Over the Fourth of July, we were invited to document the Estonia Song and Dance Celebration — an event that takes place every five years to commemorate the important place music holds in the heart of Estonia. Throughout the nation’s history, and under various occupations, Estonians have kept their culture and language alive with song.

While we were there, we shot videos and stills for a short documentary and longform story titled “Let Freedom Sing.”

A long, slow afternoon walk through this ancient Nordic capitol.

It is midsummer here, but it feels like Florida in early winter.

Delicious, soft and chill.

Wonderful smells, heavenly coffee.

Watching, wandering, dreaming — intermingled with concentration, consternation and construction.

A day of rest and reflection. And progress.

Just read a perfect script for our next short film. Crafted with lightning speed for me by a woman I have known her entire adult life, and who I adore for her brilliance, soul and constant struggle with conflict.

It’s her story applied with subtle genius to a current event, linking what was, what became of things and where it’s headed.

Her words run deep and pure, chilling and exhilarating. From the moment I found a path for the work, I knew she should write it, and that her feelings would provide the backbone.

She’s a mother, a photographer, a traveller and a writer. English is her fourth or fifth language… and more are in line after that. I know three languages, but we really only overlap in my native tongue. I can only imagine how she sounds in hers. Someday, perhaps, I’ll find a way to get there. It would be a dream.

Northern Europe. Another place I feel home.

This week, we are creating multiple pieces in Estonia covering the Song and Dance Celebration. Check in on Twitter (@billfrakes), Instagram (@billfrakes) and the blog for updates and sneak looks at the final projects.

This year was my 12th time going to the Belmont in hopes of witnessing Triple Crown history. By now, we all know how the story ended for California Chrome. But the chase made for a fun spring.

Sports Illustrated’s galley of the best images from the Triple Crown races is now online: http://new-www.si.com/more-sports/photos/2014/06/19/si-best-photos-of-the-2014-triple-crown-races

On to summer adventures.

I’ve had the honor of working closely with the New Media Consortium, an international group of visionaries who specialize in educational technology. The concept of educational technology takes many forms and is constantly fluctuating. For me, being part of the dynamic conversations that NMC facilitates is exciting and inspiring.

Larry Johnson CEO of the NMC asked me to do a keynote presentation on creativity at this year’s convention and suggested I wrap my talk around some of the work I have been doing in my native Nebraska.

I love Nebraska, it’s a serene, rugged place full of surprises.  I’m spending a lot of time there this summer and fall producing films and photographs, seeing my family and friends, and enjoying being home.

For more on the NMC Summer Conference, visit http://www.nmc.org/event-manager/2014-nmc-summer-conference-keynotes/

Join us for a 10 day tour of Iceland - the land of seals and poets.

This Photo Tour and Workshop will take place August 4-14, 2014.

We will spend as much time outside enjoying the environment as possible.  August in Iceland will give us 23 hours of golden light every day.

We will roam all over the island and spend time making photos and time-lapses of a variety of places – volcanic glaciers, black rock beaches, small fishing towns and more.

The ten-day tour is $6,000 which includes meals, lodging and intern Iceland transportation.  The tour price does not include airfare to and from Reykajavik or alcoholic beverages.

This is going to be serious fun and there will be daily chances to make incredible images.

It’s a small group, and we’ve just secured a few more hard to find hotel rooms so we can take four more guests.

To secure your spot, please contact bill@strawhatvisuals.com.

The deadline to join the tour is June 24, 2014.

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