebook data analysts can tell if you're depressed, or feeling confident, or other emotional states. There was a bit of an upset when people believed that FB was using this data to target advertisements. Facebook then denied using this data for ad targeting. What if they did target ads using the data. Do you think this is wrong? Or smart? If someone is feeling down, and FB can advertise a product that might make them feel better (either temporarily or more seriously), do you think this unethical?

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I just spent a few days in Yosemite. It's one of the first places I ever photographed when I started photography 5 years ago... Honestly, I have to say that the first time I went there I was not so impressed. For that reason, I have only driven through Yosemite a few times since... I would just stop at Tunnel view for a sunrise or a star shot. That thinking--that Yosemite was not all that--was reinforced by the landscape photographer community I've become a part of over the years. It seems to be that among my photography heroes, no one really shoots Yosemite so much... I think that's because most serious landscape guys feel like it's too easy. It's a place that tourists go, and landscape photographers would rather go find something few people ever see! Maybe I'm wrong.. but I think that's what most guys think? I don't know. You tell me? In any case, what a mistake I made!

Yosemite is truly stunning if you take the time to explore, and more importantly go when it is RAINING! Did you hear that? RAIN RAIN. Or at least when there has been a lot of rain. The waterfalls just BLEW MY MIND.

Now I'm super eager to go back during next year's snow as well. When I get the time I'm going to go back and hike a lot of the trails and see a lot more. Last weekend I only did the Mist Trail and a lot of the waterfalls in the valley. I love you Yosemite, sorry I thought you were just so so before :) haha!!

Here's a shot I took from the Tunnel View on the second morning I was there. There are some serious crowds there at sunset. It's not so crowded in the morning. Give it try next time you go :)

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Hello Google+! Finally a new post from me. I'm really going to try and start posting again -- there I said it, better stick to it! Here's a shot from Kauai, Hawaii.

I love seeing untouched places like this. It leads your mind back to what life was like on the islands before people came. The waterfalls were stunningly tall -- this shot is from a helicopter. I think Hawaii has some of the best helicopter tours in the world. The mountains are like nothing you've ever seen... especially on Kauai :-)

Anyone been here? Next time I'm going to see if we can land down near the base of those waterfalls. I know some people have done it... Looks incredible!

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Oh Google+ - Oh how I've missed you. I drifted away from sharing online for years, posting only photos at and mostly without commentary. But I'm back and with words. Starting to feel like maybe I should share again and get the creative juices flowing like they were when Google+ first began. That was a special time... Is anyone out there. Say Hello and let me know. And of course, here's a photo... one of my latest from Kyoto, Japan.
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