Goh had the good fortune of landing a job with Land Rover. And I had the good fortune of keeping him company. Nobody is above a bit of gear schlep, right?
This was the brief - The idea for the shoot is for Larry Burke, the founder of Outside magazine, to drive in a LR4 to his favourite place - somewhere that means something to him. This is very much a story about him and his life, condensed into a 2-3 minute film. The location is his ranch in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
If shooting for Land Rover wasn’t exciting enough, having the opportunity to film Larry Burke at his home ranch was the clincher. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Burke, I encourage you to read about his story.
That article was my first introduction to Larry. I couldn’t help but feel this project was a serendipitous meeting of two like-minded individuals. Two guys who share this chase for adventure, who tempt fate and push boundaries, who have luck on their side but are fearless in their hard work to find meaning in life. They share a battle cry. They are birds of a feather so to speak.
How do I fit in? Under my typical role as a producer, I don’t. But I'm from the Wild West, I'm a boots and hearts country girl and I’m convincing. So off we went to Santa Fe, New Mexico!
Once there, we drove to Larry’s ranch, high in the foothills, in an LR4 along with the ad agency’s Content Director, Bill Dunn. Aside from the endless population of jackrabbits the winding and dusty roads to his ranch were uninterrupted. It was here that someone mentioned snakes. If I were driving I might have turned around but instead I quietly whispered to Goh that I was thankful he suggested I wear my hiking boots… so maybe I’m not so “country” after all.
Larry came out to greet us. He was an older gentleman with a bright smile, smaller in stature but very poised and confident looking. At first he seemed guarded but as we spent the morning on his ranch touring his rather large and impressive home, filming his horses and reminiscing over archival photos of his past adventures we definitely warmed up to each other.
Later that morning Goh and Bill sat down with Larry and interviewed him while I sat quietly to the side and listened. I won’t forget how Larry looked out over his property as he ruminated over his life - so proud, so certain of his choices – it was inspiring to see. I also couldn’t help but stare at the lines etched on his face. Each crevice a testimonial to his adventures. All indicators of a life well lived. All reminders of the kind of life I want to live.
Later that afternoon we left the ranch and took the LR4 for a spin. Goh wanted to capture the ruggedness of the landscape and the Land Rover’s ability to negotiate the toughest of terrain so left to our own devices we did some off road exploration. Goh settled with his camera atop a steep hill while I gripped the wheel, heart pounding with adrenaline, and prepared for my second career as a stunt driver. I felt like a bull rider being tossed around inside the vehicle as I crossed the rugged terrain. Pretty bad ass. At least in my mind.
It was getting close to sunset so we returned to the ranch, summoned Larry and started out on our quest to find the perfect vista overlooking the mesas. The awe-inspiring beauty made for an easy quest. We parked the Land Rover, set up our last shot and flew the drone over this Harlequin-esque scene.
We said goodbye to Larry and meandered our way back down the winding roads under the night sky to our hotel. Half asleep in the back seat I reflected on the shoot. I thought of the new camaraderie between Larry and Goh. The respect and admiration for each other and what they both do. I realized this was a serendipitous project for me as well. It reinforced my decisions over the last year to be open to new opportunities, to get outside and explore and to live this one life. I was happy I tagged along and as I dozed off the words of Larry Burke echoed in my head telling me to “live bravely”.