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My Year in Photos 2012

my year in photos 2012After reviewing some nearly 17,000 images I captured in 2012, I wanted to see if I could relive the entire year by compiling the images from start to finish in a 30fps video.

The result is a journey that spans from Europe and Northern Africa to the Balkans and back to the US in about 8 minutes. Each image is a memory capsule that carries on thousands of moments–a spontaneous kiss, a motorcycle ride, a new dish, a sunset drink, a new friend, a hike to the top, a jump into the crystal blue, a face full of sand, a return back to the familiar, a love of life…

And this is, at the very heart, why I love photography – capturing memories that fitter and fade in reality but are frozen in time with an image.  This ‘flash in the pan’ look at 2012 inspires me and reminds us all about what’s important. Embracing the adventure!

[Video] New GroPro Hero3 video – Whoops, I just crapped my pants!

Last night GoPro initiated the launch for the new GoPro camera with this incredible video. Passion, excitement, drive, euphoria are what this video – and GoPro – are all about ….and that’s why I love them. The internet is chock full of videos with the same mindset  – pushing life to the edge. I will love any company that encourages and enables that idea – and I will support them however I can!

A few tech specs for the new release:
– 4K video @ 12fps. Drop the resolution to 2.7K, and it shoots 30fps. 1080p video can be captured at 60fps and 720p frame rate at 120fps. This is a lot of cinematic punch in a tiny body.
– the image processor is 2x as fast as the Hero2
– the Black Edition is $399, the Silver is $299 and the White $199. Pre-orders started  already….get some! I will….


Locations: New Zealand, Tonga, San Francisco, Tahiti, B.C. Canada,
Music by: OVERWERK – “Daybreak” – Download for free here! 


[Video] Postcards from Barcelona – Stepping into La Sagrada de Familia

A very short clip of what it’s like walking into one of the most famous and iconic building in the world – La Sagrada de Familia in Barcelona.

Gaudí intended that a visitor standing at the main entrance be able to see all three the vaults built into the ceiling at once creating a sense of standing in a massive space (the main vault reaches 215ft high) The columns of the interior are unique Gaudí’s design and resembles a forrest of pillars culminating together in a canopy above. None of the interior surfaces are flat – which consists in large part of abstract shapes full of symbolism and significance. Even detail-level work such as the iron railings for balconies and stairways are full of elaboration until reaching the ceiling. When we visited this place, I thought I’d had enough of seeing cathedrals in Europe, but because of the vision, heard and soul of Gaudi, it’s a one of a kind artwork no to be missed! Go, and get lost in it.

The Golden Wreath; No Place For Fear – retina wallpaper download

The other night, along with hundreds of millions of people around the globe, I was watching the Olympic closing ceremonies on T.V. Yet another Olympic competition in the books, and as always, it was an amazing spectacle. The best athletes in the world competing at such a high level reminded me of a quote “The winner is the one who makes the next-to-last mistake” And after watching the difference between winning and losing time and time again coming down to a blink of the eye it dawned on me that we’re all making those mistakes. For the rest of us who aren’t super athletes in competition with other Olympians, we are in competition with ourselves – and more clearly, our fears. (more…)

[iPhone] Summer Rooftop Cinema – Athens, Greece

The Pursuit

We all search for it. Well all are capable of finding it. And we all need a reminder sometimes that happiness is right in front of us. YouTube Preview Image

Alive Inside: The Power of Music

ALIVE INSIDE follows Dan Cohen, a social worker who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home.  What he discovers by accident, and scientists have studied for years, is that a person suffering from memory loss can seem to “awaken” when given music they have an emotional attachment to.

The film is witness to this reawakening of ‘lost’ patients.  The effect on the patient, the family, the caregiver is both touching and inspiring.   The introduction of personalized music into patient’s lives seems to open new vistas of experience, especially those with the least ability to interact.  As neurologist Oliver Sacks explains, ‘Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience.  Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory.”

