america yall

Colorado - Mt. Evans & Boulder

we, as people, make time for what is important to us. if it is something we truly want, we will find a way to make it come to fruition. a question i'm often asked is "how do you get to travel all the time, i would love to be able to do that." the truth is i have a standard nine to five job. everything you see on here is done within those confines. weekends, holidays and vacation time are when all of my traveling is done. an aim of mine with america y'all has always been to show folks that all you need is a weekend to get out there and experience something new. 

this past weekend was no different, when my friends mentioned wanting to get out of austin i quickly shouted "denver!" a crazy notion and a very long drive, but miss sarah rose and the mountains were already calling my name again.

i feel as though i learned at a fairly young age that our time here is limited, and we only have this very short period to make it count for something. this fire can lend itself to some wild ideas, but at the end of the day i can handle that, i could not handle living with a "what if".

i've never brought this up here before, or even much in my personal life for that matter, but at the age of sixteen my father passed away. i tend not to mention it because it elicits sympathy from people. words of sorrow, and although they are very thoughtful, they are not needed. that single event shaped my life in such a positive way that at this point, as callous as it sounds, i don't think i would have it any other way.

it's pushed me to become who i am today, hopping in a car with a couple of friends and driving thirty hours just to be in a place for forty eight, diving head first into friendships and relationships because that is what my heart is telling me to do, and striving to see and do as much as i can while i still can. 

a friend mentioned wanting to go write on one of those "before i die i want to.." chalkboards yesterday, and i struggled all day trying to come up with something i wanted, or even a place i wanted to go. but as i watched her scrawl words in the dark i think she captured what i want to do before i die perfectly, "live genuinely" "live lovingly" "live passionately"  

Llano River, Texas.

for my twenty seventh birthday i had plans of heading down to the us/mexico border by my lonesome for a little kayak overnighter. on my way to pick up the rental car for the trip i feel my phone buzz, "come out to llano tonight." after an internal back and forth, and another text reading "del rio will always be there, we won't always be in llano." i decided it would be better to spend my birthday with good friends rather than by myself. 

this new year was started with a lot of laughs under a bright full moon and a sunrise swim in the llano river. i'm extremely thankful i decided against the solo trip, as i couldn't have asked for a better time with a better group of folks.

i've always thought of myself as a person who liked solitude, and after the divorce i had grand visions of solo road trips and camping under the stars alone. i do still long for that feeling, but as i continue to grow i find that sharing my time with old and new friends helps me better experience the places i go and the things i do.

"happiness is only real when shared." christopher mccandless

Buffalo Farm - Gilford, New Hampshire

as a kid, my parents would drive a few miles out of the way so we could pass this one gorgeous pasture filled with buffalo in the town we lived in. fast forward to teenage years, your mind is consumed with your high school sweetheart, finding sweet skate spots or dance dance revolution. you forget about those exciting car rides and the beautiful lands your home offers.

oddly enough, the owners of this farm are now family through marriage; i suppose it may not be that strange when you grow up in a small town like laconia, new hampshire.

bolduc farm was built in 1776 and is the oldest continuously running sap house in the united states, first tapping the maple trees the year they built the farm. they also raise the aforementioned buffalo because (in the words of ernie bolduc, the owner) “There is nothing more American than the buffalo!” 


Developed - Llano - Young Settlers

shot on : fuji superia 800

when we moved to texas two and a half years ago we knew exactly one person, someone who we had only met a few months before while visiting. fresh to austin and newly married we wondered where we would fit in this city. luckily this one friend quickly introduced us to a very welcoming group of people. 

growing up on the east coast and spending six years in philadelphia before moving to the lone star state being introduced to born and raised texans was a shock to us. these people wanted to be our friends right off the bat? they were genuinely interested in us and our stories? we witnessed first hand what everyone refers to as southern hospitality. back east friendship and trust is earned over time, down here it is given automatically. 

once a year these folks make a trek out to some family land on the llano river for a week of camping, fires, swimming, food, guns and booze. i was lucky enough to make it out for a night for the third year in a row. 

we regretfully don't get to see this group of friends as much as i'd like, but that never seems to matter. regardless of how long it's been since we last saw them they are always welcoming; just as gracious as they were when taylor and i wandered up to their front porch two and a half years ago. texas has a hold on us, from day one we felt like we belonged here and these people played a huge role in making us feel like this was our home.  

Field Trip - Texas Wildflowers

"we only take pictures of the things we are afraid to lose." i read this a while back on somebody's instagram and really identified with it. up until that point i could never really define why i took the photographs i did, i probably would have classified myself as a "landscape photographer". and while it's true that i do take some landscape pictures, i take them because of what i'm feeling that moment, standing there with my wife seeing something new for the first time. 

kneeling down in a field of flowers trying to take some pictures for this post taylor asked me "what's wrong", i answered "i don't like any of these pictures, but i'm not really sure what i'm hoping for." here i was taking a technically great photo in the early morning sunlight and it just didn't feel right to me, it was no fun, there was no emotion involved. it wasn't until we climbed up a hay bale that i really started snapping away.

there are times i'll go somewhere without taylor, camera in tow, and not take a single picture. not necessarily because i'm having a bad time, but because my heart is just not there. and if i don't want to take pictures of what i'm looking at why would anyone even want to see them?

all of the photos you see on america y'all were taken because i was feeling something at the exact moment i clicked the shutter, feeling something that i never want to forget. 

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.

 the weather is finally changing and with the warmer temperatures our wanderlust is kicking back into gear. winter months had us taking small day trips but the bulk of our weekends were spent cuddled up at home dreaming of summer. 

with an original plan to roll out at midnight, excitement kept us from sleeping and we ended up hitting the road at nine. driving through the darkness the sun began to rise just as we were in the lincoln national forest, in the distance we spotted a massive white spot in the middle of a sea of brown; white sands national monument.

 we've been to the sand dunes out in west texas before, but we weren't prepared for what lay ahead of us upon entering the park. miles and miles of bright white sand dunes, looking like rolling hills covered with a light dusting of snow. driving further our minds started playing tricks on us, with the morning clouds still hanging low it was impossible to tell where the dunes ended and the sky started. 

a saturday, especially the first weekend of spring break, usually means very crowded parks. white sands is so vast that you can easily walk an extra hundred yards into the dunes and escape everyone into a sea of gypsum that goes on for miles with a hazy, almost unreal, mountain backdrop. 

in our travels we'll sometimes go to a park and know that exploring it once is enough, sometimes we end up going back because it's close or we want to show a friend, not an hour into our drive home we were already talking about going back to white sands in the future.