Hurricane Florence

17 Sep
September 17, 2018

A few GoPro shots from the recent swells generated by Hurrican Florence. After a long, hot, flat summer, it was great to get back into the water and catch some good waves. Prayers to all of those who were negatively impacted by the effects of this storm, including my own relatives in South Carolina.

Hurricane Florence Surf

Hurricane Florence Surfing

Surfing lip blast in Hurricane Florence

Surfing down the line in Hurricane Florence

Dropping into a wave

setting up and stalling on a wave

Dropping into a wave backside

Surfing backside on a wave

surfing off the top in the whitewater

Give The People What They Want

12 Sep
September 12, 2018
screaming boy

Power to the People

The following is my first post from the new Creative Kinds agency blog. You can follow it by visiting: https://thecreativekinds.com/blog/. Our blog is primarily geared to who else… creative kinds, and all those involved or interested in marketing, branding, advertising, and design. Enjoy!

 

“Everybody’s a genius…” – Albert Einstein

What started out as pro-bono work for an upcoming local stair climb event turned into something much larger and more exciting for the Creative Kinds team. It also provided a great example of how to avoid a common creative trap: assuming that your professional (creative) opinion, based upon years of experience should always outweigh the client’s because “they don’t do this for a living.”

In actuality, the single goal of every agency should be one thing: Delight the client.

But more on that in a minute…

Sharon Baroncelli, Director of Development for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) was originally looking to brand an individual regional 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb event with a new logo. The events, held in various locations throughout the country, raise funds that help the NFFF create and maintain programs that support fire service survivors.

This includes providing assistance to the surviving families and co-workers of the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. Each participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.

In a day and age where Americans seem to increasingly have trouble agreeing on anything, I think it’s safe to say that most in our country still hold our firefighting heroes in the highest regard, and recognize the importance of honoring and supporting those who gave their lives to protect our own. Naturally, we were very excited to help.

Subsequently, via karma, great creative, or some combination therein, the work we submitted to the NFFF was deemed so strong that it was forwarded to the national Board of Directors who voted to use one of our marks for the NFFF’s new national logo for its 9/11 National Memorial Stair Climb events.

The only problem: Which one to choose? There were many great options and the Board loved all of them! 🔥🔥🔥

Here are a few of our original concepts.

NFFF Logo Concepts

NFFF Logo Concepts

Of course, being the creative experts, we felt compelled to voice our own opinion about which mark we felt should be selected. We decided that #9 (L to R, Top to Bottom), the mark with the American flag-themed stairs would be the best choice. The rising stairs perfectly portrayed what the stair climb events are about, both physically and spiritually.

The shield form made for a perfect patch (which firefighters love) and the logo felt crisp, light and modern while simultaneously classic and timeless. We’d need to sharpen the feathered edges of the stairs for vector art applications but overall, felt this was the mark that needed to be selected and that would be.

Until we asked our client and an audience of, ahem…non-professionals.

You see, to confirm our flawless instincts, we put $5 behind an Instagram carousel post (a great survey tool, by the way) targeted to our firefighter audience, and quickly racked up over 400 “Likes” and dozens of positive comments. People loved the marks, all of them, and many noted that it was difficult to choose a favorite.

But ultimately, by an overwhelming margin, our test audience chose their preferred mark: option #5, the silhouette of the kneeling firefighter. In short order, the NFFF agreed.

At this point, we might have strongly encouraged the NFFF to reconsider our preferred mark, the one we wanted to see promoted on their highly-visible national platform. After all, as design professionals, we’re often told by our peers that we are obligated to steer our clients in the “right” direction.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody’s a genius…” But he finished that statement with “…but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” In other words, we’re all great at different things. Non-profits are great at organizing events and raising funds. Firefighters are great at fighting fires. And designers are great at design. Ergo, we, the designers, really needed to push our client and their audience to make the “correct” choice.

Right?

Wrong!

Because who’s to say which design was the “right” one?

We wouldn’t have presented any marks to the client that would have been wrong.