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This clip of Henry reminds me of my grandpa just before he passed – as I’m sure it would remind you of yours. I can’t help but wonder what a simple ipod with his favorite old music (from around the time WWII) would have done for his memory and quality of life in his last years. Not that he suffered from memory loss to the extent as Henry in the video, but I can imagine what we would have talked about and the wisdom of a life lived well.

This project is continuing their research and therapy so there are ways you can help if you feel inspired. For more information about how Music and Memory can help elderly patients, or to donate an iPod (new or used), visit http://www.MusicandMemory.org. For more information about the filmmaker  Michael Rossato-Bennett

Also if you’re in NYC next week you can attend the world premiere for Alive Inside at the Rubin Museum in New York City. The screening dates are Wednesday, April 18th – Saturday, April 21st, with two additional screenings on Saturday. Each ticket includes a Q&A with Alzheimer’s specialists  – should be interesting.

Also, The Week magazine wrote a great piece on the subject of music therapy.

The Most Astounding Fact

Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” for the magazines “10 Questions for Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson” feature, this is his answer. The answer itself is pretty astonding, but when it’s played over video & photos from NASA, BBC, and others (spliced by film maker Max Schlickenmeyer) it brings it to a different level for me. A beautiful answer on a beautiful backdrop. Degrasse Tyson, who has honorary degrees from no less than 17 universities (according to wiki) and is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as host of NOVA scienceNOW, has the ability to explain the very obtuse and grandiosely complicated matters of space and science in a beautifully simple unpretentious way.  Hopefully this will make us all look up at the sky and wonder about the phenomenon that is life – and feel a little more connected not only to things far away, but close as well. YouTube Preview Image Find all the video credits here. Who else if worthy of ’10 Questions’ according to TIME?  Find out.

[Video] Foguera Dels Velluters

Foguera Dels Velluters (Neighborhood Bonfire)
This celebration/demonstration was just 50 ft. outside our front door the other night so we decided to head out and join it without really knowing what it was about. After talking to a few people with our broken spanglish we found out it’s a great tradition! This year the ‘Foguera dels Velluters’ celebrates the 156th anniversary of the silk workers (aka velluters) who staged a mutiny in 1856 for better wages – the first of its kind in Valencia (now the neighborhood bears the name Velluters). Today the spirit is still alive with protesting the cut wages of area teachers and day laborers, the lack of public facilities, and excessive public and private lots in a state of neglect.  After the march and the fires were  blazing, the celebration moves to fellowship with dancing, wine, and roasted meats over the fire. Naturally we fellowshiped along with them too! Learn more here: https://n-1.cc/pg/forum/topic/1036202/la-foguera-dels-velluters-2012/ A quote from the website – “We want people living in Velluters, to find a reason to meet and participate in the life of the neighborhood. Also to welcome the new neighbors begin to live with us and invite you to take part in the actions from the neighborhood association or other organization to improve the shortcomings we have.” An amazing night in support of our new barrio!
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[Video] Mahabir Pun and the Nepal Wireless Relay Station at Khopra Ridge, Nepal

November 2nd, 2011 – Post borrowed from The Himalayan Gap project website. THG is a video/book initiative to raise awareness of the efforts of Mahabir Pun who is working to better the lives of rural Nepalese people by way of better education and computers. See more of his work here.

Back in March, Mahabir Pun, Program Director of the Himanchal Educational Foundation and founder of the Nepal Wireless project, explained how the Nepal Wireless internet signal is bounced and relayed throughout the region from the 3,300m high Khopra Ridge lodge. This key station connects many rural villages on both sides of the Himalayas. More photos of Mahabir at Khopra Relay Station.

What does it feel like to fly over the Earth?

Yeah, haven’t you ever wondered what that would feel like? Unfortunately, most of us wont be able to get that feeling. But this is a amazing glimpse of what it might look like though! A time-lapse taken by NASA from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. Your view begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica..all in a cool 55 seconds.

Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy. Take a second to think about where we live and how our actions affect this incredibly beautiful planet! MORE posts about spacey stuff on mikenyff.com – We Are Here

Here are some spectacular looks from the other way – The 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition winners


….a few links if you’re interested.

