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Filtering by Category: adventure

Where do I Want to Adventure to Next? — Luke Gottlieb

Ben Ashby

Where do I Want to Adventure to Next?

Meet Photographer Luke Gottlieb

 

A PREVIEW FROM FOLK SUMMER 2019

Luke Gottlieb, the photographer behind Victor of Valencia on Instagram has been one of my very favorite photographers for a very long time. I dream of the day when I have the photographer skills and editing skills he has so brilliantly mastered. I wanted to learn more, so I made my way out to Colorado to learn Luke's backstory and life advice. 


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"Adventure is one of those things that keeps life interesting and completely fresh with experiences. It’s certainly the driving force behind most of my passions in life. It’s something I think about every morning I wake up too; where do I want to adventure to next?"

 — @victorofvalencia

 

Why do you explore? To me, exploration allows the unexpected to come to the surface of our lives. Without exploration, we never learn or see anything new. I also have this constant feeling of wanting to know what exists around the corner. As a child, it seems your whole existence is all about exploring and being curious. I think that we cary some of that same drive throughout our lives as we get older. 

 

Why take risks in life? Without risks, growth is absent. To me, evolving as a human being and having a better understanding of the world can’t happen unless you take risks or unless you really step out of your comfort zone. 

 

 What is your 9-5?  I was never one to resonate very well with a 9-5 job. I’ve worked for myself the last 3 years and I can say it’s the best fit for me right now. I’m a full-time photographer. It’s amazing, but certainly has the challenges that comes with it. I often can’t remember what day it is, but maybe that is the point of it all… to just live life and experience every day as a new and exciting adventure. 

 

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When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? My dad was a musician and my mom was a music lover as well. I think when I picked up the guitar at the age of 12 I fantasized about being a rock star… as a lot of teenage boys do. I still play music, it’s in my blood and will be till the day I die. I record and do the occasional tour with my band. I don’t think I ever really had a firm grasp on what I wanted to really be in life, but I think that I have found my lane as a portrait and lifestyle photographer. 

 

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What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? 

I think that if we could learn more about each other and be open to new ways of looking at the world it would allow us all to improve as humans. There is just so much diversity on this planet both in body and mind to think selfishly.

 

READ THE FULL STORY IN FOLKS SUMMER 2019 ISSUE CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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Thats What Traveling is All About — John Thatcher

Ben Ashby

We've known photographer John Thatcher for years. We've been constantly inspired by his images of California and the life out west. We felt it was time to finally sit down and learn about the man behind the camera. 

A PREVIEW FROM FOLK SUMMER 2019. ORDER HERE

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Why do you adventure? I adventure and explore so that I can prove to myself that more is out there than what I can see on a screen or magazine. I need to find out how finding these new places or trying new things feels. I already know what it looks like.


Why take risks in life? Life is about takings risks. Whats the point of living if you only live one way for your whole life?

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Where are you from? I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area.


What is your 9-5? I'm a fashion and lifestyle photographer for a day job and a songwriter for my non day job.

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When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? Growing up I wanted to be a professional skateboarder. I was pretty close to almost kind of sorta doing it.


What is the favorite place you've visited? My favorite place I've visited was the Saguaro Cactus Reserve. I love me some cacti.

FOR THE FULL STORY GRAB A COPY OF FOLK’S SUMMER 2019 ISSUE HERE

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Life Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone — Mike Kelley

Ben Ashby

Below is a preview of my conversation with Boston based photographer Mike Kelley.

READ THE FULL CONVERSATION IN FOLK’S SUMMER ISSUE | ORDER HERE

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Mike Kelley is a Maine native, Boston resident, and wanderlust at heart that stole our hearts with his calm landscapes, cloudy skies, and images of coastal New England culture.


Why do you explore? I explore for one simple reason, fear of missing out. There are so many places in this world, without exploring and putting myself out there I am scared that I will miss out on truly incredible experiences. 

Why take risks in life? Life begins outside your comfort zone.

 Where are you from? Manchester, Maine.

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? Growing up...well as a kid...I wanted more than anything to be a paleontologist. I was very much obsessed with dinosaurs and fossils so it was my dream to search for them as a career. Coincidentally I also loved managing money...this is what lead me to the finance field.

Give us a story: 17,000 ft. That’s how high I was in the Bolivian Andes when I blacked out. No memory of the last 1,300 ft of hiking. If you know anything about me, I sometimes make spontaneous, questionable decisions, this was one of those…I arrived in La Paz Bolivia the night before, a city that sits at 11,000ft above sea level. Most people have a hard time breathing the first couple days in the city and many get sick from the lack of oxygen. For some reason, I was fine. I noticed some pressure in my lungs, but nothing I wasn’t already used to. I arrived to my hostel at 10pm on a Monday night, knowing full well that I had Tuesday free (I had planned to do the death road on Wednesday) I called up a local travel agency that was still open and booked a hike for the following morning. 7am I met up with my guide, Choco who didn’t speak a lick of English and we headed into the mountains. A two hour drive and we arrived at the mountain base. A hike with just over 4,000 ft of elevation gain. I can do this easy peasy I thought. We headed up. Within an hour my head ache was becoming unbearable, my vision began to blur, my stomach felt like it was being stabbed constantly by a knife. I had NEVER in my life felt so unbelievably uncomfortable. Symptoms I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. As stubborn as I was, I pushed forward, higher and higher. The symptoms got worse. Little did I know I was entering the early stages of a very serious condition, HAPE, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. I pushed onward, until I couldn’t anymore. Choco braced me as I lay on the rocks and forced our trip back down the mountain. 17,113ft…I made it just 100 ft. from the summit he later told me in his broken English. This day changed my life, I realized the overwhelming power of nature, something I will never, ever doubt again. So let it be known, take risks in life, but make sure they are calculated or else you may never have the opportunity again.


READ THE FULL CONVERSATION IN FOLK’S SUMMER ISSUE | ORDER HERE

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Romance Your Wild — Jay McDonald

Ben Ashby

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A PREVIEW FROM FOLK’S SUMMER 2019 ISSUE. CLICH HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY.

Jay McDonald brings a quality to adventure and photography that is met with equal amounts of humble humor and top notch skills. Known for his portraits in nature and his crystal clear landscapes he has stolen our hearts with his love of the wild.



Why do you adventure? Well, to be honest I have severe ADHD and I can’t stand being in one place for a long period of time. I wish I had a more poetic and whimsical answer for you but that’s the real life truth right there haha.

Why do you explore? I think deep down inside of every one of us there is always  that little curious spark. We were built to get up, go further, run faster, etc.. And simply because it’s 2018, a lot of people have settled. I just can’t be one of those people. The nomadic life is long gone, but there’s still a little bit of nomad left in each one of us.