Design, you see, is subjective and quite frankly, logo design can sometimes be overrated, with more importance placed on it than what might sometimes be merited.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Great logo design is not easy. They take a lot of time and surprisingly few graphic artists are really good at it. The best logos can become foundations for iconic brands and be relevant for years with only occasional evolution for the passing of time.

At the same time, the great thing about design is the unlimited nature of ideas. There’s always more than one right answer, always another possibility. We provided the NFFF with several. Their first choice was our second choice. But theirs was the only one that mattered.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Don’t ever assume there’s only one best answer and that only you are informed and insightful enough to understand it.

Remember that there is only one imperative in business and it doesn’t take a genius to understand it: Delight your clients.

 

North Access, Guana River

28 Jul
July 28, 2018
Guana River Reserve

Expansive view of the Guana River Reserve as shot from the northern-most public access.

Up the River with a Paddle

28 Jul
July 28, 2018
Guana River Kayaking

Even on overcast days, the beauty of the Guana River Research Reserve inside Guana River State Park is evident.

Fish On!

28 Jul
July 28, 2018
Big Mahi

Fun day fishing with my brother-in-law, Capt. Trey and his buddies off Cocoa Beach.

Sailfish

This was my catch on the day- a beautiful sailfish that we released.

Giant Mahi

Man, that Mahi was big! Trey, holding up the giant.

Payne’s Prairie

23 Apr
April 23, 2018

I recently took a trip to Payne’s Prairie to hang out with my oldest daughter, Kendall, for Dad / Daughter weekend with her sorority at the University of Florida. Kendall and I decided to go for a hike in this spectacular state park and came across a lot of wildlife (although we didn’t run into any wild horses or bison -yes, bison- that live in the park). Nonetheless, it was an awesome time adventuring with my daughter, who’s always up for exploring with me.

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Sidewinding

23 Apr
April 23, 2018

 

 

My daughter Kendall and I came across this fellow while hiking in Payne’s Prairie in Gainesville, FL recently. Ironically, I had literally just finished telling her seconds before, about how the area reminded me of other places in North Florida I’d explore as a child, and that we’d occasionally find rattlesnakes living in abandoned gopher tortoise holes. Then lo and behold, as soon as I finished that sentence, we came upon this good-sized rattler splayed out right across the trail. Great experience! You don’t see these guys as often as you used to.

Springtime in Hartsville, SC

23 Apr
April 23, 2018

IMG_5430

Hazy Shade of Winter

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
A old dock on a lake in the early morning in Tavares, FL

A chilly late December morning in Tavares, Fl.

Guana River State Park: Beautiful even when she’s moody…

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
Guana River State Park, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Guana River State Park – Even in the dead of winter, she’s still gorgeous!

‘Merica

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
corn silos on a farm in Hartsville, South Carolina

Golden afternoon in the cornfields of Hartsville, South Carolina

Jack Johnson, St Augustine Amphitheater, Bad Fish, 2017

27 Dec
December 27, 2017

Here’s some bad cell phone footage of Jack Johnson on his recent (2017) stop at the St. Augustine Amphitheater in St. Augustine, Florida (Sorry, I was too busy watching and listening to try and film him!) Fantastic concert, as always! Here’s Jack doing a cover of Sublime’s Bad Fish and Boss DJ.

Maple Leaf / Fall Colors

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
Red Maple Tree

Bright fall colors in Hartsville, SC. Beautiful Red Maples at Thanksgiving.

 

Green grass and red Maple trees

Jimmy

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
Rusty old GMC bucket truck

‘Merica! A rusted old GMC bucket truck up on the farm in Hartsville, SC. Good as she ever was…

They’re just good ol’ boys…

27 Dec
December 27, 2017

Nope, this isn’t the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard. That was a ’69 Dodge Challenger. This is bigger and better – a ’67 Plymouth Road Runner. As muscle cars go, it’s the real king of the hill (err… cornfield!). And this one is real, sitting on a farm up in South Carolina. What a beauty!

