If we’re being honest, I’ve lived my whole life under the assumption that Cleveland is a complete shithole. Have probably passed it on the road 20 times for that very reason. Was out there a few weeks ago for a commercial shoot and was not only pleasantly surprised, but felt like an idiot for those assumptions. It might be one of the cleanest “cities” in America. It’s hardly big enough to classify as a city like New York or Chicago, but damn it is clean. Shockingly so. Any time I’m in a place for a commercial shoot I make it a point to get out and do some shooting for myself as well. It’s a great way to relax and learn more about the place you’re in. After a couple hours of walking around, my opinion was completely changed. Also noticed immediately that the people there are incredibly nice. Like, go out their way for you nice. It just felt like a very hospitable place. Cheers to you, Cleveland.
8,141 American miles are in the books. If you made me choose, this is probably the thing I love doing the most with a camera. It's all fun, but this is really the tops for me. Just being out on my own for weeks at a time can't be beat. Every trip is different and great in it's own way. This one started off a bit rocky. Not long before leaving, I had some work done on my truck which I assumed was all set. Then, a couple days into the drive, the engine started screaming while going up Monarch Pass in Colorado. Keep in mind that this is practically a brand new truck. So I pulled over and opened the hood only to see that the coolant was actively boiling. I was supposed to be meeting a buddy at Denver airport the next morning and then on to our mutual friends house to surprise him for his birthday. It was obvious that wasn't going to happen. I let the engine cool down then put it in neutral and coasted as far down the mountain as I could to try and get some cell service. After trying for an hour I was finally able to reach a tow truck driver. He came and got us (Mojo) and dropped us off at the garage, which of course was closed until the next day. Threw a couple bags on my back and we schlepped it to a hotel about a mile+ away. The only hotel that would allow Mojo had no air conditioning to combat the brutally hot summer temperatures. Oh well. Next morning we schlepped back up the hill to the garage. Owner said he wasn't sure what the problem could be, but would take a look ASAP. That ASAP was about 3 hours, so Mojo and I walked into the woods(the only place we could sit down and be out of the sun) and read a book. Garage ordered the part they thought would fix the problem, but it wouldn't be there until about 3:30 and they close at 5. This was a Friday and they don't open again until Monday. Now I was faced with the real possibility of the truck not being fixed until the following week. So I started looking into rental cars. The only option was a local guy who had a few vehicles to rent, but when I started filling out the paperwork I realized that his vehicles aren't aloud to go more than 150 miles away from town. Next. There was one car left in a town that would require $115 cab ride, and the rental fee was going to be $400 for 3 days. Plus I would have to drive 6 hours southwest to Pagosa Springs to return it, when I needed to be continuing on northeast to my final destination (Cape Cod). Tried arguing with RAM to give me a loaner vehicle for a couple days, but that didn't work. The customer service woman called back twenty minutes later and said she was able to get me a rental in Durango under their very reasonable corporate rate. So I took the $115 cab ride and got the rental, figuring that 3 nights of hotels staying in town waiting would be costly anyway. Picked up the car, then went back to the garage to grab all my stuff, only to find out that the truck had been fixed. Now I had a fixed truck and a rental car. Screw it, I left the rental at the garage and hoped that the rental company could come pick it up on Monday. Turns out the 0-ring on the cap for the coolant reservoir was bad so the coolant was leaking out the whole time I was driving. And it got low to the point of not being able to cool the engine and just when through the roof while going up Monarch Pass. A tiny piece that probably costs 2 cents to make caused that much trouble. Unreal. Things really sucked for about 20 hours, but I made it up to Denver on Saturday morning and we were still able to surprise my buddy. Looking back now, I can't even believe that was part of the same trip as all the images below. It's funny how things start melting together on the road. You're so stimulated by everything you see that it's hard to make sense of it until you get home and let it all digest for a while. Love the road. Can't wait to get back out there.
Side note: It seems that on every trip there is one state that treats you better then all the rest. Not sure why it is, but photographically things tend to gel in one state the most. It's a different state every time, but it always happen. On this trip, I believe that state was Illinois. Cheers Illinois!
Behind on this as usual, but have a lot to post about. Couple road trips in the books since the last time I was here. Below is the first one that took place from mid-December 2017 to mid-January 2018.
