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    Africa, Part 2 of 4: Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    Despite being one of the most achievable climbs of the globe’s seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro remains a rock to be reckoned with. Everyone who makes Kili their home for a week experiences the ills of high altitude, freezing temperatures, loss of appetite, and very few opportunities for real rest. But for those who reach the top, temporary pain dissolves into permanent victory at 5,895 meters on Uhuru Peak.

    We had a stellar team of guides and porters who ushered us up the mountain, and became memorable friends along the way. After all, how could you forget legends like Man Africa, Mr. Pole Pole, Big 6, Fabulous, and Forty-Two? Climbing mountains is rooted in personal accomplishment, but it’s the opportunity to face a challenge with others that makes it special. 

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    Africa, Part 1 of 4: South Africa

    Five years ago, our friend, Reuben Hernandez, left his 9-5 to pursue a creative career of his own making. To kick it off, he packed a bag with a camera and the longest lens he had, and flew to South Africa. It proved to be the beginning of a lucrative career and a life of travel. We liked the sound of that, so it only made sense for the launch of Klein & Corazón to begin in similar fashion.

    We met up with Reuben in Johannesburg where we were soon joined by Dudley Gradwell, retired Kruger National Park veterinarian. Dudley spent five days guiding us through the park, recounting unusual encounters with wildlife (lions pawing his tent at night, teaching his pet cheetah to hunt impala, darting buffalo from helicopters), and sharing heaps of rusk each morning. 

    We soon embarked on a multi-day drive across South Africa to our friend Garth’s family sheep farm in the Karoo. Garth is a film-maker who got his start chasing meerkats around the Namibian desert with a GoPro rig. We collected Garth and made our way to the Garden Route, winding along the southern coast past famous surf breaks and rivers that cut deep into the green earth. Destination: Cape Town. 

    Cape Town is one of those places that delivers on all levels. Dramatic landscapes, vibrant city life, serene wine country, and sharks. Flying sharks, to be exact. False Bay is one of the only places in the world where great white sharks are observed breaching as they hunt seals. We were fortunate to capture a few flying fins, then hopped in a cage to get up close and personal with the ocean’s apex predator. Recent articles point to controversy over cage diving operations, theorizing that chumming is changing shark behavior and contributing to shark-human conflict. Our own unscientific observations? Sharks are curious creatures, but there is a lot of food in the water that they’d prefer. It does make you pause a bit though when you see the shark warning flags fluttering in the wind at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg.

    A bit of pinotage and cheese in Stellenbosch, and we bid the land of Mandela auvoir. Next up, Africa Part 2: Mount Kilimanjaro.

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    Mountains of Memories

    Growing up in Idaho meant huckleberry-stained fingers, wet waders, and chairlift chats with friends and strangers alike. It’s a land of quiet magic. These days I split my time between two world-class cities: San Francisco and New York. There’s an irreplaceable energy and creativity in these places, but it’s the sort that requires you to keep a brisk pace. So it’s always a pleasure to return to roots, breath mountain air, and explore where the soul rests easy.

    – Andrew Klein, founder

     

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    Forest Lines

    While developing Klein & Corazón, we wanted to capture the places we love the most. We’re lucky to be based near the Oakland Hills, where a short run or bike ride from the office puts you into miles of canyon loaded with towering redwoods. It’s our daily escape from the urban environs below, and when the sun filters through the trees, it has an air of magic to it.

    One such sunny afternoon, we recruited a pair of slackliners to join us for a day of play in our favorite forest grove. Alex Mason and Alex Garcia are locals that have made acrobatic slacklining a regular occurrence in Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area. Turns out, Mason is also a Red Bull and Gibbon Slackline sponsored athlete, who captured the #1 world title on the competitive circuit and is one of the sport’s leading ambassadors. Both of these guys are automatic and inventive on the line –  a pure joy to watch. We created a :30 digital short and a handful of BTS still photos.

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    BTS San Francisco Skate Session

    A few behind-the-scenes images from a sunny afternoon spent skating the hills of San Francisco with our pals Ben Roy and Tyler Johnson of GoPro.

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    Into Dust – A Ballet Short

    Over a year ago I was poking around forgotten parts of San Francisco, CA on foot. I ended up in the Dogpatch, a neighborhood that has swiftly gentrified over the past few years, but still has a handful of turn-of-the-century machine shops in various states of disrepair. To call these “shops” actually diminishes their grandeur. These are brick and steel cathedrals of an industrial era. They’re full of texture, grit, and diffused light pouring through huge dusty windows – the stuff of dreams for those of us that live behind the lens. At least for now, until they turn into high-rent condos. Even more reason to preserve them in a visual story.

    I wanted to bring professional ballet dancers into this environment to create an art piece with plenty of contrast – elegant lines set against a harsh backdrop. We imagined that this was a place our dancers would discover. It would be their secret practice space…an awe-inspiring world free from distraction and judgement.

    We were incredibly fortunate to have Dores Andre and Courtney Henry to collaborate with. They’re the ultimate professionals, game for anything (including a good dose of corn starch), and brought a level of artistry that left us thinking they might just be rock stars. Hence the music. We parted ways with hours of great footage and a vision fulfilled.

    – Andrew Klein, founder

    Dancers:

    – Dores Andre (principal, SF Ballet)

    – Courtney Henry (Alonzo King LINES Ballet)

    Klein & Corazón team:

    – Creative director/producer: Andrew Klein

    – Cinematographer/editor: Ronn Seidenglanz

    – Photographer/art director: Tanya Pavlis

    Special thanks to DJ Schmolli for the mashup track! “Rock of Ages (2012)” djschmolli.com/

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