Okay, Here We Go...


Okay, Here We Go..
Each year I make a point to look back at the year. I want to understand what happened over the course of the year and what it meant to me. I want to revisit the moments I was given and truly prepare to move forward into the next year with nothing but appreciation for where I've come from. In 2012 I edited together a video of footage from the year and titled it "Retrospective" with the thought of looking back with appreciation in mind. At the time, I couldn't really believe the opportunities I was given to create projects for people and clients I truly admired. I wanted nothing more than to show them my gratitude for the amazing year. In 2013 I took a massive leap of faith by leaving my career as a film instructor at a local tech school. I went full-time with my company and ambitiously plunged into the year following the wind and will to whatever interesting opportunities presented themselves. At the end of 2013 I titled the end-of-year reel, "Prospective" with the idea that from here, we as a company are looking forward. We have the dedication and perseverance to take on great things. With what I believed to be the proper amount of fear and risk, I thrashed forward into 2014 with blind hope that everything would connect. I pursued every opportunity that seemed to pair with my vision. I took on additional projects such as a collaborative live performance with many of my talented musician friends showcasing our art from the last 10 years and added a small component within the company to help non-profits tell their stories. I was given several opportunities to travel around the world and engage with new people and cultures. Those international experiences shook my understanding of who I am as a person and how the world around me works. 
It's nearing the end of 2014 and I'm now looking back over the year. I wish I could say I have a clear idea of where this is all going. The year has taken me on a ride that I can't even begin to understand, let alone explain. Over 2014 I feel as though I've been humbled amid the experiences that have been presented to me. To say "thank you" would indicate that I've deserved such opportunities, although, I'm not sure what else to say. I've spun in circles looking at what the year has brought and can't help but wonder what I should have done differently, if anything, to help me know where to go. I'm left with nothing but the realization that I couldn't have functioned on any level without my team. My amazing staff that means more to the companies' success than I ever could. Their friendship and collaboration has been the staple to my ability to survive the endeavors we continue to take on. My wonderful girlfriend has inspired me to continue believing in what I'm doing. As well traveled as she is, she helps me begin to understand a more clear global view. My awe and admiration for her has encouraged me to become a better person each day. After experiencing parts of the world where fighting for your life is daily routine, my love for my family and friends has intensified. My son has never felt so precious to me. My heart aches to think about the hundreds of children I've crossed paths with over this last year that don't have even a portion of the simple, yet comfortable life I'm able to help provide my son. As an entrepreneur, every element of my personal life naturally seeps its way into the decisions I make professionally, steering me toward connecting with things that align with my life's exposition. As 2014 is nearing its end, I feel a little tossed and tumbled. I've spent a lot of time in my head wondering what to do next. What's the next step? After some thought, I've realized, I have no idea. My father once told me when I was about 11, "All you can do, is do what you do, and do it well, but you can't do everything". Looking back over the year with that in mind, I think I've thought of a title for 2014's end-of-year reel. 
Watch for "Receptive" on January 1st, 2015.

--Charley Voorhis

Vietnam - Hearts Around the World

I recently had the opportunity to do some work in Vietnam.  I traveled with a humanitarian organization called Hearts Around the World based out of Connecticut.  It’s a group of cardiac medical professionals that volunteer their time to do educational based work in hospitals in 3rd world countries.  They help facilitate open heart surgeries, echo scans and many more procedures that I can’t even begin to explain. Let me just say that I saw some things that I can’t un-see. My heart aches for the people of Vietnam that are in need of medical help. My world view has been broadened and challenged on many levels after experiencing some of the things on this trip.  Watch for the finished video that I’ll be sharing later this month.  

Please visit heartsaroundtheworld.org

Click here for more photos

Bukeye, Burundi // June 2014

I recently embarked on my first of hopefully many journey’s to Africa. I traveled with Oliver of Olympia Coffee Roasters in Olympia Washington. We traveled to Rwanda for a couple days then dropped down into Burundi for the remainder of the trip. My assignment was to capture the process of coffee farming and production to help tell an evolving story that is in development between Olympia Coffee Roasters and Long Miles Coffee Project. I will be posting the first installment of this evolving story in the very near future. These are some photos that I captured along the trip, I shot with Canon DSLR's and a family of pro series Tamron Lenses. I can’t wait for the opportunity to return to Africa.

