Sunday, December 20, 2009

You're still looking here?

Go on over to, that's where all the new stuff is at! I've made 3 new videos since the Nikon one, check them out over there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nikon Festival Video

Make comments and watch it here:

Or go over to my new website and see what I have to say about it, and watch it there too:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Blog Post (Dec. 5)

There's a new blog post with pics over at:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2 New Videos

Since my last post here I've completed two other videos for contests.

You can see them at my new website:

Also, voting has begun for the Mountain Dew contest, go to the link below to vote for my video 3 times a day until Dec. 13th. I could have a chance at producing a real Mountain Dew commercial with a budget of $200,000 ! ! !


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mountain Dew Commercial

Check out my latest Hang Gliding commercial on my new website. It's for Mountain Dew.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nov 19th flight | Video

Check out the new website for more details:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Speed Run and the 7D at night

Check out the new blog HERE to see more pictures.

Did a speed run yesterday to get some footage for a project I'm working on and used the Canon 7D last night around a fire to see what it could do in low light. I was pretty impressed and am excited to keep using it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Blog! is my new website and blog. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but thought I'd go ahead and announce it.

I will still be keeping this blog and will probably double post for a little while here and over there. Once I make the move over there, this blog will still be up so you can see all the past entries.

I have posted a poll to the right there for you to vote which one you like better.

See my twitter feed to the right as well for updates - back to working on the new blog, and a couple other project! (I was out yesterday capturing some time-lapse sequences in Chattanoooga to put into a time lapse video - stay tuned!)

one scene that was timelapsed yesterday

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Upcoming New Site | HP Laptop Review

Very quickly: you may have noticed that you were redirected to (edit: I changed it back for now). I am working on making the switch to Wordpress and that website address. It might be a little while before I do this, but wanted to give you a heads up.

I'm looking forward to having multiple pages, like 'Blog,' 'Photos,' 'Videos,' etc. so that it will be a little more organized and easy to see the content. Also, it will be a good showcase and contact point for my business, which I am tentatively calling Lucas Ridley Studios.

In addition, I'm going to be reposting all my videos to a new Vimeo account because of the functionality and quality that they provide.

My new laptop (read below for a quick review!)

Both photos are of one of my dogs, Dudley, both taken with the Canon 7D and 15mm-85mm lens

So part of my HP winnings was an Artist Edition laptop, a Pavilion dv6 to be specific. And here are my impressions of it.

I thought all laptops were created equal, but this thing has a lot of little surprises on it!
For example:
  • HDMI output
  • built-in webcam
  • eSATA connection (for external hard drives)
  • button to turn off the touch pad mouse
  • altec lansing speakers
  • desktop theme that matches exterior artwork on case
  • wireless remote control that has a storage compartment on the side of the laptop
  • a full keyboard, with numlock pad to the right
  • very smooth material used on the mouse touch pad and keys
  • glossy screen
  • smart battery design - lifts the rear of the computer up to help keep it cool and provide air circulation for the fans
It has a Duo Core 2.3 GHz processor and 4GB of RAM. I'm really happy with it and was able to get the free upgrade to Windows 7 for it, that is in the mail and coming soon. Once I recieve that I will be uploading all my software to it and putting it to the test with the Adobe Creative Suite and Cinema 4D.

Right now my current projects include working on 3 new video contests, migrating to a new blogging software and personal domain name, time-lapse videos with the Canon 7D, still photography, and a ton of tutorials I have piled up in my bookmarks that I need to get through.

Tomorrow morning I hope to be flying! Follow me on twitter or see the widget for my tweets in the right side bar in this blog for little updates, like a picture of launch tomorrow before I go fly and stuff like that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Soaring Life on Youtube | Updates

I posted my submission into the Stella Artois Film contest to Youtube so it would provide for easier viewing now that the contest is over.

There are pictures on Life magazine's website of the announcement of the winner. I was so close to being that guy in the picture with Kevin Spacey holding a check for $50,000! But, I am very happy with my Top 10 finish in the contest and am looking forward to hearing about this next short film project that I did for the LG contest. (see that video HERE)

The Doritos contest submission period is over and it looks like there is about 4,000 entries. I've seen some that are really bad, and I've seen some that are really freaking well shot and probably had a budget of thousands of dollars just for props, costumes, etc. See mine HERE.

Although views and comments don't technically count for anything - I'm currently standing at number 204 of most viewed with 2,059 views. Pass this link around to get other's to watch:

Both the LG and Dorito's contest will announce it's finalists in early January. Until then I have a couple of other smaller projects I'm working on.

