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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Graham

Photowalks: it all started in Tokyo

My travel photography series Photowalks just debuted on Tubi, the TV streaming app. I've got six episodes set on the Oregon Coast, the Big Island of Hawaii, Portugal, Los Angeles, Morro Bay and Catalina and Balboa Islands.

After first starting off on YouTube, it's been a long dream of mine to have the show available to TV viewers, on streaming, so I'm thrilled we're now on Tubi, as well as Google Play, Comcast and Cox video-on-demand.

How'd we get there? Like all award show speeches, there are a lot of people to thank.

Bear with me, as I'd like to give them all shout-outs right here. Why not? It's my blog.

Like the headline says, it all started in Japan, in 2018.

Things were so wacky in Tokyo, at Shibuya Square, and in Osaka, in the Dotonbori district, I had to capture it all with my camera and make a travel video.

After years of cutting tech videos, I loved the challenge, color and excitement I was seeing in Japan. Plus, it looked so cool to say at the end, "From Japan, I'm Jefferson Graham."

I showed it to my friend Bill Weiner, and while he liked it, he told me it was wanting.

“But where are the photo tips? Anyone can do a travel video. But if you do it, we expect to hear tips on how to get great photos with our smartphones.”

I took Bill Weiner’s suggestion to heart, and realized he had justification for the comments. I was the author of “Video Nation: A DIY Guide to Planning, Shooting and Sharing Great Video,” I had taught video classes, and had done zillions of articles and videos for USA TODAY about how to get better photos with your smartphone.

Another friend, Xavier in Spain, had asked me about visiting L.A., and where he should go. Like many overseas travelers, he had an ambitious schedule that would knock most of us out. He wanted to do L.A., Malibu, the South Bay, Disneyland, Las Vegas, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, plus San Francisco in about 2 weeks.

I wondered if I couldn’t do a YouTube series aimed at someone like Xavier, showcasing the best spots to visit while here, and thus making his planning easier. And throw in photo tips for Bill.

So I grabbed another friend, Tony Prince, and asked him to join me at the Hollywood Walk of Fame to try a travel video with photo tips.

We spent the day in Hollywood exploring and had a total blast. After years of making tech reviews, I was hooked.

So from Hollywood, I did short episodes on Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo, Palos Verdes, all the Orange County beach cities (Laguna, Huntington and Newport, Dana Point) some inland (Riverside and Orange), Las Vegas and Toluca Lake, as well as Pismo Beach.

Then in 2020, my friend Alex Kruglov, who founded the social app, suggested I meet up with Peter Spirer, who runs the Rugged Entertainment production company. I'll be indebted to Alex forever for this!

Peter liked what he saw, and was interested in Photowalks, but as a full-length TV series.

I was all in. And so we went to work together on expanding some of the earlier episodes with additional footage, and creating new ones. We ended up with 6 half-hour episodes, which hopefully will find an audience. If people like it, we’ll get to do more.

With Ginger DiNunzio in Cayucos

Meeting great people

As I started making episodes, it dawned on me that fun of these travel shows was including the voices of locals, instead of just the guy who helicopters in for a day or two. I made a cold call to a photographer named Charlotte “Ginger” DiNunzio and she agreed to meet me in Morro Bay and Cayucos. Jennifer Little, who did publicity for Morro, hooked me up with Bailey Christenson, who gave us a tour of the waters from an electric boat. The great photographer Jose Manuel Santos accompanied me on the back streets of Porto, Portugal. Kristin Metcalfe brought me to the "best sunset" spot on Catalina Island. Susan Dimock showed me how to photograph Face Rock and other icons of Bandon, Oregon., while Sharon Biddinger and Janell Goplen showed us around Newport Oregon.

Graphic artist Jan Schrieber

A Community

My son Sam designed the logo for the show. My brother Jez did much of the music, along with Peter Spirer and my guitar teacher Paul Ellis. My wife Ruth held the camera for several key shots in Oregon and Portugal. Dean Robaina helped out with sound mixing. Jan Schrieber took the cover art for the series and designed the awesome poster.

After we wrapped production, I got an opportunity to leave USA TODAY after a three-decade career (it's called a buyout) which timed perfectly with the launch of Photowalks. So now it's all photos, video and blogging for me.


Meanwhile, it’s great to be outdoors, and out of the car, with someone who knows the area, because when you’re in a drive-by, you miss so much. Plus, my friend Bill was onto something. Traditional travel shows wow you with beautiful pictures of places you’ll want to visit, but never slow down and show you how you got them. And because I’ve spent so many years reporting about smartphone technology, I could show you how to get those shots, without spending a fortune on camera gear, with an average smartphone.

Here's PROOF:

And what exactly is Tubi?

Tubi is a free TV streaming service that’s available wherever you stream: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, smart TVs from Sony, Samsung and Vizio and Comcast video on demand. If you don’t have it already, just download the app via your streaming player.

Thank you all for indulging me with this post. I hope you'll tune in to the show and check out. Please let me know what you think!

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