Smooth Version;

25fps Version

Raw data was downloaded from;

The Gateway To Astronaut Photography of Earth
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/mrf.htm “.

Virtualdub was used to create the final movie.

You can see more beautiful images of our universe at;

How big is the universe?



Grown So Ugly – Behind the scenes of the ‘New Seasoning’ photo shoot

Things change whether you accept it or not. Everything either dies or is destroyed by time or other forces, only for something else to be born in the vacuum of the previously occupied space. The fact that we, as humans, can manipulate many forms of energy and transform it in many different ways, but will never (as far as we can see now) be able to truly create or destroy energy itself is a thought I regularly think about (mostly while releasing energy in the form of bike peddles – the kinetic energy from bananas). The ebb and flow of this energy is just a cycle that executes and perpetuates itself without need or interference of us….seemingly forever. Or what we would everyday call ‘changes’ to our normal routines – whatever they may be.

Just thought I’d throw that out there haha.

This video is sort of a behind the scenes look at a photo shoot that has very little to do with energy manipulation and more to do with the idea of accepting change. Inviting the change to take place and allow it to happen instead of fighting it. Let the inevitable happen, just remember to bring your board and surf the momentum.


Life Cycles – The Death of a Bike, Begins with its Start

“Greater than the sum of their parts, they’re the most efficient machines on the planet.”

Life Cycles (www.lifecyclesfilm.com) by Stance Films in association with Shimano, Scott Bicycles & Pinkbike.com released in late 2010. Its a simple story of the bike, from its creation, and ending at it’s eventual demise – only in a spectacularly beautiful way. Visually stunning, with a deep close to spiritual narration, Life Cycles uses Ultra HD (roughly the size of IMAX…16x the resolution of HDTV ) to document the journey surrounding the mountain bike and its culture in a way that has visually never been done before as it showcases the progression of riding. Breath taking natural settings, we see seemingly everything hath brought by nature’s elements, our journey takes us on a trail less traveled. Written/Directed by the obviously tech-savvy Derek Frankowski and Ryan Gibb the film guides you though the sorry with riders by the likes of Semenuk, Hopkins, Schwartz, McIntosh, McCaul Agassiz, Hunter and Vanderham. Life Cycles is a celebration of the bicycle, and is sure to entertain anyone who has ever ridden one…but who hasn’t?

 http://www.vasfilms.com/Life-Cycles.html – and view more beautifully shot teasers here http://www.lifecyclesfilm.com/visuals/teaser

“Like everything else thats made on this earth, with birth comes the inevitability of entropy.”

Bonnaroo Love

I feel privileged to be apart of the one of the largest music festivals in the country and I love going back every year – and even more so since its my job to take photos! This being my fourth year, I kind of know what to expect – sleepless nights, near heat stroke days, awesomely loud music, working my way around/through/in-between stage security, and hanging out with thousands of (stinky, sweaty) people who are passionate about music. It’s one of those things that you know there will be tortuously long days and nights, but you still look forward to it every time!

This time I teamed up with the Zultan’s Army himself to shoot a little video side project of some of the behind the scenes chaos/order of a major music and arts festival and is currently being showcased on Bonnaroo’s website and facebook page!



Storm Season

A few weeks ago I returned back to Nebraska from a 5 month, 8 country around the world trip with my girlfriend Chele. Needless to say we experienced so many different cultures from Buddhism, Muslim, Hindu to Catholic…and climates from the beaches of Indonesia to the highest peaks in the world in Nepal, that returning home would seem like a drag. But that’s only if you live in a boring place like New York or LA, and NOT if you are returning home to a place like the Great Plains in the spring/summer that has weather like this! There are just some things that happen here that you dont see ANYWHERE else on the planet! A month long string of almost nightly killer tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest kept us all on watch…and kept me excited for some tornado action. With respect to all the fatalities in Missouri and Arkansas, I have massive respect for severe weather like this…and that is WHY I want to chase it!  Hopefully Ill be able to get out and shoot some more in the next few months while Im still home. I had to stop just before the downpour rain and hail was unleashed.

