Enjoy the following few photos from a recent adventure, accompanied by a few random semi-cohesive thoughts from the road!

1. Fear of failure is the darkest of captivities. I think that failure is only failure when you let it win. Sometimes not achieving your goal on the first try is actually a really great thing – it teaches you to look at the problem differently, to persevere and try harder, and gives you something to work towards. Zion defeated us with its epic climbs, to say the least, but I don’t feel like I failed – I just feel like now I have a really epic goal to work towards. Take a risk, put yourself in situations you think you’ll ‘fail’ – you’ll learn a ton in process!

2. “An integral part of adventure is planning to change plans.” Wise words from Mr. Carmichael here. Don’t be afraid of spontaneity, but embrace the moment and adapt as you go! Figure out what it is you’re excited about, and do it. Don’t feel guilty for changing plans to accommodate that – be bold enough to follow your passions, even on a small-scale.

3.Patience is a pretty great thing. Kind of a random thought, I suppose. We spent the night camping in Oak Creek Canyon, just outside of Sedona, where we saw some of the most gorgeous stars ever. I’d always wanted to take star trail photos, but never had the patience. Always bailed before I got the full effect or got bored and tried something new. This time, I decided to be patient. I set up the shot and waited – I journalled by the fire, read in the hammock, made some tea… For 24 minutes. And it worked. Patience allowed me to see achieve something I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.


3. Rest is important. Adventure is awesome, but sometimes it’s important to stop and reflect and think and just take in the beauty of what’s around you. Float down a twisty red-walled canyon in kayak and do nothing but stare up at the bright blue sky. Take a nap on the side of a cliff. Chill in a hammock in a beautiful tree and write something. Don’t miss the now, but don’t be afraid to take some time to dream and be excited about what is and is to come!

4. Food tastes better in epic locations. Pasta + chili looking at this view in Zion? Amazing. (Also, any time is a good time for tea!)

5. Adventure wins.
A bit of a mini-story for this one: After kicking off the trip with a couple of siesta and taco-filled days on the beach in Mexico, we decided to head back home early to get a head start on our Northwardly adventure plan. Desert roads tend to not be the smoothest at all times, so I didn’t think anything of the bumpyness during our nighttime trek, until out of nowhere the car drops and sparks are flying. Steven awakens just in time to see the wheel, atop the bank, racing us down the highway.

So there we were, on the side of the road before the tiny desert town of Ajo, standing beneath the brightest full moon you’ve ever seen, where our wheel became inexplicably unattached to the car, and this local Sheriff stops to help us. And somehow we end up watching climbing and adventure videos on the Sheriff’s iPhone while the tow-truck guy struggled to load our now three-wheeled vehicle onto the truck.

So bizarre.

Adventure wins because of moments like these. Because it comes in so many different and unexpected forms. It wins because it leads us to encounter the bizarre and unimaginable scenarios that make the greatest of stories. It wins because it puts us in the most beautiful of places to prove that the world is most definitely not lacking in beauty or diversity. It wins because it forces us to push ourselves to jump into the unknown and accomplish what we’d only previously imagined.

Adventure wins because it is a life inspired by seeking after experiences bigger and better than the norm. Who wouldn’t want that?

As a photographer, I have a love-hate relationship with camera phones*.

On the one hand they are generally not stellar quality and are quite limiting when it comes to technical settings. On the other hand, my phone goes everywhere with me, which is more than can be said for my 4lb Canon DSLR. Likewise, with size comes intimidation – if I aim my phone at people they smile, but when I whip out my 5D Mark II, people tend to hide.

Personally, looking on my phone, all my photos were taken using various apps which simulate the look and feel of old school photographic post-processing methods. In other words, it took a lovely Springy afternoon and made it look like this:

Sure, it’s just another picture taken with a camera phone, but on another level entirely it represents a hugely interesting phenomenon – why are we choosing to use our new technology to recreate the feeling of the past?

It’s almost as if the tinted colours (in all their oversaturated glory) with added vignetting or sprockets somehow inspire the perception of an added feeling of authenticity. Or an extra layer of creativity. Somehow, they seem to make something taken with a crappy camera phone into something interesting.

Granted, a crappy photo is still a crappy photo, but if nothing else, these apps are inspiring people to look at the photos they’re taking in a new way. To use, yes, an ‘added layer of creativity’ to force them to frame what they see in an interesting way, to attempt to turn the content into something visually interesting.



Taken with Retro Camera Taken with Retro Camera


While Hipstamatic is perhaps one of the most popular for the iPhone, countless others are also abound and available on other platforms (personally, I am a fan of ‘Retro Camera’ for the Android). The beauty of many of these is that you can select both the lens and the film to manipulate your image with a seemingly endless combination of your choice.

I’m willing to wager a fairly decent percent of the users of the aforementioned apps wouldn’t have even known what an Instamatic or Holga or Diana was, and yet they are using some of the latest-and-greatest technology to recreate the look of these very old-school analog cameras.

If we are romanticizing the future through media, then what is this saying? That we love our technology, but we want it to do exactly the same thing as our beloved traditional processes… just faster and with less work?

It would appear that technology really is helping us manufacture nostalgia.

*It’s about 80% love, 20% hate.

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