Why take risks in life? Life is too short not to. My older brother Kylan killed himself when I was 16 years old. That same summer, my life long very best friend’s Dad did the same. Prior to that, my Uncle (and more.. the list goes on but I think you get the point). It feels like I have been surrounded by sudden death from mental health and other things my whole life. I value fulfillment, happiness, joy, adventure and love over anything else. The statistics that you and I should both not be alive right now are too high not to do something crazy and live a little. As cliche as it is for me to say this, you have to “Romance Your Wild”, because today might be your last chance. 

What is your 9-5? I am a full time commercial photographer (yes not everything I shoot looks like my Instagram)... I had pursued a promising career in exotic dancing but apparently “Chip and Whales” wasn’t very marketable and I wasn’t willing decrease my carbs or fat load. If I am going to bring home the bacon, I am gonna eat it too.

READ THE FULL STORY IN OUR SUMMER 2019 ISSUE. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

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New England Colors; Kyle Finn Dempsey and the Art of Photographing Autumn

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Kyle Finn Dempsey is one of the bests when it comes to documenting the changing colors of New England. We are continually inspired by his work. We sat down with him to learn more about shooting the best shots of autumn's many colors....

 

"Fall feels like a dream in New England. It's not about big grand views here, but about little nooks and crannies and a vast variety of colors."

 

My name is Kyle Finn Dempsey and I live in the hills of Western Massachusetts. I go by the name Huck because my best friend and I were (and still are) a modern day version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. We've always called each other that, and if you spent an afternoon with us, wandering around the forest barefoot, it'd all start to make sense. I grew up along the Westfield river and and currently live in the same area. I will never let go of my spot, it's my zen and I plan to keep it in the family forever. 

 

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Fall feels like a dream in New England. It's not about big grand views here, but about little nooks and crannies and a vast variety of colors. There's not many other places in the country (or world) that you can find so many different trees who's leaves change color at once. The colors I show in my photos are very real. Of course I put my own spin on them with my edits, but when you're on a fall drive here, you're going to see colors you won't believe. From rich golden yellows on the birch trees, bright red oak and swamp maple leafs, bright orange sugar maple, orange & gold beach leaves and everything in between. Sometimes the colors are so bright they look fake in person. It's seriously jaw dropping.

 

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My favorite places to shoot in New England for the fall are southern Vermont and right near my house in western MA. Southern Vermont always turns about a month early, and is very swampy, so the colors are extremely rich and vibrant. All near me is small valleys and winding backroads, which are my absolute favorite places to explore and shoot. I love traditional New England fall scenes as well as finding new ways to share fall that not many people have seen. Each Northeast state has his own unique flavor to offer, along with classic scenes that come to find when you think of fall. If you want guaranteed color and good views, try the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

 

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One of my favorite towns near me that celebrates fall very well is Ashfield, Ma. It's an incredibly quaint little town with a lake in the middle, a rope swing and a beach, a pizza shop and and an old fashion hardware store. There's always something going on, and in the fall, they have a fantastic little festival in the common lawn. Local crafts and garden vegetables, local music and everything else you can imagine that fits into a small town fairytale. The singer Ray LaMontagne actually has a home in Ashfield. It's one of Massachusetts biggest hidden gems. Keep that between you & I.

 

Peak season is generally right around mid October, though it depends on where you are and how the season is developing. In Southern Vermont, peak was probably October 5th. Here in Western Ma, we're just past peak, and its Oct. 22nd. I'm heading up to southern Maine tomorrow to stay in a tree house, and from what I've heard they are pretty much at peak.

 

I became a photographer when I was 19 or so. I used to rap and make music videos, and I got a camera so I could do all my own media by myself. I didn't seriously start shooting until I was a junior or senior in college. I'm 25 now, and I've been doing photography and video work full time for about 3 years.

 

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Tips for capturing autumn- Check near swamps, rivers and ponds. Try shooting with a drone if possible to find unique formations from above and go places that no one knows about. Drive down backroads near water sources and see what you find. Some of the best colors happen in the places you least expect. Also, overcast and rainy days are will enhance the foliage by about 50%. Sometimes it looks like there's no color on a bright sunny day, and then the next day it rains, the colors shine bright and you're like "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!?"

 

— @KYLEFINNDEMPSEY

 

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Adventurer Q&A // Giulia Woergartner

Zachary Kilgas

The color yellow is bright, full of life, and undefinable. Many adults cower away from wearing yellow though, offering the excuse that yellow is "childish." Yellow is a color that requires a boldness to wear. It's not a color for the faint of heart. 

Giulia Woergartner calls herself, "the girl with the yellow jacket." Her yellow jacket she explained, is her trademark, a stamp that marks her adventures and photography as distinctly hers. 

[Q] Why do you adventure & Why do you explore? 

[A] Exploring means discovering new things, having fresh eyes for every new day and being inspired by little moments. I want to keep my eyes, ears and heart wide open. I want to create my own vision of the world and share it with others to inspire them to go on their own little adventures. I have a desire to see the most beautiful corners of this world. I have traveled and experienced quite a lot over the last few years, but the curiosity to see more keeps me going. My goal is not just to come home different, but better.

[Q] Why take risks in life?    

[A] Because life is short and it can be over at any given moment.

[Q] Where are you from?

[A] I am from the Dolomites, Italy.

[Q] What is your 9-5?

[A] I am a full time travel photographer, still sounds crazy to me if I say it!

[Q] When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?  

[A] I have always been a creative child, I always dreamed about being a painter or musician. Well any kind of artist really!

[Q] Favorite place you've visited?    

[A] The Faroe Islands and New Zealand still are my favourite destinations to this date!

[Q] Place you most desperately want to visit?

[A] Patagonia and a lot of places in the US.

[Q] What  has  changed  about  you  because  of  your  travels    

[A] I have become a more confident, open and loving individual

[Q] Who  is  the  most  dynamic  and  thought  provoking  person  you've  ever  met    

[A] Good question, I think that person is still out there!

[Q] If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why?  

[A] I would like to go back in time and travel with some of the real explorers 

[Q] Must haves for travel?

[A] My camera and a yellow jacket! 

[Q] Travel tips?  

[A] Sleep in cars, cook for yourself, save your money for more travels.

[Q] When  did  you  feel  you  were  most  out  of  your  comfort  zone? What  did  you  learn  from  that  lesson?

[A] I did a 7 months solo trip to New Zealand after graduating high school. I flew from Italy all the way to the other side of the world to explore ad capture every corner of New Zealand. I bought a van and lived in it for about 6 months. The first few weeks were tough as I had to adapt to this lifestyle and to the new environment. After a few weeks I realised that I was free to do whatever I want and I could simply enjoy life and see all these stunning places. The few things that I was really worried about at first ended up being the greatest benefits and lessons of this adventure: when you have a dream or a vision, you just have to go for it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it, no matter how silly or ridiculous your dream might appear to others. Following your passion is the only thing that will bring you happiness.

[Q] What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? 

[A] I would show them my pictures and let them speak for me.

