Learn how Nature Relaxation owner & founder David Huting discovered his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the challenges and risks he's had along the road to making Nature Relaxation what it is today! (Read time: 20 minutes)
Early Years: Growing up in Iowa & Developing My Passion for Nature
Although one could say that the town of Waterloo, Iowa doesn't quite afford the same amount of inspiration as the mountains that inspired the likes of Ansel Adams, I can vividly remember being in awe of the simple joys of Nature from a very young age: from the trees blossoming in spring to the hundreds of fireflies dancing amid the warm summer nights; from those short yet majestic weeks of autumn's passing to the quiet enveloping calm and peace surrounding a fresh snowfall: I was blessed to be able to enjoy a carefree childhood among the seasons, and my love and appreciation for Nature steadily grew over the course of more than ten years of summer vacations to the glistening lakes and pristine pine forests of Voyageur's National Park, Minnesota.
My First Camera and Discovering My Passion in the Remote Islands of Fiji College saw me packing my bags and heading to Iowa State University, where I would major in Hotel & Resort Management. It wouldn't be until my junior year at age 20 when I purchased my very first camera, which I promptly invested in after booking a semester abroad to Tasmania, Australia. The camera itself was just a little Casio Exilim 7 megapixel point & shoot, and it was among the first cameras to shoot in video. While my escape to Tasmania would eventually lead me to shoot my first nature video, it was the layover in the islands of Fiji that first intrigued and inspired me to pursue the art of capturing beautiful places on camera. Mesmerized by the remote and exotic beauty surrounding the Yasawa Islands, I quickly discovered that I was a natural at photography. There was one evening in particular that remains with me to this day:
It was late, easily past 2 AM. I lied in my hostel bed at our tiny backpacker resort in the remote, northern area of the Yasawa Islands, unable to sleep due to the hot, sticky air and occasional mosquitoes buzzing by my ears. Restless, I decided to grab my camera and go for a walk out to a nearby beach. I sat there in tropical evening breeze, alone and in complete awe, looking out at the endless lagoons which were illuminated by a sky shimmering with more stars than I'd ever seen before. As I sat there, I felt a strange feeling stir from deep within me, a feeling of excitement and wonder that followed quickly by the instinctive urge to reach for my camera, so that I could attempt to capture the moment. Minutes turned to hours as I laid there fumbling with my tiny tripod and little Casio, transfixed by the tropical night sky, seeking to preserve that fleeting moment of what felt like divine inspiration. While the images themselves were by no means professional, I felt as though something had ignited deep within me, and from that point on I knew that this is where my true passion lie. This is what I wanted to do with my life...
Filming The Very First Nature Relaxation Video in Tasmania - For Selfish Reasons After my brief but life-changing experience in the Fiji Islands, I landed in Tasmania, Australia and began a semester in the ruggedly beautiful yet remote island state. It was over the course of my time here that the initial spark of passion for capturing beauty on camera I discovered in Fiji became a full-fledged fire; but for the most part, my focus was only on taking photographs. It wasn't until some friends and I decided to back our bags, rent a car, and journey around the entire island that I decided to try shooting a video. One morning on the pristine, eastern shores of Tasmania, we awoke in the car to the soothing sound of gentle rocks tumbling as the powerful waves broke at first light. Transfixed by the vivid hues of pinks, purples, oranges and reds, I had yet another instinctive urge - this time to shoot a video. Out came my trusty little Casio and the 6-inch tripod. But my motivation wasn't exactly unselfish; in fact, it was purely selfish: I wanted to remember this sunrise forever! Plus I knew that shortly after the trip ended I'd be flying back to Iowa just as the depressing winter season would be beginning, and so my inclination was to create a video which would take me back to this idyllic shoreline. In putting the video together in my first attempt on iMovie, I decided I'd pair it with my favorite "sleepy" song, realizing that the combination of waves and ambient music was like a 1-2 knockout punch for my insomnia. Without knowing what exactly I was doing, the first ever Nature Relaxation video was born, which I decided to post on YouTube.
