In my last newsletter I was headed off for shoots in China and Japan. However, due to the tragedy in Japan and the subsequent nuclear fallout, I decided to extend my stay in China. There were too many adventures to mention but one highlight was having an opportunity to spend two nights with cormorant fishermen at work. The fishermen hang lanterns from the front of their bamboo rafts and the light attracts the fish. The trained cormorant birds then dive down, catch the fish and bring them back to the raft. What I found particularly interesting was that the birds are trained to expect a reward after catching roughly eight fish. The birds keep track of how many fish they have caught and if the number exceeds eight without reward they will simply quit their job for the night. I like to think of the birds as being more like unionized accountants.

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Another highlight that I seriously hesitate to mention was getting up at 4am and having a local with a dirtbike drop me off at a random location 20km upriver. My plan was to spend the day hiking back along the Li River taking photos as I went. What I didn’t factor into my plan were dense bamboo forests, rice paddies and mud. After trudging along the river for several hours (and making virtually no progress) I came across a fisherman’s bamboo raft. To this day I feel terrible but I had no choice but to load my camera gear onto the raft, hijack it and paddle my way down river. Eventually I came to a small waterfall and had to hike the rest of the way. 12 hours later I was back in town, exhausted. I sure hope he found his raft.

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After more than a year and a half in production, our work on the charity nude bodypainting calendar “Fairy Tales for Adults” has come to an end. Dozens of volunteers worked tirelessly sewing costumes, building sets, modeling, designing and applying makeup, lighting, crafting prosthetics and constructing various special effects. All proceeds go to support patients and families suffering with ALS. Calendars can be purchased at www.fairytalesforals.com   (I actually just ordered a bunch myself for stocking stuffers!)

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Last week I returned from assignment on the islands of Kona and Kauai. I am now displaying some of these new images in the “Travel & Tourism” section of my recently-updated website. If you have a chance to check them out, please visit www.shawntalbot.com

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I would like to take this opportunity to brag about one of the companies that we have had the pleasure of shooting for these last two years. For the second year in a row, the images we have shot for Valley Pool and Spas have helped them to claim top prize at the International Pool and Spa Awards. This is the world’s premier awards show for exceptional pool design and construction. This does not  even mention the plethora of other awards that Gene and his team have won this year. Way to go guys!

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I want to say many thanks to all of the fantastic companies we have had the pleasure of working with this year. There are too many to acknowledge individually but you know who you are and we really look forward to hopefully working with you again in the New Year. I also look forward to seeing many friends and colleagues in the boating industry at the 2012 Toronto International Boat Show.

All the best to you and your family over the holiday season!

Best Wishes,

Shawn and The Team (David, Angela, Aaron and Mark)