Oh, and if you need a laugh, a friend sent this to me and I thought it was pretty funny - click HERE.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recent Pictures and Higher Res Doritos Vid

Thanks to Eric for sending me this pic of him and me (I'm to his right). I look a lot further away than I was because of the fisheye lens.

Driving to launch with the sunsetting and the glider on top of the car.

Scott flying his bag

Scott again at sunset.

My dog drying off, after hiking at Cloudland Canyon.

Cloudland Canyon State Park waterfall.

Here's a higher resolution version of my Doritos entry. I would still encourage you to check it out on the contest page so it will up my views and make a comment if you feel like it on the contest video page here:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Super Bowl Here I Come!

It's official - I'm in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest!

Fresh off a submission into the LG Film Fest (see yesterday's post) I knew I couldn't pass up this year's Doritos contest, especially after the Herbert Brothers won a million dollars last year.

So here's the setup - there is no public voting unless/until the judges pick me as one of the 6 finalists in January. If I make it to the top 6 I'm going to need all the votes I can get so stay tuned here (subscribe using the gadget in the sidebar to the right) to see if I'm a finalist. The voting then chooses the top 3 of those 6 to be played during the Super Bowl and the chance at some huge money if it's rated on USA Today's Ad Meter to be in the top 3 of all the Super Bowl Commercials.

I hope you enjoy it, leave comments here, or even better, over at the contest website at this address:

Any views watching it through the player below won't register in their view counter on the contest website, so head over there to rack up my numbers, make comments, and make me look good to the judges!

Thanks to David, Scott, Eric, Kurt, Sarah, Pablo, Yuki, Diana, and Angela for helping me make this idea come to life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Leg To Fly On Short Film

(Watch the video at the bottom of this post or HERE)
So I emailed the contest people and asked if I could just upload this video to my personal youtube account so I didn't have to wait to show it to people - and they said that was fine. It was kind of surprising they allowed it because it is usually a no-no.

Here's some background/behind the scenes info on the film. It is for the contest (their youtube page). There are four categories and this one is in the sports category. There is no public voting for this video so celebrity judges like Jamie Foxx are going to be picking the winners, only one from each of the four categories. 3 will receive $10,000 and one will receive $100,000 (Canadian dollars).

I got home on a Monday morning from the Santa Cruz Flats Race and found out about this contest that same night. Slept on the idea, which the theme for the contest is an inspiring human story and/or pertaining to LG's logo of 'Life is Good.' So I thought about Tip Rogers who is a really nice guy and since the Treetopper's Team Challenge was going on that week I thought he might be down this way flying with everyone so it would make it easier to film him. I contacted him and he agreed to let me film him for this so I went the very next day to film. He was only down for that Tuesday, Wed., and Thursday, so it was as quick of a turn around as it could be. One of my college buddies Matt Phelan created the music for it after just some quick messages to him about the kind of feel I was going for and I think he did a great job.

Please leave your comments here and especially on the youtube page for this video, please go there and rate it and make comments on it. While this doesn't have any public voting I think it couldn't hurt if I had a bunch of comments and good ratings on the youtube page of this video.

Feel free to pass it around, copy and paste this address and email it around:

Also stay tuned in here, bookmark this blog or whatever, for updates on my upcoming projects. I should be posting my Doritos contest commercial within the next few days as well. In addition, I think I will be reposting my other short film "A Soaring Life" on youtube, now that the Stella Artois contest is over, for easier viewing.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More, New photos | update

Below are some more photos I took the day before yesterday from the keel with the Canon 7d. I have more but I'm going to save them to see if I can get them in the National magazine.

Yesterday I tried using my spare downtube coming out of the nose for a camera mount, but with the 7D out there it just seemed so heavy. I had ankle weights on the back of the keel to counter balance. I took it all apart and I'm glad because by the time I launched there was a slight tail wind.

It would have been some great pics though because I just did a speed run right on the trees at sunset. Oh well, today I might try the same camera mount setup, but with my point and shoot, so it won't be as heavy.

The Doritos commercial is essentially done. I should be submitting it to the contest within the next day or two and then I'm thinking it will take at least 5 days or so for it to show up on the contest site. So stay tuned for that.

Oh, and Stella Artois finally announced who won their contest (not me) - HERE.

Getting ready to launch (see the newer pilot that had just launched to my right).

Getting in my harness after launching

Lookout Mountain Flight Park's ramp, looking towards the end of Lookout Mountain.

Moon in the background.

My favorite way to land - fast on final.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The Doritos commercial is almost finished, but wanted to give a quick photographic overview of what I've done with the Canon 7D so far (besides shoot the Doritos commercial with it).