Not expecting anything other than to be able to share the video with my friends, I soon was amazed by the heartfelt comments that viewers started to pour in. Comments like "Before listening to it..I didn't realize how much I needed it. I feel completely different after listening to it.. like a pile of stress has been lifted......-now i cant seem to stop watching it!" or "superb, wonderfull, this is the way nature shots have to be, nice slow and long schots, i hate it when i look a movie and before the first shot reaches your eye the next shot is already coming, but this... (rated awesome), i wanna see more please youre a natural!" left me intrigued and inspired to continue what I had started! The only problem was now I had to return to finish my last year of college and then find a career!
Back to America And My Waterfall Relaxation Video That Went Viral Upon returning to Iowa State, I promptly finished my last year of school, struggling with putting my passion for video on the backburner. As the comments from YouTube kept rolling in, I decided that just before graduating, I would embark on a new adventure - this time seeing me visit a remote and elusive location hidden near the Grand Canyon: the turquoise falls of Havasupai Indian Reservation. Ready to take things to a new level, I invested in my first true DSLR prior to the trip - the Canon Rebel XTi - and embarked on the 14 mile journey. Rewarded for my efforts, Havasupai was like nowhere I had ever seen before, and it was on this trip that I simultaneously produced my first professional set of images as well as my first true attempt at a Nature Relaxation Video, which swiftly became a YouTube sensation, only further fueling my motivation to do this for a living - only problem was I was just about to graduate with my degree in Hotel Resort Management...
Reality Sets In: Graduating College and Joining Corporate America
Upon successfully obtaining my bachelor's degree from Iowa State, I landed my first "big-boy" job, a position as Sales Manager for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. Happy to flee Iowa, I did my six-month training program at the beautiful Coconut Point Resort near Naples, Florida and then transferred to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, where I slowly but surely became enamored with the beautiful city and natural beauty that Northern California afforded. As much as I enjoyed wearing a suit & tie, taking a bus to work and kicking back in my own office, the allure of the corporate lifestyle quickly faded. After only 2 years, re-inspired by the beauty of my new home in the Presidio of San Francisco and by the weekend trips to places like the redwood forests of Muir Woods, the rolling hills and vinyards of Napa Valley, the grandiose granite majesty of Yosemite and the crystal blue lakeshore of Tahoe, I finally decided that I just couldn't settle - the allure of the unknown and the unseen was just too much. So I did the unthinkable: left a high paying & promising long-term career in a down economy, spent all my savings on a professional photography & video filming setup, and moved to the other side of the world on a 1-year working holiday to Sydney, Australia. It was here where I decided I would try and pursue my true passion for exploring & capturing the world's most beautiful places.
The First Two HD Nature Relaxation Videos Produced After Quitting My Corporate Career:
Life Down Under and Landing the "Dream Job"
It wasn't long after relocating to the beautiful Northern Beaches of Sydney (near Manly Beach) that I quickly realized I was going to need to find some work to keep my savings from running dry. Struggling to find a position that would utilize my newly acquired set of professional camera gear, I settle for a position as an interior painter. After a few months, eventually I was able to land a position that would at least help grow my expertise in cameras and print production: the store manager of a Kodak Camera store in a small shopping centre. Mundane as though it was, the pay was great, and I was adjusting well to the 38-hour work week and 4 weeks of paid leave that all Australians enjoy. I was doing so well that my employer offered to keep me on long-term and even went so far as to sponsor my visa - meaning I could stay in Australia and eventually obtain my citizenship after working for them for 3 years! But, as fate would have it, just after finishing all the paperwork, I received a new and far more exciting employment opportunity: a paid position as an international destination cinematographer. Coincidentally enough, my first shoot saw me returning to the islands that originally inspired me: Fiji - only this time on a two-week trial shoot to see if I had what it took! Torn between a cozy existence in the Land Down Under and the opportunity to see the world and hone in my skills as a one-man film crew, I did what any 23 year old would have: jumped on the opportunity!