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A Week in Haiti

I just finished a week long shoot in Haiti. My assignment was to gather footage for a project that our friends at North 40 Productions started 2 years ago about the Wenatchee Rotary's clean water project in Haiti. I slung my trusty 5D and 7D, loaded with the new Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC and the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 VC. These lenses as a pair are perfect for the fast pace documentary workflow. Shooting handheld with the VC feature on both lenses opened the opportunity for me to get smooth and stable footage. I've compiled a collection of photos that only scratch the surface of my experience among the wonderful people of Milot Haiti.  At a later date I will share the video that will emerge from the hours of footage captured while on this trip. The post production will be done by North 40 as a continuation of their Haiti story from 2 years ago.

Click here for more photos

How Wolves Change Rivers

As I've stated in previous writings, my true passion for production lies within capturing nature and landscapes.  Though it's not a consistent source of income, every once in a while cool opportunities present themselves. Recently Sustainable Man, a website that engages and informs people of sustainable ways of life, took notice in my Yellowstone and Grand Teton footage.  They’ve included it in a short documentary titled “How Wolves Changed Rivers.”  In recent history there has been a lot of conflict and difference of opinion around whether protecting wolves is more harmful than good. Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 after a complete extirpation from 1872-1926. Wolves were considered an undesirable predator in the mid west do to their threat on cattle and other livestock.  After wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in ’95 they quickly began to thrive, perhaps too quickly and un-naturally. Some people argue that there are too many wolves and in result, elk and moose numbers are significantly low, while others argue that over longer periods of time, the natural environment favors species to thrive in waves. If the elk and moose numbers get low that means less food for the wolves and naturally their numbers will begin to decrease allowing elk and moose to begin to rise again.  Some believe the only unnatural part to this whole equation is the livestock that resides within and just beyond wolf habitat which is where the extirpation came from in the beginning.

Amongst all the dramatic tension, I’m happy to provide content that helps tell the wolves story. I’m always honored to include my footage in films that promote natural spaces and an appreciation for wildlife. I applaud Sustainable Man's mission to help people see a more dynamic wolf.

Prospective | Moving Forward... 2013 Reel

In June 2013 I resigned my teaching position at Wenatchee Valley Tech to pursue running Voortex Productions full time. It was a move I had dreamt about making for a long time, it just took time to muster up the courage to follow through with my decision. It’s been six months, so of course I’m still just getting started, but I haven’t looked back. I’ve enjoyed the process of turning what was previously my part time, freelance operation into a team of five crew members in a three room office.

This coming stage of developing the company into a sustainable machine is in forward motion. We’re focusing our efforts on building a company that evolves quickly along side our clients and strives to achieve ambitiously high goals. At the end of 2012 we titled our demo reel “Retrospective” in appreciation for how far we’ve come and the strong relationships we’d built along the way. Now at the end of 2013 we’re looking forward. We’ve titled our ’13 reel “Prospective”. We hold our current relationships on high while seeking to build more. We’ve lofted our goals while moving steadily forward and we’re striving to do better productions while staying true to our core values.

So please join us this year as we create all new, exciting video content in 2014!

