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2018 A Year in Review by Reuben Hernandez

2018 was a life changing year because I became a father and embarked on one of my greatest adventures. Leuca Louise was born on September 30th, 2018 and it was the most remarkable experience I have ever had. I couldn’t help but cry the moment she was born. We’ve experienced so much love and beauty with Leuca. Yesterday she turned three months old, and I cherish every moment I spend with her and can’t believe how fast she’s growing. Being self employed has allowed me to spend quality time with her almost everyday, and I’m absolutely grateful for that. I love taking her to the movies and taking her for walks around the neighborhood in her carrier. She usually passes out from the body heat. Time is finite and something that I can’t make up, so I want to be intentional about how I’m spending and prioritizing it.

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Earlier this year I was commissioned by BBC Travel to do a photo and video story for their To the Ends of the Earth series. I had the opportunity to visit Supai, the only US town that receives its mail by mule train and is only accessible by hiking eight miles into the Grand Canyon or by helicopter. I hiked more than 20 miles off the grid carrying 40 - 50 lbs of photo and video gear, food, and camping supplies for this story. It was an adventure to say the least, and the Havasupai Falls are one of the most beautiful natural wonders I have ever seen. Check out the full story and interview with tribal elder Rex Tilusi here.

I traveled to Yellowknife, Canada near the Arctic Circle and photographed the Aurora Borealis for the first time, which has been at the top of my bucket list for quite a while. I was absolutely mesmerized by the aurora and seeing the green, magenta, red, and blue colors dance above me for several days was transcendent and beyond description. Photographing in 0 degree temperatures was challenging and much colder than the temperatures I experienced in Antarctica! I am currently developing a big project related to this and more on that to come…

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I joined Filmshop, a film collective committed to developing new work through peer support and collaboration. We meet weekly to workshop works in progress and to help bring each other’s projects to life. It has been invaluable being part of a community of like minded creatives and has forced me to be productive creatively. I directed a narrative short film, which was very much a Filmshop collaboration, and it will premiere on the big screen next year. Leuca even made it to one of our Filmshop meetings!

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My biggest takeaway this year is that life is beautiful and miraculous in a way that I have never experienced. Seeing Leuca being born and spending time with her has been extraordinary and wonderful. It's hard to believe that a year ago Leuca didn't exist. Now that she's here, my priorities have shifted and I must live in the present moment more than ever. I'm learning to be patient and focus on the big things that matter in life. According to my Dad Day instructor, being patient with Leuca is one of the most important things I could do for her development (patience is also required in many aspects of my work). He also said to be on time and I could definitely work on that. Our time is valuable and finite, and some would argue it's the most valuable thing we have to give. I don’t want Leuca to look back and wish I was around more. Going forward I'll have to live a more structured life to prioritize my time between family, work, personal projects, and exercise/dance/self-care.

Much love, peace, and Happy New Year to you all.

All My Best,
Reuben