Among the many lessons I continue to learn during cross country road trips, is that things inevitably come up. Things that cause you to deter from the original plan. And it's easy to get frustrated because you're time shooting in one place gets cut short, but it always seems to come back around. I used to be extremely high strung about this. When I got to a place, I couldn't relax until a shot was in the bag, which would sometimes take away from the whole experience. Now I like to have faith that the shots will come, just maybe not in the way I was expecting. Being open to that idea is a lot of the key though. Sometimes the shots you originally had planned, turn out to be your least favorite anyway. So when you just go with the flow, and take advantage of situations that pop up, great things come about. This past road trip to Cape Cod and back was rushed due to other commercial responsibilities (a great problem to have). Even so, my time shooting on the road didn't amount to all that much. The set of images that resulted are far from my favorite. However, because I was rushed, it made me look for other places/times to shoot. And in the end, I am left with another batch of images and potential assignment/partnership that never would have otherwise happened.
It would appear that driving cross country then flying to India has become a thing for me? Last month was another crazy one as far as travel/shooting (commercial and personal) goes. Let's see if I can get this right? It started with a flight up to Omaha and a drive to Sioux Falls for a concert that was a must see for Emily. So we spent a couple days there, then drove back to Omaha and flew back to San Diego. I slept at home for the night, then started a week long cross country drive to the east coast. Dropped Mojo off at my mother's house in up-state NY, then drove down to Brooklyn where my Hoops images were on display at an NBA event. Afterwards, drove back up to my mothers for the night, then drove to Boston the next day for a flight out to India. Spent 3 days shooting in India, then hopped a quick flight over to Sri Lanka for 3 days of exploring/personal shooting. Back to India for another 3 days of shooting before flying to Boston. Drove to New Hampshire to shoot for my barbershop project, then up to my mothers to get Mojo where I spent the night before driving back down to meet Emily in Boston. We spent the night there, then met my family on Cape Cod for our annual trip. Spent 6 days there, then another week driving/shooting back to San Diego. Hell of a month. I love the road. Still trying to figure out if I'm happy with the outcome, but will be posting updates on it all soon.
Recently completed what I would have to consider my largest collective journey to date. It started last month with a road trip from San Diego to New York. From NYC I traveled to India and did a lot of exploring in Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. After returning, I then did another cross country road trip from New York back to San Diego. Not even sure what the total mileage is on all that, but each leg was a great time, and I did a lot of shooting for a number of different reasons.. As always, more to come on that.....
Life in rural Kansas works a bit differently then it does in most other places. A fascinating place to explore.
One of the many great things about road trips is the food you can find along your way. Some of it is totally random. And then there are places which are obviously known for a certain kind of food. Buffalo, NY is one of those places. Birthplace of the chicken wing. I'm originally from NY, so naturally have a deep appreciation for the chicken wing. Now living out in San Diego, it's hard to find a proper wing. So while traveling through western NY, I thought it only fitting to try the best. I'd never been to Buffalo before, and it seemed like a good enough excuse? Buffalo itself was a pretty cool place. Has a very "neighborhood" feel to it. Like everything is friendly and local. The outskirts though, were much different. Lots of deserted old factories. Great for shooting. And had it not been for the chicken wing, I never would have stumbled on this scene. Sometimes it pays to eat.
Back in my hometown now, after a cross-country road trip. Photographically it wasn't the most productive. I got some cool stuff, but not as much as I was hoping for. The main focus was BASKETBALL HOOPS, which is something I've been shooting all over the country for the past year and a half. It's a lot of fun and brings me to some amazing small towns that are completely off the grid. The longer I do it, the harder it gets to find unique hoops. That all part of the treasure hunt though.
One of my favorite forms of travel is the road trip. It's the best way to see what ever part of the world you are in. And the only way to really experience local cultures/foods that you would otherwise miss by flying. Next week I will be starting a cross country road trip back to New York to be with family for the holidays. It's something I've done many times and always look forward to. As of this post, I have road tripped through all 50 states (flew to AK+HI) for my Barbershop project. And this time around will be working on my most recent project, Basketball Hoops. Being on the road with other people is always fun. For these however, it's just me and Mojo (dog). Which I prefer, because it allows me a lot more time on my own to shoot, without worrying about inconveniencing anyone else. It's something I really encourage every photographer to do on a somewhat regular basis.
This image is from a road trip last September to Colorado. We stopped to "use the bathroom" and our car happened to be in the perfect spot with perfect light. Love Arizona. Anyway, I'll be regularly posting to this site during my trip, so be sure to check back.