Videos & Images Shot While on My First Paid Shoot to Fiji:
My Whirlwind Tour As An International Destination Photographer Impressed by the results of my trial shoot in Fiji, I was promptly offered a full-time position which would begin with me embarking on a 3-month long adventure through the iconic cities in Europe, such as London, Paris, Nice, Rome, Venice, Prague, Amsterdam, and many more, followed by my return to America, where I would next embark on a 2 1/2 month adventure beginning in the stunning American Southwest. From there, I ventured west to California and up the coast from there, stopping at every national park and major city on the way up to Vancouver, and finally back through the Dakotas to the likes of Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Park. I even did a double tour in the awe-inspiring rockies of Canada, beginning in Banff and following along the iconic Icefield Parkway to Jasper, where the mountains seemed to tower higher than anything my eyes had seen before. But although on the surface this position seemed to be the pinnacle position for an adventure-seeker like myself, I began to feel as though I wasn't truly following my passion, which is for Nature - not tourist destinations. While many of the places I toured while filming were magnificently beautiful, I found myself all-too-often stuck filming in shopping malls, zoos, busy city tourist traps and the like. Although I had advanced my technique to an incredible level of speed and steadiness, I felt as though the flame that was my passion was starting to become exhausted. What I did next would leave many asking me..."You did what!?"
A few of the videos I would later produce from the tour:
Quitting the "Dream Job" and Relocating to the Land of Endless Summers Upon completing my whirlwind tours spanning a good majority of Europe, the West Coast of the USA, and several locations in between, I found myself ready to take my pack off and stay in one place for a little while. So when winter's first frost showed it's freezing face in Iowa - where I was resting in between my travels - I decided to throw everything I owned into my Ford Explorer ("Eddie") and head to the land of endless summers: San Diego. Partially because I was seeking a city better than San Francisco and Sydney, and partially because my twin brother was already living out there - I headed west and never looked back! Upon arriving, I quickly fell in love with the southern California lifestyle. But it wasn't long until I was informed that my travels were due to begin again, and the next tour was shaping up to make my first tour look like a walk in the park: the company I was shooting for wanted me to get ready for a 3-year-long tour of the top 50 cities in the world! Offered a position that most would do nearly anything for, I once again did the unthinkable: I quit! Burnt out on shopping malls and Sea World, I decided that I'd instead try and pursue my passion for Nature instead. Founding Nature Relaxation and Epic Wall Art: And Recognizing the Healing Powers of Nature Video Upon declining a position that many would give anything for, I found a place in South Mission Beach, invested in a new iMac, and purchased the domains www.NatureRelaxation.com and www.EpicWallArt.com. Thanks to the huge collection of videos and images I was sitting on from around the world, I decided that I would attempt to create one website to share and sell my high definition nature videos, and another to sell my high-resolution images in the form of epic-sized wall art. This was in 2011. Since that time, it's been a never ending roller coaster ride, filled with its share of ups and downs - but mainly ups. One need not browse either website long to realize that neither of them were made overnight. After enjoying a nice sales boost by Groupon for Epic Wall Art, I started to lose focus on Nature Relaxation, until being approached by various companies in the healthcare industry. Approaching me with the compliments that my work was the best they could find, I soon found myself shifting gears and editing long-play videos designed for patients in hospitals! Not only did the hospitals love it, but so did my fans on YouTube - once again I found myself amazed by the response! At last! I knew I was really onto something, and ever since that point, my goal has been to stay a leader in the field of Nature video production designed for healthcare and relaxation!
Biking the California Coast, Conquering Kauai's Napali Coastline, and 3 Months Living In Fiji Later... Instead of making this the world's longest biography, I will share some of the videos I produced during these travels:
Kauai's Na Pali Coast: (of which I will soon be releasing a 6-hour long pure nature video)
The Beautiful Hidden Islands of Northern Fiji (of which I have only released a portion of the content from):
Continuing to Pioneer Nature Videos For Relaxation: Switching to 4K UHD with the Canon 1DC As with all technology, what is new becomes old very quickly. Surprisingly though, my trusty Canon 5D Mark II served me my entire career up until mid 2014, with the release of the Canon 1-DC, which delivered on the latest and greatest in video resolution: 4K. Although carrying a hefty pricetag I could barely afford (I'm still paying of the credit card loan I purchased it on), I knew that to remain on top of the Nature video scene, I needed to upgrade. And so I did. The results - although limited primarily to my home state of California for the time being - speak for themselves:
A Preview of the New 4K Nature Relaxation Videos (be sure and load in 4K)
- Written in August 2014
MY FAVORITE QUOTES I READ WHEN IN NEED OF INSPIRATION:
All-time favorite: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."-Mark Twain"
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." -John Muir