Making the list & checking it twice.

The Petronas Towers (also known as the Petronas Twin Towers or KLCC) are skyscrapers and twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 until surpassed by Taipei 101, but remain the tallest twin buildings in the world.

While traveling around one gets to see many things – tall, short, small, big, important and seemingly insignificant things – but all-together, they are things. Things are good for categorizing and listing.

So naturally, one has been constructed as the ‘list of the very tall things.’ Here is a list from Wikipedia comparing the height of the tallest structure on earth to many other well known tall things. I am making my own little unofficial list of the tallest, shortest, smallest, biggest, importantest things I’ve seen during my travels around 5 continents, but that list can wait for another post 🙂 – For now, can you guess which one’s I’ve seen in person on this list? (Ground Zero would count as the WTT) (….and BTW the Petronas Towers are #4 on this list)


The Last Minutes with Oden

The 2010 Vimeo Festival Grand Prize Winner will make you ball like a baby. Seriously, this is incredibly moving so just watch it. And get some tissues ready.

Vimeo Festival co-director Jeremy Boxer shared his thoughts on the video:

“This film is one of those rare shorts that you can guarantee an emotional response from anyone who sees it. It is a superbly crafted piece that leads with its heart and soul.

The story is about the unique bond between a man’s love for his dog and the pain that goes with losing your best friend. It is also about redemption and transformation of the lead character, Jason Wood. Through his love for dog, Oden, Jason was able to grow as a man and a human being. It is a testament to those moments in life that should be recorded.

Through the filmmaker’s perspective we are able to see a real example how the new generation of small, high-quality cameras have enabled a new type of personal filmmaking that perhaps would have not been possible in the past. These cameras have been able to elevate what is captured as part of life into cinema. This film is not to be missed.”

Advisory: Some of the language in this video is not suitable for all audiences. Sensitive viewers should note the video contains scenes of a dog being euthanized

More info on the Phos Pictures & the Vimeo Festival Award Winners

The Dark Side of the Lens

“I never want to take this for granted, so I try to keep motivation simple, real, and positive. If I only scrape a living, at least it a living worth scrapping. If there’s no future in it at least its a present worth remembering; for everything that brought us to that point on earth at that moment in time to do something worth remembering worth a photograph or a scar.

I never be a rich man but if I live long enough Ill certainly have a tail or two for the nephews….and I dig the thought of that.”

The first Relentless Energy Short Stories film by renowned photographer and bodyboarder Mickey Smith, explores his world as a true waterman – both as an athlete and artist, and is called The Dark Side of The Lens. “Originally I planned for the film to be more anonymous, rather than biographical, an all encompassing piece, to represent the photographers keeping the surfing machine afloat”, explains Smith.

Something that offers insight into what it takes to grind out a living as a water-based photographer in the surfing industry: a short experimental glimpse at a life lived in the shadow of obsessive photographic pursuits. Some questions in the film hit home for me after my “It also gave me the chance to ask myself a few questions, like, if you’re always observing and documenting what you see and experience, are you ever truly present? Questions like that where I could step back think and then see what the answers were”, Smith says.

As well as documenting various voices and experiences across surf photography, Smith worked with Allan Wilson from the Astray Collective, who acted as Director of Photography on the project. Together they logged hours of footage across the Atlantic coastline, traveling around Ireland, Cornwall and Manchester. Shot in Super 16mm film, as well as groundbreaking work with Canon 5D mk11 Digital SLR, Smith also projected images of the huge walls of water within which he works, on to monster urban landscapes such as sky rises and castles in Manchester, as well as the cliff lines at his home of Ireland.

More from the Relentless Energy Shorts HERE

We Are Here.

The Power of a Photograph –

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1. By request of Carl Sagan, in command of theNASA spacecraft, having completed its primary mission and now leaving the Solar System, a mere 3,762,136,324 miles from Earth, to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space. This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’, is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. NASA acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth. From Voyager’s great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera! Earth was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun.