It's a great camera and really worked well for my purposes of filming the Doritos commercial. Stay tuned for that, I'm pretty happy with how it is turning out. And keep watching here to see when my short film 'A Leg to Fly On' is post on the LG contest - and you'll be able to watch that from here too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doritos Filming Finished

Just a quick update to let you know the filming for Doritos commercial went great, thanks to Diana, Scott, Eric, Kurt, Pablo, Yuki, and Angela.

It was a fun time and now it's on to editing . . .

Stay tuned for more updates and the finished video within the next week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doritos Video Still Shot

I like to keep you guys up to date on what I'm doing and below is a still shot from the Doritos commercial I'm working on for the 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest.

This contest is huge, you may have heard last year that the Herbert Brothers who entered this contest with their video, was played during the Super Bowl, and was rated the best commercial so Doritos gave them a million dollars! Same deal this year, except if you come in 2nd or 3rd on the USA Today Ad meter you get $600,000 and $400,000 respectively (last year you only got money for 1st on the Ad meter).

I am using Magic Bullet Looks to color grade the footage taken, I did a little split screen on the image below of before (right) and after (left) color grading. You can see it gives a little more professional look and feel to it (it's hard to tell by looking at this small image, click on it to see it bigger).

I also just wanted to add for the techie people that I'm using a trial version of Cineform NeoScene to transcode my video before I start editing. I heard it would make previews in the software run smoother and export easier while maintaining quality - and that's exactly what it does, it is going to change the way I edit! Now I can actually see a preview of what I'm editing instead of jerky still frames! I was a little concerned at first because playing the transcoded file by itself it made any motion in the footage seem interlaced and had these pink lines where motion was, but once in editing it's not there and I export to WMV files from the editing software and it works great

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ridge Soaring Fun

Took the 7D on a little ridge soaring flight today. I had given my Joby gorillapod mount to Tip for letting me make a film on him so I just taped the camera down around the keel wires.

Friday, October 23, 2009

7D First Impressions

It came!

I've had the camera only a few hours, the most of which the battery was charging. But I am really excited about this camera!

I'm happy with my lens choice of the 15-85mm, it seems like that is going to be a good range for me to use for an all-purpose lens. Luckily, I have a nikon to canon lens adapter so my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 will work on it, but I have to be dead on for the focus. The Canon lens' zoom and focus rings were a little stiffer than I was expecting, but I think its just something to get used to.

It isn't a light camera, and trying to use the zoom or focus ring while filming video is near impossible to prevent camera shake. I may invest in some rods and a focus puller. All those accessories add up quick though. Zacuto looks like they make some great products, but buying a kit would be way more expensive than the camera itself! We'll see.

I need to get used to the setup of the manual features but I like the two dials, one for the thumb and one for the pointy finger. You basically press a button for say ISO, shutter speed, or aperture and then use the dials to adjust.

Now on to trying to get the Doritos commercial together and get this camera dialed in so I can film maybe this coming Wednesday. I also got the Zoom H4n to supplement the poor audio quality that is on the dslr's these days, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet much.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lost Contest

My new brainstorming team - I might fire them though, I think I caught one of them eating their own poop during a break-time.

Well I made it as an 'honorable mention' but did not place in the top 3 (for money prizes) on the EPA Video Contest. HERE was my entry.

I just received my copy of Action Essentials 2 today, so I should be blowing stuff up in no time.

Get ready for a slew of photographs on this blog from my Canon 7D arriving in the mail tomorrow.

Lastly, I have come up with an idea for the Doritos Super Bowl Commercial contest and will be filming it using the Canon 7D, so watch out other video contesters! My brainstorming team was speechless when I told them my idea, so that's a good sign, but I'm still trying to think of more since you can submit up to 10 entries.

Stay tuned!

Edit: I just received an email from the LG contest saying they won't be posting any new videos (including my "A Leg to Fly On") for a "while" while they process the entries. So hopefully it won't be too much longer before you can watch that one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Camera in the mail!

This isn't from the new camera, that's coming Friday, just a shot from this morning.

(Warning: This could be a very boring post to people who don't care.)

After much deliberation between me, myself, and I, I've decided and bought a Digital SLR: the Canon EOS 7D with the new 15-85mm lens (or really like 24 to 138mm on a 35mm camera, so a wide tele photo lens). It should get here Friday.

It was either that ($1,700 for the body only) or a prosumer camcorder (like a Sony HDR FX100 at like $3,100), and I felt a DSLR would better suit my needs between crossing over between hang gliding things and video contests as opposed to something more expensive and heavy.

