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Mount Hood At Dawn, Cold-Water Surf… ‘Oregon Tough’ Is A Dreamlike Film

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Filmmaker Joshua VP relocated from Minnesota to Oregon in January, 2013. He used the cross-country move as an excuse to explore, very thoroughly, his new home state.

The result is “Oregon Tough,” an epic 4 minutes of footage that travels the state via a montage of scenes I can only compare to a dream.

We asked Joshua a few questions about the shoot and the edit, which you can watch below. He sent some feedback on the experience — the places, the people, and the raw footage from around Oregon — for the back story on the “Oregon Tough” project as a whole. —Stephen Regenold

Joshua VP: “The project was started the first month I moved to Oregon, and as far as a back story, as a video producer and editor I try to push myself every year to take on a personal project that keeps me sharp, lets me test new gear, and see new places.

I am sitting on over 3 terabytes of raw footage from the past year of testing and shooting. I shot at lesser known locations like the water spout at Thor’s Well near Yachats. It has to be one of my favorites. The feature rips at high tide and heavy waves. When I was standing in the thick of it, getting soaked, it literally sounded like cannons going off all around us!

For the waterfall shot, on top of Multnomah Falls, this is where I recently asked my girlfriend to marry me. So that particular spot has sentimental value. On that day, we hiked a crane up to the top of the falls. I was to nervous to take out a drone and zip it over the falls. I’m more experienced now with my drone, so expect to see that on my next film.

The huge surf all happened at Cape Lookout with Dan Madden and Erik Whitbrook. The night before we rode Kiwanda but the swell got huge, so we headed north to Cape Lookout. We chose that location because of the swell and wind direction being protected from the cape. Also, instead of paddling out into that wind, which was a nightmare, you would just crawl out on the rocks, swim through a kelp field, lay up on a huge rock out in the drop area, and then drop in between a bunch of rocks.

Easy right! I about nearly drown trying to swim with a camera out into the surf to get some fisheye shots, got caught in a rip tide and ruined the camera due to moisture. I was able to catch a big wave back in to shore that pretty much saved me.

The final shot at Lake Trillium near Mt Hood is with pro wakeboarder Josh Tranby. He was recovering from a knee injury, and this was going to be his first ride back from surgery. We got up at 3am and we were seeing rain and clouds on the radar the whole way up in the dark.

But when we got there about 10 people were there already out fishing at 4:30am in the fog — without any rain or clouds overhead. So we bribed a few of them to hang out for a bit. We set up our winch on the side of the lake as you can’t bring motors on the lake. The winch pulled Josh on his board. The fog lifted and one of the most spectacular golden light mornings I have ever witnessed unfolded for the shoot.”

Joshua VP is an independent filmmaker and producer in Portland, Ore. He has shot and edited multiple films for GearJunkie, including videos in our “Off The Map” and “Fast&Light” series.

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