This blown-up image of the Earth was taken throughthree color filters — violet, blue and green — and recombined to produce the

color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification

Subsequently, the title of the photograph was used by Sagan as the primary title of his 1994 book.He reads an excerpt of that book set to clips from some of histories most popular films (one of our most dramatic, diverse, and popular mediums of human artistic expression) set to the atmospheric music of Mogwai –  perfect for this sort of philosophic theme. (a film by David Fu – www.palebluefilms.com)

What power just a single image can have!

A Successful Disaster

I pulled double duty covering a disaster drill at my local university for both the newspaper and the university. Here are a few images that didn’t make it to print.

The calm before the explotion.

A the calm moments of everyone getting in place before the "bomb" exploded and emergency crews flooded the scene.

Firefighters lead each other through the halls to look for survivors of the "explosion" disaster drill.

The Flying (Golden) Tomato

No matter what you think of him, you cant deny that Shaun White is the man. Just watched Mr. Tomato win Olympic gold for a second year in a row. Congrats goes out to the best rider of all time…hands down! If you haven’t seen the Double McTwist 1260 yet I really think it’d be a good idea to check it out HERE

Shaun White pushing the crowd at the Winter X Games '10 in Aspen, Co

Shaun White pushing the crowd at the Winter X Games '10 in Aspen, Co

More photos from the the X Games to come….check out last year’s images while your at it – http://www.mikenyff.com/photography/event/xgames/

It Might Get Loud.

Jack, Jimmy, Edge

Jack, Jimmy, Edge

“If Larry had never put that message up, I would have been in another band. It wouldn’t have been U2, God knows who it would have been. Would I be doing what I am now? …probably not…I mean I could be doing anything. I could be, I don’t know- working at a bank somewhere or something.”

The Edge talking about what could have been if U2 had never met in a Dublin high school. A great moment in the film where one of the most famous guitar players in one of the most successful bands in history standing in his hold high school reflecting on if he had lived another life. Who among us will be the next? Who will find their passion, surround themselves with passion and bread passion for all mankind to see? A good lesson in following what you love and not quiting!

A great documentary about with Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge talking about their style of playing and what inspires them to make music. All three rock icons are driven by different aspirations and motivations but use the same instrument to bring to the world. A MUST watch!    …now where’s my guitar, I want to dust it off!

World’s Largest Camera – On Wheels!

CT0626_0The Cameratruck: the world’s largest traveling camera. It creates images 3,000 times LARGER than that puny little 35mm you have in your hands right now.  Creator Shaun Irving has transformed a mail truck into a giant, mobile camera obscura which means it’s basically a giant pin-hole camera with a lens one side and a 4-by-8-foot sheet of light sensitive photo paper hanging on the other….and of course on top of four wheels and an engine. When exposed to 5-30 second exposures, servepicshow_wide as giant negatives.  This camera has potential to travel the far reaches of almost anywhere and create massive images that could fill a billboard!

Here’s one of my faves

I love this project because it takes photography back to when it was primitive yet  simple. You where intimately involved in the image capture and processing (which takes a least 1/2 an hr for each image) and working in the scape of only one fixed lens at a time. Even an old military submarine periscope is getting a second life! You can actually see the brush strokes from the chemicals being applied on the edges.

Motion/Picture – Short film by Shaun Irving – explains the art and science behind his cameratruck project.

Features samples of his work. Visit http://www.cameratruck.net to learn more.

A great story from NPR….


…and still want to learn more? A great interview of Shaun…


In Honor of Earth Day

johnfrancisFor almost three decades, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globeby foot and sail with a message of environmental respect and responsibility (for 17 of those years without speaking). A funny, thoughtful talk with occasional banjo.

John Francis Walks the Earth, carrying a message of careful, truly sustainable development and respect for our planet, and truly learning and connecting to people by simply taking your time and listening. He is an inspiration to become a better human being and to truly take value in connect with others, learning to make yourself better, and finally taking responsibility for our actions and the environment!