i've kicked around the idea of having those who inspire me contribute their photos and words to the website for a while now. i hear so many stories filled with truth and see so many breathtaking photographs that if i'm any kind of position to share what influences me i need to do so. #outposts will be a way for me to do this, if you'd like to contribute shoot me an email. 

i haven't known @holdenwhatley for more than a year, but he has already become a very close friend; always willing to talk about cameras, dogs, life and everything in between. i'm excited to have him contribute his words and 35mm film snaps to the site.

I’m getting pretty deep into a sweltering Texas afternoon. No a/c and black leather seats means every small town, 30 mph speed limit, and stop light gets me closer to heat exhaustion, I take another swig from the gallon of water I bought at a gas station a few miles back, already halfway gone. Funny how long this 80 some odd mile drive is getting. Then it hits, a hint of destination, or destiny, I don’t know. I get the old Volvo wagon back up to about 75 outside of town, thing weighs a couple tons so once you hit a nice cruising speed you just sort ­of let go and let it carry you, keeps you in this zen state, starting to get a little loopy from the temperature so might as well just ride it out.

Dierks Bentley is blasting on the country radio, only one station out here, but i don’t even hear it, I’m zoned out, lulled, no longer anxious, annoyed, or anything of that sort; just there in my daze, there in an honest Texas summer moment. A quick glance jolts me, a sign casually states “DIP” and the weight of the car follows the road down, along with the temperature. For a split second there, it was a wet cool riverbed, moss and fish nests and all the rest.

I floor it and pop out of that moment like I’m running from a storm on some forgotten plain out in Kansas, but really I’m running at something, I’m chasing that river.

Half an hour goes by and I’m close, it’s back I can smell it, but can’t quite see it yet. I guess this is where you should know that I’m not on a quest for enlightenment or trying to wrestle my soul into some form of purpose, I’m just going to Llano, TX to drink beer in a river with some good friends, and I’m a little bit more than ready to be there. Things get a little tricky because the address that I got sent in the group text invite was wrong, and my Sprint data had given up long ago, I was just kinda out there somewhere on the edge of the Llano uplift, which turns into New Mexico at some point I’m pretty sure. There was this old couple out working in their garden, and they waved me over. After a bit of casual conversation about all the rain we’d been getting, and how the heat is taking its toll on their summer garden, they eagerly point me in the direction of where I should be directed.

Turn into a field, drive a bit sideways around some Mesquite trees and Agarita bushes, put it in park next to some old army bunkers just in time for my dog and I to jump in a Jeep bouncy and two  minutes later I’m running for the waters edge. The sand is hot and the beer is not.

About 24 hours later it's time to get back on that road, time to hold onto every minute since I parked the car. I remember there was ice­ cream cake, blue stars, more laughter than I’ve heard in a while, a few games of threes, maybe a couple hours of sleep; but really it just all got wrapped up in that cool embrace that beckoned and always will.

I can still smell the river.