Primordial - Yellowstone / Grand Tetons

Primordial was shot with my trusty 5DmkII, 7D's and my family of Tamron Lenses… While on my way to teach a workshop at The Black Hills Photo Shootout in South Dakota for Outdoor Photo Workshops, I took an extra 8 days to stop in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I had always wanted to visit Yellowstone, but in my countless trips to South Dakota I had never dropped south of I-90 for the Yellowstone experience. To be honest, I think I was nervous. Partly because of the mystifying nature of the landscape but also I felt that once I visited I would never want to leave, or that perhaps it wouldn't meet my expectations. I visited Yellowstone alone and I think for my first time, that was the way to go… Though, I was nervous, I made a point to be an opportunist and go out of my way to experience the true nature of the land to the best of my availability's. For the 3 days I was in Yellowstone, I spent most of my time trying to dry off after countless storms would roll in and swallow the caldera then roll out and give me sunshine with dark clouds looming on the horizon. I've never been afraid of lightning until this trip. Those three days introduced me to the power of Yellowstone's nature, though that was just a small taste. I would ambitiously hike out to a vantage to try and film a lightning strike until on the second day a massive bolt stuck the ground 75 yards in front of me. I had never heard anything so loud and the shape of the bolt burned into my retinas for 3 or 4 seconds. I felt a slight wave of heat radiate past me and I thought, "Ok, I'm done!" I was then officially afraid of lightning and I did my best to keep my distance. After Leaving Yellowstone I went down to the Grand Tetons (just south of Yellowstone) to meet my brother and his friend, Peter. They are both very experienced nature and wildlife photographers while I consider myself a "green horn" if you will. It was interesting to just listen to them as they worked out their strategies behind capturing wildlife. I especially enjoyed their wildlife close encounter stories from over the years. A spark to film the natural world was lit in me over the course of this trip. Though I'm happy with the video, it really just scratches the surface of how the trip really felt. Stay tuned and I hope to have a lot more nature to share. -Charley Voorhis

Wine Film - Soul of the Vine - trailer

We've just started production on a wine film revolving around Wine Yakima Valley AVA. I'm really excited about shooting content that embodies so much passion, hard work and expertise. I love going into projects like this feeling extremely naive about the topic. I get free schooling from some of the most educated in the world at what they do. I feel challenged to raise the bar amongst experts. It's pretty humbling to learn how much I don't know about agriculture, wine and life in general.
Watch for the full film in November!

Introducing Tamron's SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD

I’m working with Tamron Lenses on a variety of projects, and they just recently sent me their SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD to put to the test in the video environment. I shoot a fare amount of photos, but I really focus on the video mode of my Canon 5D and 7Ds. For the last few years I've been shooting with Tamron's 28-75mm F/2.8 and though I've loved it's simplicity and sharpness, It lacked image stability, IS, which Tamron calls Vibration Control, VC. I was often limited to shooting video on tripods, or other stabilizing rigs, (which was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced me to shoot with more preparation and planning instead of just from the hip) but I would often find myself in situations, (following workers through coffee estates in Central America) where I needed to move quickly and capture video at an uncontrollable pace.  Keep in mind, I'm speaking from a video perspective, but the stabilization is also extremely beneficial to photographers. It will allow you to shoot handheld in even lower light. It gives an extra 3 stops of handheld shooting in low light, and perhaps more if you have your yoga breathing techniques dialed, which I don't.

Tamron has truly answered one of my gear prayers by releasing their 24-70 F/2.8 VC! While Canon has had a version on this lens for years, but never with stabilization, they are now on their second generation of this lens, and still, no stabilization! Not to mention they're wanting $2,299 for it.  While Tamron is able to get theirs in your hands at $1,299, with VC!   

How does it compare to Canon's? They're both built extremely solid and out of high quality, durable material. They both produce an extremely sharp image and they both have impressively fast, quiet auto focuses. But for me, the big separation between the two versions is stabilization. Tamron's VC opens a whole new realm for high caliber video and photography in low light. Not to mention the $1,000 you'll save that could go toward Tamron's 70-200mm F/2.8 VC.    

There are a few comparisons of Canon and Tamron's 24-70 F/2.8 out there on YouTube and they all say basically the same as I just shared, though some people claim the Canon is sharper around the edges, but if so, BARELY, and you need to zoom in 200% to even see it, That doesn't come even close to outweighing Tamron's VC and price point. Tamron has created and extremely powerful tool for capturing high-end content in a variety of environments and situations. I have a new "go to" lens!   

Great job and thank you Tamron! I can't wait to share this lens in my future talks and workshops

Caffe Mela Day in the Life - 13 hour 1 take

Caffe Mela Day in the Life - 13 Hour 1 Take AND Behind the Scenes from Voortex Productions on Vimeo.