A 1967 red and black Plymouth Road Runner

Willy Wonka’s Cane Sugar Syrup Factory in Middendorf, SC

27 Dec
December 27, 2017

The Blizzard Branch Syrup company in Middendorf, South Carolina makes pure cane sugar syrup using fresh cut sugar cane and a hand press. Sugar cane goes in. Sweet stuff comes out. Then it’s off to be strained boiled and strained again. Willy Wonka has nothing on these guys! I’m pretty sure this is where they recorded the sound effects for that movie, anyway. This is a great example of sustainable farming and agritourism. Interesting stuff! We had a good time romping around up there while visiting family in Hartsville, SC over the Thanksgiving holidays.

Windmill

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
windmill-south carolina

A windmill sitting high above the land in farm country in Middendorf, SC

Gimme Some Sugar

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
fresh cut sugar cane

Fresh cut sugar cane just before it is fed into a press on its way to becoming syrup.

Pure

27 Dec
December 27, 2017
Blizzard Branch Syrup Company SC

The Blizzard Branch Syrup Company in Middendorf, SC makes pure cane sugar syrup by hand.

One of a few shots from our family’s annual trek up to Hartsville, South Carolina at Thanksgiving. This is from the nearby Blizzard Branch farm where they make pure cane sugar syrup, yellow corn grits and blueberry wine by traditional methods. Fascinating, beautiful and delicious.!

Hurricane Maria, Guana River State Park

25 Dec
December 25, 2017

A few interesting GoPro shots from the Hurricane Maria swell earlier this year. I’m not sure if you would call this “stuffing in” or “getting stuffed”. At the very least, you can’t call it barrel-dodging!

The capability of the GoPros (in this case, a 4 Black), never cease to amaze me. In the first shot, you can clearly see seaweed flying past my face inside the wave.

Between Irma and Maria, our beaches were packed with all kinds of debris, making surfing sketchy at times. Even after larger debris like pylons, branches, 2×4’s, etc. had cleared, there was still quite a bit of vegetation in the line-ups for weeks following each storm.

These shots were two days after the peak swell size for Maria, but were the peak for overall size + quality.

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Navua River Rafting, Fiji

05 Feb
February 5, 2017
Navua River gorges

The gorges of the upper Navua River in the interior of Viti Levu, Fiji. This place was like the land that time forgot. I kept waiting for a T. Rex to pop up around every corner!

Tall Cold One

22 Jan
January 22, 2017
Guana-Surf

A few good-sized waves last weekend, this one from inside Guana State Park. 

Fijian Lullaby

22 Jan
January 22, 2017
Fiji-at-night

A frame grab from a Go-Pro time-lapse of nightfall in Fiji that I made last year.

Livin’ in the City by the Dead 27’s

30 Dec
December 30, 2016

 

Here’s one more unplugged acoustic cover from the Dead 27’s. This one is Stevie Wonder’s ’74 classic, “Livin’ in the City”. Again, you can’t really even try to tackle a song like this one on unless you’ve got a lot of soul in you. These guys do.

Little Red Corvette by Dead 27s

30 Dec
December 30, 2016

 

Here’s a couple of more great tunes for you! If you want to catch a fantastic up-and-coming band, check out the Dead 27s (named for all of the famous musicians who died at age 27 including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, among others). They’re based out of Charleston, SC where they recently won Rock Band of the Year and Best Rock Song for the area. Their sound is a mix of rock, funk and soul. They’ve put out a couple of albums, the most recent being Ghosts Are Calling, which represents their first major record deal. They’ll be touring to support that album this year.

Will Evans, their lead guitarist, keyboardist and harmony vocalist is a great guy who is marrying my wife’s cousin, Amanda. We get to see both of them up on the Chapman family farm in Hartsville, SC each year, which I’ve written about here before. I’m excited for both of them. I’m sure 2017 is going to be an epic year for Will and Amanda in many ways!

The Dead 27s have an active Facebook page where they regularly post unplugged acoustic music videos. I’m going to post a couple of their fantastic covers. Here’s Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” which they performed as a tribute shortly after the Purple One’s passing. This is Will and lead singer, Trey Francis. I don’t know too many people who could pull this song off. You’ve just got to have a lot of soul to be able to do it. These guys have got it! I’ll post one more after this showcasing the entire band tackling Stevie Wonder. It’s also pretty amamzing! Enjoy, and make sure to check ’em out!

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