[Q] What would you say to your former self?  

[A] Love more, hug more. Be bold. Don't let fear run your life. Have confidence in yourself. Don't be self-conscious. Don't be so hard on yourself and have more patience.

[Q] Where to next?

[A] Canada!

[Q] Is flannel always in season? 

[A] Of course!

Photographer Update // Joshua Fuller

Zachary Kilgas

I have always loved idioms. If you're unfamiliar with them, idioms are seemingly nonsensical phrases that by usage became loaded with meaning-- kill two birds with one stone, once in a blue moon, pot calling the kettle black. 

There's an Icelandic idiom, "Það eru margar undur í höfuðkúpu," which translates roughly to "there are many wonders in a cow's head." To my understanding, it's a way to say that the world is crazy. 

These landscape photos from Joshua Fuller's trip to Iceland had me pondering the wonders in a cow's head. 

Photographer of the Day: Nick Cagol

Zachary Kilgas

Thirty year old, Nick Cagol is a part time photographer who lives in Northern Italy. His goal is to capture more than just the beauty of a landscape, he aims to capture a story. More of his photography can be seen on Instagram @alchenick

Do What You Dream

Zachary Kilgas

The melodic words of Ingrid Michealson’s song “You and I” bounced around in my head as I read a long email from Christian Bendel. Truthfully, I felt silly about it. As I continued to read Christian’s candid recollection of his adventure through Provence, I broke down and got reacquainted with the song.

“Let’s get rich and buy our parent’s homes in the south of France,” Ingrid says whimsically. 

The rhythmic song dared me to dream, but Christian’s words pushed me further. The goal of the adventure was, in his words, “to do what he dreamed, instead of simply talking about it.”

Much like the song, Christian’s adventure was a love story, and his photo series captures their relationship intimately. Together, they traveled through canyons, cities, and around mountains. They cooked their meals on a fire, and slept in their car.

Christian said he aspires to do things differently. He explained that living this dream was not a straightforward path, but one that required spontaneity, and flexibility. He called this adventure, and his past ones, “Crossroads” for that reason.

America The Great: A Roadtrip with Alexander Miles

Christophe Chaisson

These last few days have been incredible stressful and emotional for many Americans, so to hear what Alexander Miles, an Australian, had to say about this country was balm to my soul. To see the beauty of the land that this nation was built on and to hear the affirming insights from a foreign traveler was a refresher for the love and hope I hold for America. 

Enjoy a glimpse of Alexander and Lana's Great American Roadtrip where these two  traveled, explored, and photographed the grand natural landscapes of the West.


Where are you from:

I was born in Sydney, Australia.

I've spent just as much time in Melbourne, Australia.

Age:

Depressing

Where do you live:

I live in East London.


From someone on the outside what is the appeal of visiting America? 

 As a kid, I always thought the USA was like the wild-west. Fame, fortune, wild people and wild nature. Most of the media we consumed in Australia - especially growing up - has been centred on America. We are spoon-fed doses of Americana all our lives. As an adult, and having spent a lot of time in the USA, I realise that its part true and part fallacy. America is stunningly beautiful, complex and surprising. Anyone i've ever spoken to that've taken a trip in the states comes out of it enlightened and humbled by the people and the beauty of the nature. 

What are the most iconic ideas/places/landmarks/narratives of "America" to the foreigner?

The great American Road Trip is something that almost every person I ever speak to states as the thing that they want to do. A rolling landscape of the road, dotted with weird and wonderful Americana. A lashing of the kitsch and miles of tired, weather-beaten signs advertising cheap gas or rooms. 

I keep going back to the desert. There is a bleakness, a tiredness which I find really compelling. You can drive for days and at the end of your journey you can end up somewhere like Zion and you feel like you've landed on another planet. Incredibly rewarding as a foreigner to have the interplay of bleakness and the grand scale of the natural sights.

Also, not to be discounted are the people and places - those roadside truck stops with funny 'attractions' and museums. Diners always about the diners.

@lanadelporto

@lanadelporto

 

Where did you go on this trip?

We flew from NYC straight to Vegas. Picked up a convertible Mustang and hit the road - it is totally cliched, but we're from Australia, so we figured we had to do it. From there we drove through the deserts to Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Moab, finishing in the refreshingly green Colorado Rockies for a week.  

Where all have you visited in the past?

Lots of California, highlights being Yosemite, Death Valley. Nevada, Utah, Colorado. A little bit of the east coast, NYC and Boston, basically. For me it seems like the bigger attractions are always more in the west. 

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@lanadelporto

@lanadelporto

What are some tips for navigating America if you aren't American?

Hire a car. There is no other way to see the USA other than by using a car. We were intimidated by the idea of driving on the 'wrong side' of the road, but it's a cinch and having the mobility meant we saw so much more.
Get out of the cities. For me the charm of the USA is in the nature, the small towns and the people who live out there.
Plan your trip and give yourself more time than you think you need. The place is damn big, and most great landmarks, national parks etc would need more than a single night to do it justice. We didn't do that last time. Lesson learned.
Try pretty much everything you can get your hands on - the variety of food you've got is staggering. S'mores! What a thing!

@lanadelporto

@lanadelporto


Biggest pet peeve about America: 

Honestly? There isn't much. I'm trying to think of something? 

Oh! Ah! I've got it! Outside of NYC more often than not you'll find the worst coffee in the universe. It's totally butchered. For the record, to be fair, any coffee is better than no coffee, but for an Australian it's always a bit of an adjustment to get used to the heavily filtered coffee. Or, worse yet, Starbucks! 

Let's just chalk that down to cultural differences. 

Biggest thrill of America:

The feeling of anticipation when arriving somewhere extremely grand like Yosemite, Death Valley or Monument Valley knowing that it's going to be good and then it's so much better (and bigger) than you expected. When you sit there, looking at these amazing sights, jaw hanging, quietly just taking it in. It's probably not the thrill you'd expect, but it is the one that sticks with you.


What makes America, America? 

America has had a bad wrap for a long time and a lot of people still judge it harshly and unfairly today. It's a beautiful country, full of great people who are just finding their place in the world. It's far from perfect, but nowhere is. 

I always think about a very sarcastic quote from a good friend of mine in LA who said when I mocked him and the USA prior to ever having visited: "You only hate us because we're number one!" I never really had much of a comeback for that and after having travelled through much of the USA, it was really apparent to me what he meant. 

It's a damn good country. 

To me, America being a country of 'more'. You want something? Well you can have more of whatever that thing is. You want a canyon? Well here's the biggest damn canyon in the world. You like steak? Well how about a huge, table sized t-bone? You want to buy absolutely everything organic shop in a vegan-friendly packaging with a soy latte and a kale salad? Welcome to WholeFoods! 

You guys live large in pretty much every way, and it's pretty hard to fault the pleasure and charm of that way of life.