The Mela 1 take was a project I wanted to try for a long time, and I'll say at this point it's been the most fun headache I've ever had.  I don't think you could ever really plan enough for a project like this and at some point we just had to say, "Okay, lets shoot it"
It was a first for everybody involved, which made it exciting and after doing this I hope to explore other ways of combining mediums of storytelling. 
We knew early on that we wanted to use Lemolo's music, but which song?  We conceptualized a few different ones and they all worked really well in their own way, but "Letters" stood out beyond the rest... It had the variety that would allow us to synchronize video, time-lapse and hyper lapse with the verses and chorus in a relational way.  So we took a vote, and Letters it is! I had gotten a chance to film their enchanting music once before.  After that first show I downloaded their album and broke my phone, car stereo and all my pairs of headphones from over listening.  Well, none of that is true, but I did listen a lot and repeatedly got more and more inspired for this project.  
I think with a project of this size and conceptual complexity, theres always going to be things you'd perhaps expand on or perfect, but in hindsight, for me, this video represents more of the raw nature of our community and the collaborative efforts we share. We're in and out of each others lives so quickly, yet still so frequently.  I guess if this video captures some of that, it's successful enough for me.




I'm breaking up with Final Cut Pro...

Well my dear Final Cut Pro, we've had a great 12 years together, but it's time we go our separate ways.  I wish you luck in the future and I really hope that you seek some professional help to look at your brain.  I feel that I've gotten to know you well enough over the years to be able to tell when something is wrong… The changes you've made to your personality has been surprising to say the least… I'm just glad you have a whole new group of friends and I know they will continue to download you and share the file with all their friends for years to come… Though, at some point, you may want to consider evaluating your self worth.  Easy and accessible will only get you so far before it begins to turn on you and degrade your value.  I'd hope that you'd wish me success with my new partner… Adobe and I have began seeing each other on a regular basis and it's been a lot of fun discovering our new relationship.  But don't worry, the Twixtor plugin that I bought is for Final Cut Pro 7 only… So I'll still call you up when I need something to be super slow mo.  
With love, 
Charley Voorhis


Rediscovering My Passion...

It feels odd to say that I miss the 4am wake up call.  I used to crave nothing more than to wake up well before the sunrise, pack my gear and head for the hills.  I would place myself in any number of scouted vantage points or insanely find myself sneaking around the location of a recent, rumored bear sighting… (I'm not recommending sneaking up on bears!). It has been well over a year since I've been out shooting for the love of it.  The last year has been one of professional development and true self searching, but not once have I gone out for an unpaid job, or gone out for the love of capturing images. I've been far too consumed with a full-time teaching job and running a company that is growing faster than I can keep up with onside of teaching. I've found my teaching job, as fun and fulfilling as it is, to be similar to a governor on a car putting a limit on how fast I can go or, grow professionally. This September I will find myself turning 30… And, I know, I know… My older friends keep telling me I'm still young… But time doesn't stop, nor slow down. It seems 1 hour has become a fraction of one task and I feel that two weeks go by without me even noticing. I guess, when all is said and done, I want to look back and say... 

The Pace of Nature from Voortex Productions on Vimeo.


From the Source - Olympia Coffee Roasters Sourcing Coffee in Central America

Rarely have I been offered the opportunity to explore something so unique, so specialized and so beautiful.  Traveling to Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala with the only objective being to capture the process of growing, harvesting, and processing the best coffee from the region was intimidating to say the least.  I knew it was going to be fast paced and full of off the cuff decisions about how to cover different scenes and locations.  I traveled with world class coffee buyer, Oliver Stormshak, one the owners of Olympia Coffee Roasters.  Though he was a huge help to me with gear, I really wanted to be as little of a distraction as possible while he did the work he was there to do.  In the hotels we would talk and strategize for the next day's events, and while on location I would often disappear in search for content and shots. Several times I found myself alone with people who did not speak english and I (ashamed to admit) speak close to NO spanish.  Though I did learn one phrase that led to me capturing many of the portrait shots, "¿Puedo grabar" means "Can I record?" I think I said that phrase an average of 100 times a day.  I learned a lot of phrases on the spot when it came to ordering food or asking general questions, but I forgot them immediately after saying them.  I would get SO excited when I was understood trying to speak spansih.  

I have 100s of shots that did not make this first film, not because I didn’t like them, but perhaps they didn’t have the right content to tell the story.  I plan to edit together 3 more short pieces about each country specifically in the months to come.  Stay tuned, and if you’d like to learn more about Olympia Coffee Roasters visit their website.