Driving Highway 1

Spanning the majority of the California coastline, Highway 1 graces many adventurer’s bucket lists. Every convertible driver’s dream road runs parallel to arguably the most beautiful coastline in the United States. Living in San Francisco, it’s typically a cheaper and much more convenient flight to Los Angeles, but a few weeks ago I found myself in circumstances that returning from a road trip made taking the otherwise-known Pacific Coast Highway the best way back home. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to turn it into an adventure.

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Sunrise Above the Fog – Patience Paying Off

Recently I wrote a post titled 10 Things Photography Has Taught Me About Life. In that post, the item that I gave the most value to was patience. A few weeks ago this paid off for me in the best way.

Mount Evans is a 14er which sits on the front range just outside of the Denver metroplex. On it is the highest paved road in North America which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. Since moving to Colorado in 2007 I’ve kept a daily eye on the weather hoping to see a prediction of slow moving storms which bring low fog through the valley below the peak’s summit. Time and time again I’ve left my house at 3:30 AM only to catch a cloud-free sunrise or a dense whiteout. Watching a new day begin from 14,000 feet made each trip worth it, but continually not getting what I set out to see was a huge test to my patience.

That all changed last week.
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Exploring Southern Alaska

Last July, I was invited to go on a scouting trip to Sitka, Alaska with my good friend Colby Brown, a fine-art photographer from Denver. Having wanted to travel to Alaska since I was a little kid, I jumped at the opportunity. It would also give me a chance to scout a location that I have plans to revisit for two weeks this fall with a surfing crew.

Alaska was just as I imagined it. Friendly locals, clean, and untouched – like traveling back in time. However, upon returning home, the images have stayed on my hard drives for nearly 9 months. I shared some on Facebook and put a few more on my Tumblr, but nothing went into the print store, nor did I send anything out for publication. I brought back photos of broad, vibrant scenes, but that’s not what I felt in Alaska. Standing in the accurately-named Last Frontier state felt more raw. Like early explorers stepping foot on a new location for the first time. I didn’t feel that my shots captured that.

A few weeks ago I was lucky to stumble upon VSCO film, a set of film emulation presets for Lightroom. As a photographer, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never shot film. A part of me feels as though it’s some sort of right of passage to actually be called a photographer, and that I’m fooling everyone in the meantime. Applying the VSCO presets and some minor Lightroom adjustments, however, comes close to the feeling I get while flipping through old family photo albums. That’s what my photos from Alaska were missing – history and character.

So, 9 months later, here are some select shots from Sitka and Kruzof Island, Alaska. I can’t wait to return this fall with surfboards and tents in tow.
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