Lessons Learned While Recording a Grand Canyon Expedition

Lessons Learned While Recording a Grand Canyon Expedition

Grand Canyon National Park is nothing short of epic. With rich natural history and mind-blowing scenery, most people have at least heard of this natural wonder. But who has tried to capture the Canyon's beauty and grace (Many!)? And who has done it successfully? That's open to debate.

Meet Max Romey: he is an independent filmmaker who focuses on tying together the human element with the natural world in his adventurous and often humorous productions. He grew up traveling with his family as his dad took different positions around the country as a biologist. When Romey was young, his playground was large, natural landscapes like the vast desert and deep canyons. Due to severe dyslexia, words were never the best medium to share his passion and love for the outdoors. Instead, Romey dove into the world of sketchbooks, watercolors and eventually photography and videography to express the way he sees our planet. "The camera kind of unlocked everything," said Romey. "But whether its watercolor, sketching, or filmmaking and photography, I'm just trying to tell a story." Earlier this year, Romey floated down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in an attempt to tell the tale of his adventure and to share the magic of the Grand Canyon.

Within the first few days, however, the Grand Canyon swallowed one of Romey's cameras. His team's raft was almost pinned against a rock in the President Harding Rapid. His GoPro Hero5 was tied to a rope, but due to the massive amount of water that poured into the raft while trying to get out of the rapid his camera was gone before Romey even knew what happened. "My Sony a6300 got soaked, too, so that lived in a towel for the remainder of the trip," said Romey. 

Down two cameras and pretty frustrated with his situation, the videographer still tried to capture the trip. But eventually, he lost all of his gear either to the Colorado River or to the extreme conditions of the Grand Canyon, such as sand or freezing water. "My polaroid died early in the trip and my other Sony a6300 had dirt and grit all over the sensor," said Romey. "I put it back in my Pelican case and it was resurrected only after the trip was over." Although his cameras were toast, Romey was able to back up his photos periodically throughout the 25-day expedition by utilizing his Gnarbox. Because of this, he was able to make a well-received and insightful video of his time in the Canyon. 

After he either lost his cameras or they became inoperable, Romey was able to truly put in effect his realization of slowing down. At the beginning of the expedition, the videographer got really excited about the "big things" like how vast the canyon was, or how large the rapids were. But Franz - a member of the trip and veteran Grand Canyon rafter - reminded Romey that the little things are what make life special. "The Grand Canyon is made up of hundreds of little memories..." said Romey. "...getting up super early and hearing a single bird's call roar through the canyon, discovering the 'gold mine' of M&Ms at the bottom of the gorp bag, or just appreciating how blue the water was and how quiet the canyon could be. Those are the things that make a place and experience feel so big." 

To view more of Romey's work, visit his website, Instagram, Facebook, or Vimeo.

All photographs are used with the permission of Max Romey. 

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1 Comment

Jen Photographs's picture

I wonder how Pentax would've fared.