The disadvantages of course is that it is a bit big for a DSLR, and it is not a 'full-frame', but it's sensor is still large for doing video (this sensor is multiple times larger than the one in my dedicated HD camcorder, the Canon HF100, which is smaller than the smallest square in this picture compared to the APS-C sized sensor that's in the 7D). It can only shoot in 4GB increments of video (or about 12 minute clips). So no hour long interviews with this one, unless I just start and stop it a bunch.

With all the negative stuff out of the way, I'm really excited about this. It shoots 8 frames per second (fps) photographs and most importantly for me - HD video. I won't go into all the specifics, but a couple things I'm excited about is getting away from my depth of field adapter on my normal camcorder which makes the footage have a pretty bad vignette and very noisy bokeh (the unfocused portion of an image) because of the ground glass in it.

With this 15-85mm lens I think I'm going to be able to get some great pics at comps next year and of some Fall foliage while flying this year. Kraig Coombar is sending me an extra nose cone for my glider so I can make a nose camera mount and use this new camera!

The HD video has the option to shoot 60 fps (double what cameras normally do) in the 720p mode, which translates into doing some super sweet slow motions, like foot launches and landings (or whacks).

Yesterday I took a sled run with about 10 other people, felt good. Then I replaced part of the vg cord in my glider and put in a short hang strap because I removed a spacer in my Matrix Race harness in Arizona, and with the hang strap I had, my chest was on the basetube when heads down.
This shows the difference between the frayed cord and the one I was replacing it with. (Don't worry mom, I don't hang by that part).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My first 3D animation

After only a few days of watching tutorials, I came up with the few second video below. This opens up so many possibilities. I'm really looking forward to playing with this a lot more, but it is very time consuming.

I used Boujou 4 for the motion matching, and Cinema 4D for the 3D orb - notice the reflections in the orb, and it's shadow, really happy with how it turned out. That orb could be replaced by any number of things from 3d logos or text or any type of 3d animation.

This is something I am really interested in for visual effects and am inspired by the work Neill Blomkamp did in the movie District 9.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learning 3D software

Today is the first day I've begun learning 3D software and here's a still image of what I've done so far. It's a pretty slow process, but very fun and it opens up a lot of possibilities. I am using Cinema 4D.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Fat Check Came Today

I wish they sent me a check that big, below is the real thing.

I pretty much went straight to the bank as soon as FedEx dropped this off. Again a huge 'thank you' to everyone for their votes.

Just another update: My short film was received by the LG people in Canada and I'm assuming that they'll post my video up on their youtube channel in the near future, but I will repost the video here, so check back.

Right now there are only 37 videos uploaded and only a handful of them are in the 'sports' category, which is who I would be exclusively competing against in this competition. This means my odds are pretty decent so far, but I'm sure there was plenty of last minute submissions like mine. (Grand prize for this contest is $100,000 canadian dollars and there is no public voting.)

A month and a half after Stella was supposed to announce a winner for their contest and still no word. I just know I did not win (they sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me, but I still want to know who did win.)

I am wracking my brain this weekend for an idea for a Doritos Super Bowl commercial - if anyone has any great ideas but can't produce it yourself, send me a shout. It is due on 11/9 so only 3 weeks away . . . (this one has millions of dollars at stake too)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update | New Computer

Well, I thought I was being on top of things with the 'A Leg to Fly On' video, but everything has slowed down big time and I am mailing it off today and it's due Friday in Canada - it will have to be overnighted.

Basically, I was ready to mail it on Monday, but it was Columbus Day so the post office was closed. Then I had a little time to analyze the video further and there were some scenes I wanted to re-render out, and here we are two days later waiting on the last render, and I'm still not totally happy with it, the image quality, but I think as far as putting everything together it went okay.

I just customized two fairly comparable computers on Mac (MacPro Desktop) and HP's (e9180t series) website. And here is the price difference I found:
Mac = $6,280.00
HP = $1,939.98

I could buy three HP computers for the price of one Mac and they are both of similar configurations and components. I'm probably going to go with a new HP computer once I have time to sit down and look at it a little further.

Check out this video on the photographer who worked with Jonny on the Morning Glory cloud in Australia HERE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Video Blog (Vlog) Post

I'm not sure if I'll keep doing these, but I just wanted an excuse to play around and reenact a scene from Twilight that I think is funny (when it's not supposed to be).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Documentary Update

Above is a photo from yesterday created using Photomatix to combine three separate images together.

I just finished waiting an hour for a 16-second clip to render after I slowed it down and added some color. More and more this entire process seems to be like pointillism painting in that I can't see the big picture of what I'm doing most times since my computer is so slow and just to render 16 seconds takes an hour, and then oops, I needed to tweak that 16 second clip again since I couldn't play it full speed I didn't see changes that needed to be made, then there's another hour.