I'm inclined to agree with Alexander. America is a damn good country. Let's continue to uphold, appreciate, and fight for the beauty & values of America the Great.

You can catch more of Alexander and Lana's travels on Instagram.

Alexander: @bethebravest                 Lana: @lanadelporto

Sit in awe as you watch their breathtaking timelapse of their journey through the desert.

Muir Woods

Ben Ashby

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I create these stories and never remember to publish them. This is a set we took last year at Muir Woods outside San Fransisco. The woods is the most insane pocket of giant red wood trees, and is only about thirty minutes outside SF. 

You'll want to reserve tickets online as the wait to get in the park is otherwise rather strange and intense. 

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A Moment at La Push, Washington

Ben Ashby

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Last fall Brandon and I made our way from Seattle out to the Pacific coast for a night at La Push, Washington. If you've never made the leap and visited the Pacific Northwest, your visit is long past due. The nature is just insane. From the forests, to the rocky coasts everything is pure magic. These images were shot with a Canon 5D IV. 

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Waterfall Hunting at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Ben Ashby

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While we were on our trip we made a point to stop along HWY 1 to see the waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. This spot, right on the edge of the state park is the perfect ten minute walk down a sidewalk to get the perfect views of the waterfall as it cascades into the Pacific. 

If you're doing this spot, there is a parking lot along the high way. The walk is fully paved and has few steps. If you're photographing this spot keep in mind that the waterfall isn't super close to the sidewalk. 

This is a good sunset spot, but the sunset sets opposite the waterfall, so you'd be photographing the colors casting light across the landscapes rather than directly into the sunset. 

To photograph this spot we used a Canon 5D IV with a 24-70 mm prime lens from BH Photo

Our Tips for Discovering Shark Fin Cove

Ben Ashby

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Lets take a moment and propose the idea that you're on the Pacific coast looking for a scene spot south of San Fransisco. May we suggest Shark Fin Cove. It is a short drive down from San Fransisco in Davenport, CA. 

 

The town is a tiny village along the Pacific Coast Highway. We suggest stopping here for breakfast and then hopping the couple of miles down the road to take in scenic cliff views. The cove gets its name from the large shark fin shape rock that sits just off the sandy shore. 

 

 

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Parking for this spot is a gravel lot along the highway. You'll want to wear hikeable shoes as the trek to the beach is down a make shift ditch/hill. Its about a five minute hike down the cliffside, but the dust and gravel make the hike a bit shaky. Once you're at the beach the hike is well worth it, but if you're unable to make it to the bottom the views from the top are equally amazing. 

The cove has a decent sized, and semi private beach. We always go for the photo moments along the rocks and caves. The tides are typically pretty loud and heavy. Be careful not to get your shoes wet. 

This is one of those spots to skip for sunrise or sunset. Do it in the middle of the day. The spot is unique for its fin shaped rock, not because of its sunset opps. 

 

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OUR TIPS:

  • Wear hiking shoes; its a short but dusty hike
  • To best capture the full shark fin bring a wide angle lens
  • Best hours to visit are mid day
  • It is one of the few beachy spots between SF and Big Sur

Whenever you're at any of the beaches along the coast, be a good citizen and collect the garbage that washes ashore. The over polluted Pacific has sadly started washing a depressingly high volume of garbage. 

We shot this spot with a Canon 5D IV with a 24-70mm lens

(I got a little slap happy shooting this bag strap for Native Sons Goods, so please excuse it in every photo)

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Where do I Want to Adventure to Next? || Luke Gottlieb

Ben Ashby

Where do I Want to Adventure to Next?

Meet Photographer Luke Gottlieb

 

Luke Gottlieb, the photographer behind Victor of Valencia on Instagram has been one of my very favorite photographers for a very long time. I dream of the day when I have the photographer skills and editing skills he has so brilliantly mastered. I wanted to learn more, so I made my way out to Colorado to learn Luke's backstory and life advice. 


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"Adventure is one of those things that keeps life interesting and completely fresh with experiences. It’s certainly the driving force behind most of my passions in life. It’s something I think about every morning I wake up too; where do I want to adventure to next?"

 — @victorofvalencia

 

Why do you explore? To me, exploration allows the unexpected to come to the surface of our lives. Without exploration, we never learn or see anything new. I also have this constant feeling of wanting to know what exists around the corner. As a child, it seems your whole existence is all about exploring and being curious. I think that we cary some of that same drive throughout our lives as we get older. 

 

Why take risks in life? Without risks, growth is absent. To me, evolving as a human being and having a better understanding of the world can’t happen unless you take risks or unless you really step out of your comfort zone. 

 

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Where are you from? I grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado called Carbondale. It’s an outdoor hub surrounded by old ranch lands, rivers, forests and mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. 

 

What is your 9-5?  I was never one to resonate very well with a 9-5 job. I’ve worked for myself the last 3 years and I can say it’s the best fit for me right now. I’m a full-time photographer. It’s amazing, but certainly has the challenges that comes with it. I often can’t remember what day it is, but maybe that is the point of it all… to just live life and experience every day as a new and exciting adventure. 

 

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When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? My dad was a musician and my mom was a music lover as well. I think when I picked up the guitar at the age of 12 I fantasized about being a rock star… as a lot of teenage boys do. I still play music, it’s in my blood and will be till the day I die. I record and do the occasional tour with my band. I don’t think I ever really had a firm grasp on what I wanted to really be in life, but I think that I have found my lane as a portrait and lifestyle photographer. 

 

 

 

Favorite place you've visited? There have been a lot of profound experiences in my life. Traveling has always been a part of them. I think that my experience in Israel was amazing. It had a lot of impact on me. The history is stark and complex, but the culture and people are beautiful. 

 

 

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Place you most desperately want to visit? I have always wanted to post up in a bungalow on the beach in a place like Fiji or Tahiti. I have had a fascination with surf/island culture since I was really young. So much of my family is from southern California, so the ocean has always captured my heart and soul in a lot of ways.

 


What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? I’m going to circle back to my experience in Israel and say that it’s the greatest moment of humanity has been seeing and feeling the resiliency of that place. It’s a powerful area, with religion, history and humanity all wrapped up into a complex web. Germany was another really powerful experience. Seeing the concentration camps in person floored me. It’s wild thinking about the past while standing on the very ground it all those terrible events took place. 

 

 

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What has changed about you because of your travels? For me, traveling has expanded my view of the world. From that I feel I have become much more humble and modest. Maybe sometimes to a fault, but there are just so many amazing people and places in this world that it has forced me to be much more selfless and inspired as well. 

 

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? I think a lot about this actually, who has been the most thought provoking person I have encountered. My dad would definitely be that person. We have had challenging and deep conversations my whole life and he certainly has encouraged me to think of the world in various different ways. 

