While we travel around the country for Project Remote, many people ask us what it is we do when we get to a Remote Spot. Do just sit there and silently contemplate the remoteness? Spread our arms and twirl Julie Andrews style?
To an extent, yes, but it is much more involved than that. Due to tides, available light, topography, land use regulations, and other reasons, we frequently have only enough time to complete the documentation and then we are trekking or boating out of there.
Here is what is involved in documenting a Remote Spot:
First Ryan sets up the tripod and we either pile up all our stuff under the tripod or stash it over a hill, behind a rock, or where ever we can to keep it hidden. Ryan then captures what we call the iconic shot – this is a picture that represents the spirit of the Remote Spot and we try to aim for a combination of beauty, excellent light, and truthfulness. Sometimes the picture is of the spot itself and sometimes it is a view from the Spot. Here are a few examples (from left to right, top to bottom – Texas, North Dakota, Wyoming, Maryland, Iowa, Virginia, and Wisconsin):
The next step is to create a 360 degree video documenting what the Remote Spot looks like. Our 360 videos are typically 1 minute long and we try to rotate the camera as smoothly and slowly as possible.
One last video documentation that we do is 5 minutes of Remote Silence. The camera is still on the tripod and he points it towards a nice view (if possible) and just lets it record the sounds of the Remote Spot. This is the time he gets to stand there, or sit, and contemplate remoteness.
Meanwhile, Skyla and I are crouched under the tripod trying not to giggle or make noise or we are stashed over a hill out of site and hopefully out of sounds. Most times we have a snack while I write basic descriptive notes about the Spot – habitat type, dominant vegetation, topography, land use, elevation, etc.
I then begin the 15-min Remote Spot Assessment. I listen and observe for 15 minutes to see if I can detect any signs of human presence. Often times this comes in the form of airplanes, contrails, or road noise but it can also be tree stumps that have obviously been cut, cell towers, litter, trails, or channel markers. This is when I get a chance to contemplate remoteness…sort of…some times Skyla and I are whispering to each other or I am helping her get another snack. Its hard to be still with a two year old…or a five year old…or an eight year old…or a …
The final step in documenting a Remote Spot is our Remotest Family in … picture. We like to get a picture of the three of us on every Remote Spot. A few times we have forgotten because the bugs were bad, the light was getting low, or some other reason.
After all that documentation, it is usually time to leave. Due to topography and land use regulations we rarely get to sleep on an actual Remote Spot. So whether the tide is moving in and will block our exit or the daylight is waning and we need to get back to camp, we take one last glimpse of remoteness then turn our backs and walk away with all our experiences burned into our memories.