I should be finishing up in the next day or two.

I'm having a hard time deciding on a new computer. HP is a great buy, not expensive and good components, but Dell has better motherboard options and liquid cooling and is more expensive. Then Mac is the most expensive and I could finally get to use Final Cut Pro, but it doesn't have the option for a bluray burner or use the newest i7 processor, and did I mention it's the most expensive? Any advice? Make comments to this post and please help me decide.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Pics

Ever been cardboard surfing? Chattanooga has a couple good spots. This was at Renaissance Park. It's exactly how it sounds, you basically go sledding with some cardboard on a grassy slope, very fun!

Seriously? Has anyone else ever seen a sink like this? I could barely get my hands in the water the faucet was so close to the edge of the sink, but the sink is huge . . .

Hensons launch from last week

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Documentary Still

Here's just a quick still shot from the short documentary I'm currently working on.

It will probably be about 4 minutes long, and I have a friend working on some music for it. It's just really slow going right now with the computer. It drops out the audio randomly during editing (I guess because of memory issues) so I have to render out a full clip (that takes waiting an hour or so) then listen to it, tweak it, and repeat.

Still no check from HP yet. I sent in a W9 last week, and they said it would take a little while since this was an international contest they have to send laptops and other prizes all around the world so it might take a little while. Until then I'm stuck with this computer, that does the job, but slowly.

Monday, October 5, 2009


This phrase changed my life today (is that sad?):

run a command prompt as Administrator and enter the following:
bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVa 3072

Basically I added RAM to my computer a while back but my computer and software was not taking advantage of it until I did the above. Basically I was having to render things out at 2 seconds at a time and then combine them later - that is pretty time consuming for a 5 minute long short film.

I'm still reading reviews of the Canon 7D that just came out, but am pretty sure that is going to be my next equipment purchase.

I'll be working on Tip's documentary short all this week . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Team Challenge

Whitwell launching today

The church steeple was off of the church that lets us land in its back yard at Whitwell

I launched maybe 3rd (the two in front of me were both free flyers), right before the launch opening for everyone that was in the meet. Flew for about an hour and a half before landing, many people had sled runs, it wasn't easy to get up today, but I think some competitors made their goals for the day.

Team Challenge is awesome, just two years ago was my first one and I remember what a blast it was doing my first xc flight and having so many people to talk and share that experience with.

I really hope the USHPA sees the value of these events and promotes them with other clubs throughout the country, but keeps them separate from sanctioned competitions so that Team Challenges are clearly learning-centered events and not competitions.

Landing sequence

(Click it to see it larger)
Thanks to Jamie, here are pics put together from one day I made goal in Arizona and landed on the driving range next to the resort.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Leg to Fly On - Short Film

The film I was shooting for today, yesterday and tomorrow is for a very short (<5 minutes) video about Tip Rogers who is a fantastic and enthusiastic hang glider pilot who happens to have lost one of his legs in a boating accident many years back. It is great to get to hang around him with his very outgoing and fun personality. Stay tuned to see the short film on him.

Until then check out this sick video of Jonny flying the Morning Glory - Congrats Jonny, that looks awesome!

Road Again

I just found a new contest last night, first night back, and now I'm filming like a mad man to get it done before the deadline. Stay tuned! It's another hang gliding related one.

I'm going to Henson's tomorrow to fly with all the Team Challenge people, as well as, filming for this project. Karaoke was tonight (Tues.) at the Mexican place for all the Team Challenge people and it was a great time. Regional Director Dick Heckman had some raunchy sailor tunes he belched out acapella, lyrics too R rated to mention here...

(Picture is of sunset from Hensons ramp tonight - Tues)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Home Again

First photo taken with iphone (it's random but wanted to post it here at some point) - that is a dog in the back with a raincoat, helmet, and glasses

Google Earth view of my track log from thermaling in the start circle, and then looking on towards the first turnpoint.

In 5 days of competition flying at the Santa Cruz Flats race I flew about 272 miles and had about 18 hours in the air.

I just got done spending about 32 hours in a car non-stop driving all the way back from Arizona. Now that I'm back home it's time to start working again.

As mentioned earlier I'm probably going to be starting my own business, buying a new desktop computer and a DSLR, maybe the Canon 5d Mark2 (any thoughts or suggestions on that?).

Then I'm going to try and keep cranking out some videos and try a little more still photography.

I will probably also be heading over to Hensons to free fly with the Team Challenge people over there in the next couple of days.