A native Oregonian, John Waller has dedicated his professional and personal life to exploring and discovering the natural beauty that the world has to offer. The founder of Uncage the Soul Productions, John has spent over two decades producing and directing films, from commercial shorts to award-winning adventure documentaries. Committed to giving back to his community and helping to build the future generation of creatives and explorers, he is the Board President of Photo of the Year and a regular instructor at NW Documentary. If he’s not behind the camera or in front of the editing screen he can be found exploring the Oregon backcountry, summiting a local peak or planning the next globetrotting adventure.
Ben Canales has been a media specialist for over ten years, specializing in timelapse and night photography. The winner of the 2011 National Geographic Travel Photo of the Year, his work has been published commercially as well as in digital and print publications nationally and internationally. A New Jersey native that moved west in 2008, Ben is constantly inspired by the Pacific Northwest natural landscapes that he now calls home. When he’s not chasing the Milky Way, Ben is camping, climbing mountains, or perfecting the art of grilled asparagus.
An avid skier and sports guru with a background in broadcast journalism and video production, Steve Engman has turned his love of outdoor and athletic pursuits into a career in documenting adventure. Before coming to Uncage the Soul, Steve built the outdoor adventure cable series Northwest Wild from concept to a Discovery Channel International syndicated show, airing in over 150 countries world-wide. As the Executive Producer and Host of Northwest Wild, he has spent many days and nights finding every possible way to jump, throw, swim, climb or get dirty. Splitting his early years between Durango, Colorado and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, he has always had a calling to the outdoors and for the last 15 years has called the Pacific Northwest home.
Blake Johnson has been pointing a camera at people most of his life, but he started to really focus his abilities on photography and videography when he began skydiving in 2002. Strapping a camera to his head, he began documenting his in-air experiences. Since then, Blake has gone on to seek out his fit in every aspect of video and photography production, focusing on capturing the adventure around him. Blake is happiest when hucking himself out of a plane, flying under a canopy, hauling himself up a mountain, or climbing on a rock somewhere.
Anna Brones is a writer and digital communications specialist. Building on experience working in print media, she founded her own communications and strategy firm in 2009. Since then she has gone on to work on various multimedia and journalism projects from outdoor films to food politics. A believer in connecting passionate people to do good, she uses her marketing and production savvy to work on cause driven issues and amplify stories that deserve to be told. She’s also known for her food and travel obsession, and will never turn down the opportunity to drop everything and buy a ticket to a new destination to check out a good dish.