 

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If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I think I would have to say Edward Abbey. To some, he was an extremist in his views of the environment, but his passion for it and his love for nature is something I have resonated with throughout my life. His heart is in the southwestern desert as much of mine is as well. He is a deep thinker and adventurer and to see the world with him would be incredibly fascinating. 

 

What are your must haves for travel? Pack lite, don’t plan too much and say YES. I have been more of a YES person as I have gotten older and what not a better time to say YES then being far away from home. 

 

Give us a travel tip: In college, I did my senior internship in the Bahamas. I was part of a research team traveling around the islands and documenting the state of coral bleaching that was taking over the vast reefs surrounding the islands. It was pretty eye opening swimming around with the sea life and seeing the extent in which the reefs were dying. In the grand scheme of things it is a small and tiny area, but it was a direct way to become more aware to the state of our planet. 

 

 

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What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? 

I think that if we could learn more about each other and be open to new ways of looking at the world it would allow us all to improve as humans. There is just so much diversity on this planet both in body and mind to think selfishly.

 

I would definitely not preach to them that traveling is necessary, but I would encourage them to reach outside of their comfort zone. To me, that is the largest hurdle for someone who has never traveled. Things come easy here (your native country), it is what we know best, but, to insert yourself into a country where your native language isn’t spoken as the first language is awesome. It makes you very self aware. 

 

What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? This goes back to the diversity answer, but I think it has taught me more about being a humble human being. When you really focus on the idea that everyone experiences this life in their own individual way it makes you more self aware and accepting of others. 

 

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When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone. What did you learn from that lesson? I can't think of a particular moment where I felt super out of my comfort zone. I feel that traveling in general always has moments where you feel that. It's easy to feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to do something when you are in those situations. I think a lot of people can relate to that. I typically just take a step back and know that I will be ok and that I can figure it out. It goes back to our primal problem solving skills. You just kind of get through it! That is the biggest lesson, to trust you will be ok and that being uncomfortable is quite normal for a lot of people. You just have to take some breaths. 

 

What would you say to your former self? I would probably tell myself to take the money I would spend on meaningless things and put it towards International plane tickets.  

 

What gives you hope? Meeting genuinely nice people who care about others and our planet gives me the most hope. Seeing people really connected with their place, wether that is culture or environment is a beautiful thing and makes me feel encouraged that that will be passed on to the younger generations to come. To all the people dedicating their lives to sustainable farming, you may give me the most hope.

 

Where to next? As I have gotten older I have an ever increasing itch to see more of the world. I’m a sucker for cinema and connecting to storytelling. I want to see all these places that just have existed on paper or on the big screen. This fascination I have with period pieces and historical storytelling makes me want to be inserted into the places they exist. 

 

Is flannel always in season? I grew up in the mountains, so flannel will forever be a staple piece in my closet and truck. I probably wear flannel every 5 out of 7 days. It’s the best! 

 

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Finding the Happy || Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

Ben Ashby

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Finding the Happy

Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

 

Heath Stiltner takes us on a colorful walk through his favorite Los Angeles neighborhood—Los Feliz—to share a few of his top places to visit and things to see. With a rich Spanish-Mexican heritage and artistic influence Los Feliz is his favorite place to visit in LA when he wants that cool California vibe with a sense of history.

 


As I pulled on my olive green overalls, the strong smell of my first coffee of the day filled the small studio cottage my friend had offered to let me stay in for the week. I’d been to the City of Angels before, but had never stayed so long in this neighborhood—Los Feliz. With its lively and diverse small-town atmosphere it was hard not to feel right at home here. 

 

Bright and modern Spanish bungalows lined the street gently rolling through the neighborhood like old dirt roads recently paved, everywhere there was a feeling of the cool LA vibe version of a frontier town. You just can’t help but smile in Los Feliz, so a name which translates to “the happy” seems fitting—though it gets its name from its Spanish-Mexican colonial land grantee, Jose Vicente Feliz. Los Feliz is home to one of my favorite LA breakfast haunts, Sunset Junction Cafe. While I love the bright diner atmosphere of Sunset Junction, the thing that always brings me back is the amazing staff. (I live in Kentucky, and when I revisited the spot almost two months later they remembered me.) If you’re looking for that cinematic place where you can go work on your script and have amazing Eggs Benedict, this is your place. Sorry, I can’t guarantee James Franco will be sitting across from you, as well.

 

Full of coffee and eggs I go back out to explore the neighborhood, finding myself a comic nerd haven in Secret Headquarters, stopping for an American-made clothing fix with Buck Mason, and visiting several sets of hidden staircases for which Los Angeles is famous. Micheltorena & Prospect stairs are two such staircases in the Los Feliz neighborhood, Micheltorena is the more colorful of the two having been painted with hearts and rainbow colored risers. Los Feliz is a neighborhoods ideal for long strolls to discover hidden gems like these, and can be an amazing place for photographers looking to catch that authentic ‘sunny California’ vibe. 

 

With Griffith Park to its north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and Hollywood and the Hills to its south and west, Los Feliz is the neighborhood to visit when you want to see all that LA has to offer. In only one day you can walk from Alfred Coffee on the edge of Silver Lake, have breakfast at Sunset Junction, shop and browse your way down Sunset Boulevard, hit the vintage shops of Hollywood Boulevard, get the best view the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park from the stunt Barnsdall Art Park property, and hike all the way over to Griffith Park itself. Los Feliz houses some of Los Angeles’ most famous architecture, and Barnsdall Art Park is no exception. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that houses Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as an arts & theater complex. If you want to touch a part of LA’s architectural history and get one of the city’s best view, I suggest visiting Barnsdall.

 

After spending much of my trip hiking the urban landscape, an escape to Griffith Park with my friend Keegan was a necessity. When you want a peaceful hike and an escape from the busy streets, Griffith Park is your haven. Donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896, the Park has some of the best sweeping views of downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood sign—as well as free tours of the observatory.

 

After a long day packed with adventure, one needs to reflect with good friends and food. Making my way back down to the valley below, I stop for dinner in my favorite little Italian restaurant, La Pergoletta. Tucked away just off Hillhurst Ave., this gem makes some of the best pasta I’ve ever had in LA—and I love carbs. Taking a seat at one of the red and white gingham covered cafe tables outside I begin to unravel my day. The many faces and places I’d met in just just a day, and how many more lie in waiting just down the street. After devouring a large bowl of lobster ravioli and more bread than I care to admit, I start my walk back to the small artist’s studio At my friend’s home that I have grown to call home in LA. The giant cacti on seem to grow in the moonlight as I walk down Hillhurst Ave. It’s hard to believe that one small neighborhood can hold so much magic and history, but it’s not hard to believe the neighborhood where, sitting in his uncle’s garage, Walt Disney drew his first sketch of the world-beloved Mickey Mouse. Los Feliz feels like the hometown of Los Angeles, and it’s a hometown where everyone is welcome.

 

 

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles

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Hache LA, Los Angeles.

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Alfred Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles.

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Buck Mason mobile, Los Angeles.

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Los Feliz, Los Angeles.

 

— @heathstiltner

Risks Lead to Lessons | Adventure with Yoni Gill

Ben Ashby

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YONI GILL

RISKS LEAD TO LESSONS

 

Paige first introduced me to Yoni a couple of years ago as we were driving across the US. Yoni, a recent college graduate was still in school in Nebraska. He met up with out group and took us to what I think was a bison range. I'm not super sure, nor am I sure we even saw any wildlife. It was cold, dark, and we were less than halfway across the US. For years I had assumed, like most Americas that Nebraska was simply a fly-over state. In that short chilly afternoon Yoni introduced us to the wide open beauty of the plaines. As a photographer Yoni travels the globe shooting portraits and weddings, for me, I was eager to learn more about how Yoni made it from Israel to Nebraska and how that altered his world view.....

 


 

Why do you adventure? It's in my blood, my father is a man of great adventure, I grew up listening to his stories of places he's been. When he met my mom (She met my dad while traveling the Sinai desert, while backpacking through Europe.), those adventures just doubled. They have boxes and boxes of photos they took from all of their travels, beautiful old school film. They can tell me the story of each photograph. That's probably the single most intense drive I have for adventuring and traveling.

 

Why do you explore? It’s the only time I ever truly feel like myself. I get restless easily, if I don't go on a trip often I start to lose my mind.

 

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Why take risks in life? In the words of Ash Ketchum, “nothing in life is a waste of time.” Plus risks lead to lessons.

 

Where are you from? I was born in Israel, I moved to Papillion, Nebraska when I was 10. My mom's side of the family is from western Nebraska, so they all lived there. That's why I went from the desert to the icy winters of the Midwest.

 

What is your 9-5? Is that slang for job? I photograph humans, my dog, and landscapes on occasion. I just finished my degree in advertising at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

When on a trip it's more like a 5-midnight, because you almost always want that sunrise shot?

 

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When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? I actually really wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I wanted to design car engines. My Dad is a private car dealer (that's a title hard to explain) I grew up around cars my whole life. Then I realized in college how terrible I was at Chemistry, that's how I ended up picking up photography.

 

Favorite place you've visited? There was this lake, outside Mammoth, California. Convict Lake, it's kinda famous. I went there with my friends Greg Balkin, and Taylor Burk. We stayed with another friend Josh Wray, who runs some advertising for mammoth. Anyway we woke up super early one morning and went out to this lake, in November of 2015. It was cold, like 6o, and Greg & Taylor needed to shoot for Oru Kayak. Being the only one not working for them, it was my job to be the guy in the kayak. I got in and almost fell in the lake, but I caught myself by plunging my right arm into the lake. Then I had to kayak for 25ish minutes with a freezing arm. I almost passed out getting back to the car. Not sure why but it's one of my most fond memories, maybe it's because I felt really courageous after that, or maybe it's because we went to a diner and I got chocolate chip pancakes.

 

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Place you most desperately want to visit? I NEED TO GO AFRICA. I went as a kid but I don't remember any of it. I have a huge passion for animals. The bigger the better, and my heart aches daily for the ivory poaching that happens on that continent. I want to photograph some rhinos and elephants before I can't.

 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? In high school I was on a trip to Poland with 150 other Jewish teens from around the country, we had a holocaust survivor with us. Just the cutest tiniest lady named Trudy, we were walking through Majdanek (the most "put together" death camp still in existence). Anyway I hadn't gotten more than a hundred yards through this place, with Trudy by side when she grabs my hand. At first I thought she might need my support, then I realized I was the one crying my eyes out. The human heart is an exceptional piece of understanding.

 

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What has changed about you because of your travels? I feel that I grow a bit each time I get on a plane, I've learned most from meeting other people, and the farther away they are the more I seem to learn.

 

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? Dallas Clayton, he writes children's books.

 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? This question really stumped me until I saw "or in present" I would love to go on a trip with Obama, which I know sounds like a super lame cop-out answer, but it's not for political reasons, I just think he would love to hangout with some elephants as much as I do.

 

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Must haves for travel? Stuff you should always pack?
Underwear. Everything else you can just buy, unless you don't have any money, then you should make sure you packed it. I always make a packing list, even if it's common sense stuff, you don't want to be at the airport and realize you forgot all of your t-shirts on the bed.

 

 

Give us some travel tips: You will learn to hate sitting in the back of the plane, not because of the comfort, but because of how long it takes to get off when you get somewhere you really want to go. Buy a car you can set up to sleep in comfortably. I suggest a Subaru Forester, mine's named Humphrey, he's really rad.

Buy a camera, even if you're not a photographer, you don't need to be, just take photos of everything you see, the market, the hotel, the car you're in, the views you see, the people you meet. We don't have perfect memories, we do forget, and those things you don't want to forget,

 

...trust me. Print the photos, keep them in a shoe box.

One day you might show these pictures to your kids.

 

Also be stupidly kind to the people who work in travel, you never know when you'll get an upgrade or a perk for being nice even when everything has gone wrong.

 

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Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips that was impactful: It's okay to travel alone, even for a day, the world is not out to get you. Sometimes I get the most out of a trip when I take a day to explore alone. Recently I walked 13 miles through Seattle in one day and when I got to the space needle, I just sat there and soaked it all in. Then I got some tacos. - always get tacos. It doesn’t always have to be a whole day alone, if you're not like that. I got to Granby Colorado for a wedding weekend in August, I got there an hour before the sunset, and I knew I had to get some photos before I met up with everyone. I went on a trail run and ran out of light before I got to the meadow I was trying to get to, I thought it was going to be a total flop. On the drive back, I found a group of elk that just came off the mountain, they were so graceful, I stood out of the sunroof of my car and observed. I remembered to snag a picture before I left, it’s kinda blurry but I love it.

 

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Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger Make flights cheaper, make borders more transparent. We need to meet each other. More accessible tacos.

 

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Adventure isn't on top of a mountain, it's not the beautiful waterfalls or cliffs. It's everywhere, you've travelled before, I can almost guarantee it. You just didn't know you were.

 

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What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? How different they're not.

 

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When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? I can't sleep in tents, I was backpacking with my brother once in the mountains of Colorado, and we had a little incident with a moose, it's a fairly long story but it got me good, and now I can't sleep in tents. Put me in a tent and you'll have a very uncomfortable Yoni.

This might lead you to the question:
"How do you sleep when you camp then?" I don't, or I just sleep in my car.

The greatest lesson I've learned from this: you CAN overcome challenges, no matter how impossible they might seem, you just have to think out of the box, and accept some situations but you have to try first.

 

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What would you say to your former self? "Hey thanks for everything you tried to do, don't worry we figured it out, also one day you'll become lactose intolerant so please binge on ice cream, you can lose weight later"

 

What gives you hope? I'm a lame hopeless romantic, I've yet to meet a person that has made me completely lose hope in humanity. Then again, I haven’t met Trump in person yet.

 

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Where to next? California to Yeah Field Trip! After that some more domestic trips, then hopefully somewhere new.

 

Is flannel always in season? If it's not, you can always get flannel boxers and just not tell anyone you're wearing them.

@YoniLiveOnce || YoniGill.com

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The San Francisco Guide to Nature

Ben Ashby

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When I travel I really want the best of all possible worlds to be right around me. I want nature, I want the city, and I want it to mix perfectly together. This was my first trip to San Francisco and I had no idea that this city would provide both worlds with great ease. The idea behind this trip was to spend three days in San Francisco. Our goal was to spend as much time as possible photographing the area. Before we arrived Paige had already made a list of all the places and spaces she wanted to visit. We broke those into three areas and decided to tackle one area a day. The following is our guide for three days in San Francisco. 

 

For the trip our home base was the Marker Hotel. It is just a few blocks from Union Square and has much of the city within walking distance. Their onsite parking made frequent in and out trips super easy.

 

 

Day One: The Golden Gate Bridge and North

 

We’ve all seen that opening to Full House. We’ve seen the car and the family going across the bridge, and as kids we all dreamt of the day we too would go across. That nostalgia is most certainly why the northern area had to be our first location.

 

This guide can really be done in any order,

we typically plan things around the position of the sun. 

 

Stops:

Golden Gate Bridge (Fort Point) — this Civil War era fort sits under the south side of the bridge. The area around it provides a perfect spot to get that under the bridge photo or a shot of Alcatraz in the distance.

 

Muir Woods — we were really surprised at the sheer beauty of this park. The redwoods, while only 2/3 the size of those found further inland are still massive and truly a sight to see. The wooden footbridges throughout the park create a wonderful aesthetic and harken back to days gone by. Do this park during the day as light is on short supply below the tree canopy.

 

Mount Tamalpais — go at sunset. This mount is one of the highest peaks in the bay area. Known for its golden hills and its views above the clouds and fog this is the best photo moment of your trip. While there we were surrounded by grazing deer and other wildlife. 

 

Fort Baker — is on the northern side of the bridge. It gives glorious shots from above the bridge looking into the bay. This spot is usually crowded. Plan enough time to hunt for parking. The view is worth the wait or hike. 

 

Kirby Cove — there is a swing that hangs over the water. It is the perfect photograph, but it requires a rather long and steep hike. We did not venture to this spot, but have heard it is worth the hike.

 

Point Bonita Lighthouse — the hours at this lighthouse are odd. Check the hours before you go. Once you’re there follow the audio walking tour to learn about the park and the lighthouse. It was a highlight of the short trip to the lighthouse. From here you get a really wide shot of the entire city, bridge, and bay. Hike up above the lighthouse for amazing views of the Pacific. 

 

 

Sadly we didn’t take any time for food stops while north of the city. We ended our day at the Cheesecake Factory. 

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Day Two: Inside San Fransisco

 

Sutro Bath Ruins — we started our day well before sunrise. Paige’s favorite spot of the trip was our sunrise at the ruins of the Sutro Baths. When built in the late 1800s it was the largest indoor pool complex in the world. The entire property burned in the 1960s and the ruins have since become iconic for their weathered concrete pools and amazing glassy reflections. The waves of the Pacific crash along the shoreline behind the ruins. Before you go educate yourself on the ruins. It was a fascinating story. If you go in the afternoon or evening eat at the historic Cliff House on the cliffs above the ruins.

 

Lands End — this park and area of the city is heavily wooded and sits along the coast. We stopped at two beaches to get views of the bridge in the distance. We also spotted cute sea life along the shore. Locals say Baker Beach is a great stop for views of the bridge.

 

Ferry Building — the perfect stop for breakfast or lunch. Vendor and food stalls line the hallways of this historic building. From here you can take a ferry across the bay for wonderful shots of the city. 

 

The Painted Ladies — the iconic park scene from the Full House opening comes to life high on a hill in the city. If you’re looking from the house with the red door that the Tanner’s lived in…you’ll find it three short blocks away.

 

 

Day Three: South of San Francisco 

 

For our final day we wanted to see the area south of the city so we would be closer to the airport. 

 

If time allows go to Big Sur. Before you go check on road conditions. If the weather and roads are good this is a must do drive while in central California. 

 

Bixby Canyon Bridge — a classic on Highway 1. Wide turn offs allow for sweeping views of the bridge as it crosses the cliffs of this historic highway.

 

Shark Fin Cove – sunrise at Shark Fin Cove is a must do. Rock formations out in the water look identical to a shark fin. The sand covered cove has a cave with crashing waves surrounding it. This is the spot to get your coastal pacific cliffs image. Stop for breakfast in the town of Davenport after you leave the beach.

 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park — surround yourself with hundreds of ancient redwoods as you take leisurely hikes. The roads into the park also allow for high vistas above the tree lines. 

 

 

Sadly we know we missed many other spots are the city and around Central California. When planning your trip to the region keep in mind that many of the roads are winding and steep. Speeds are slow, but with nature all around you, surely you’ll want to drive slow and take it all in. Cell service is rather spotty in most of the areas, even those just a short distance from the city. 

 

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Our Tips for Your Trip

 

1) Our biggest tip for visiting this area is pack plenty of water. While the city and the bay area typically has a cooler wetter climate, you’ll notice as soon as you leave the bay that the temperatures rise. Pack water and plenty of snacks. 

 

2) When renting a car keep in mind that you’ll most likely be staying within the city. Think compact. The majority of the roads to the parks are easily doable in a compact car. Small cars also allow for easier maneuvering around the tight switchbacks. 

 

3) Plan ahead. If Paige hadn’t been as well prepared with a list of all the places she wanted to see we wouldn’t have been able to plan as strategically to fit in as many stops as we did.

 

4) Slow down. After years of doing these overly fast photography trips I can assure you nothing is worse than rushing. While you may think you’re only in these places for the photographs, you want to enjoy your time there. Slow down and step away from the camera. Create an experience and a memory to go along with your photos. 

 

5) Make friends with locals. While looking at a map in a coffee shop a local beside us offered her recommendations for local restaurants and shoppings spots. Take their advice. Nothing is worse than a bad food experience. 

 

6) Leave the selfie stick at home. When you’re traveling please be aware that you aren’t alone. Don’t ruin others memories by parading around selfie sticks, live streaming, or droning your entire experience. Ask someone to snap a photo of you, or stick to images of nature. 

 


SPECIAL THANKS TO:  JDV HOTELS (THE MARKER) || BH PHOTO (WE USED A CANON 5D MARK IV) || MAKERS MARKET, AVIATE, STOCK MFG CO, AND BUCK MASON FOR CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES)

Additional thanks to: National Car Rental and Delta Airlines

 

"Shortly, It Will All be Memories" || Meet Patrice Plouffe

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Patrice Plouffe has enchanted us with his dark and moody landscapes from across the globe. We wanted to learn more about his photography and his adventures so we sat down for a chat. 

 


Why do you adventure?  When I’m on an adventure, I am by myself. Being far away from others and big cities makes me feel alive and helps me manage my stress. 
 


 

Why do you explore? I love to take pictures of wild animals. I explore to be able to find their most hidden dens and capture pictures of them in their natural state. 
 

 

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Why take risks in life? I used to never take risks I was comfortable with the stability. But things happened in my life and that’s forces me to push myself and my limits. Sometimes even if you don’t want to, you have to. Personally, my best memories are from when I took risks. 


 

Where are you from? I am from Québec, Canada. I was born and raised the very small town of Saint-Sulpice (population of about 2,000). My backyard was fields and forests. I think that’s why I’ve always loved wildlife and why I’ve always had a special connection with nature. Presently, for work, I live in the much bigger city of Montreal, unfortunately. I do however on weekends get out of town as much as I can! 

 
 

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What is your 9-5? I am the project manager for a downtown Montréal artist/designer company. 


 

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? When I was very young I wanted to invent things, like an industrial designer. After, a little older, I started to play guitar and was in a band. So at that point I wanted to be a rockstar (haha). I’ve always be a very creative person: I play music, I draw, I take pictures. My big goal is to live off my art.

 

 

 

 

Favorite place you've visited? Everywhere in Iceland, but Jökulsárlón blue lagoon was magical. 


 

Place you most desperately want to visit? Indonesia


 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? I will always be amazed how generous people are towards strangers. 

When I was younger I played music in a band. We used to do a lot of shows and tours away from home. For weeks we had little money and no place to sleep. 

People were always ready to invite us in to their homes, let us take showers and made us food even though they didn’t know us personally. There was also one family in Iceland that will always be in my heart. They were so generous with my friend and myself. They invited us, complete strangers, into their home. They made us dinner, gave us a place to sleep, shared their knowledge of Iceland with us and even lent us their car. 


What has changed about you because of your travels? I'm much more grateful for what I have in life. I enjoy the simple things that surround me.


 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I am used to traveling alone but if I had to choose it would be with my good friend Micheal. He’s not complicated, he’s as easy going as I am and we’re often on the same wave length. He pushes me to take more risks and be more adventurous. 


 

 

Must haves for travel? Toilet paper.


 

Travel tips: If you’re short on time and cannot take a long term vacation be sure to rent a car. By relying on public transportation you loose a lot of time. You’ll be so much less stressed and another perk, you can always sleep in the car if necessary. 


 

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Give us a story: I traveled alone in Costa rica and everyone told me that it was a very safe place, but in the city of Tamarindo I ran into trouble. I was out at a club with a lot of Costaricans, it was the only night of my trip that I decided to go out to party. A Costarican was bothering me the whole night, trying to sell me cocaine. A little later in the night, a couple of drinks in, I had made friends with another traveler who was staying at the same hostel as I. I was honestly a bit tipsy and had to use the washroom, but it was very far in a dark corner behind the club. When I got out of the washroom the same guy who was harassing me to buy cocaine came at me with a knife in his hands telling me I have to buy his cocaine or I would be in a lot of trouble. Not knowing how to react I told him I had no money on me, but I would be back quickly with some. He obviously followed me back into the club. This is where I saw the one friend I had made at the beginning of the night. I told him I was in a lot of trouble and needed his help to get back safely to the hostel. He took a moment and tried to talk to the Costarican, without success. He couldn’t do anything for me because the Costarican had pulled a gun on him. At this point I must admit I was pretty scared, not to mention the club was closing in less than an hour. I didn’t know what to do. I told the Costarican that I needed to get to the bank and at that point I just bolted. I must have ran 6KM in 2minutes (haha) to get back to the hostel. Luckily I met a security guard who calmed me down and reassured me. Apparently in the drug “low seasons” in Tamarindo it happens a lot. I don’t have to tell you I didn’t sleep one wink that night. I would have to say, be extra vigilant and careful, you never know what can happen when you’re alone! Words of advice when you’re alone: don’t drink too much and keep your head straight. 


 

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Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger: Humanity has lost its way, If I could remove one thing on earth to help the world it would be all the hatred, terrorists and religions. Every single human needs to accept everyone as they are. When defining religions, we create differences, thus separating us all instead of drawing us all together.

 

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Take time to enjoy and relax, don't be hurried. It’s over way too soon. Shortly, it will all be memories. You will regret if you don’t enjoy the moment.

 

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When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? Every time I travel I'm out of my comfort zone. I travel with only a backpack and a limited budget. That's what I love and I learn every time to be more grateful of what I have back home. The time I’ve felt the most out of my comfort zone was the Costa Rica incident previously mentioned. I felt very alone and powerless. I’ve learned to be more careful and not go to crazy partying alone in a club so far  away from home ;)


What would you say to your former self? Time changes everything, stop stressing, be patient, everything will fall into place.


 

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What gives you hope? Photography, nature, landscapes, wildlife


 

Where to next? I would love to visit my country.  The Rockies, British Columbia. Also for my next big trip I would visit Norway. 
 


 

Is flannel always in season? No :/ I'm always hot. 

 

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Why Must We Protect Our Public Lands?

Ben Ashby

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WHY MUST WE PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS

ESSAY BY AMY HAYDEN || PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAIGE DENKIN

 

The question was asked...why must we protect our public lands and parks... Amy Hayden responded with a beautiful essay

Here is a simple history lesson for you. You do realize that's how these places became national parks. Someone wandered onto the land and saw the beauty and decided it needed to be known that it was a beautiful, majestic wonder the earth created, and it needed to be known that there were many people that came before us and they put their mark on it and called it home. And when decades later it was discovered people went to great lengths to protect it, and to teach others about it, to help preserve such a wonder, a rare beauty. Beauties that every state in our country once had tons of and now everyday we are losing more of them from natural disasters and political disasters. If no one stepped foot into these areas there would be no beauty to admire. No one would know or care about such places. We'd be suffocating with cities filled to the brim with people.

 

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These places are our history, my history, Native American runs through my blood and I would love to know what my ancestors experienced before I die, so I too can find a way to leave my mark on this earth for future generations to see and experience when I'm long gone. To remember who came before them as we are now remembering who came before us. That's what national parks/monuments are all about. To teach us to be grateful, to show us that we were not just handed all this. It's to teach us that one day this world will no longer exist in the beauty we see it today. Stepping foot into such a place is not killing it, it's making it a beautiful memory. But drilling and mining miles down underneath it, Say goodbye resources this beautiful land survives on. Say hello to a wasteland caused by greedy, power hungry humans. Open your eyes and see the answers are in these places.

@REBELLIOUSWALLFLOWER