Sleeping in Walmart parking lots gets old pretty quick, so we took off for the weekend to enjoy the Rocky Mountains before we leave them behind. We have been living in our vanagon for almost a month now. This is Penny, our van called Betty, and her split window VW bus tent at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. A place to escape the city that isn’t too far away from it. It saves us gas, and we get to sleep to the sounds of silence that only a forest could provide. It snowed while the sun was out, and one evening I stood in front of our fire, stoking it for hours just enjoying the heat of the flames and the mountain surroundings. We watched chipmunks and birds plot and scheme as to how to steal ours and other camper’s food. It was a great time. Ten more days of camping in Denver parking lots, and we will finally be leaving it behind. I grew up here, and I love this town, but I can’t wait to leave. We have proven to ourselves that we can do this. Urban camping boot camp is just about over. The road beckons.
A dilapidated structure looms along Highway 285 in the South Park Valley.
I remember this moment. It was quiet, the air was cool up here at 10,000 ft. above sea level. I took a stroll through this sleepy town after driving for hours. I’ll never forget this trip because it was the last one we took with our bus before it kicked the bucket. We camped in the dispersed camping along the Arkansas River. We just hung out, picked up trash, stuck our feet in the water and watched the world go by. I met a transient man who reminded me of Pig Pen from the Peanuts. His face was completely covered in dirt, his clothes were tattered, and he was pulling a cart on his bike that looked like some sort of shrine to all things junky. He kept asking me for weed. I told him, “No man, I don’t have any weed,” and he would just say “But, you just look so STONED.” I had to always be on the lookout for that guy, he just always seemed to be creepin’ around our campsite.
We also met a family traveling across Colorado on their bikes. They had their whole family with them, three kids, a dog, all their gear, the whole nine yards packed up in bike trailers and backpacks. They were an interesting and inspiring crew.
A stranger with a penchant for Golden Retrievers chatted me up about his dogs, the town’s annual river fest, and his disdain for all tourists like me. “We want you to come and spend your money for a few days, then we want you to GET OUT OF HERE.” I often wonder how many others who have passed through this area have encountered this man and endured that speech. I’m willing to bet that it is more than a hundred.
I’m looking for images to send to a gallery show that my photography instructor insists I should enter. There is no theme, but that has me stifled as to what images to send in. This is one of those images that I contemplate often, I keep coming back to it. It must be the moment that is appealing, the memory of that moment.
I’m swimming through so many images, I look at them until my eyeballs can’t take it anymore, I come away from it feeling stressed out. I’m feeling that pressure to keep taking things up a notch. I’ve done three smaller gallery group shows. I’ve spent the money, provided the prints, and attended the openings. I’ve had the gallery show experience and received positive feedback, but I still somehow find a way to let the self doubt creep in and take over. It doesnt last that long before I remind myself that it doesnt matter what other people think. I’m going to die, before I die I’m going to try and become a photographer. Now if Icould just muster up enough energy and intellect to come up with a good story.
I’ve learned everything I know about film photography through google searches and photography text books. I’ve been experimenting shooting with film as of late. It has been a disappointment for the most part. I love the feeling of shooting analog, but I am clumsy with changing and loading film into my cameras. I turned in 7 rolls and 4 of them were blanks, which I am pretty sure is because I had a hard time figuring out how to rewind my film in the camera before opening the back of it. I think my next project with film will be better, as I think I have all the kinks in my flow worked out.
This was shot with a Leica C2 Zoom camera I found on eBay. I thought I would give it a whirl and see what I came up with. Major light leak, and some scratches are showing up on the developed film.
The lessons I have learned so far are that shooting film isn’t cheap, and I have a lot left to learn. It’s about time to explore developing my own film, which is something I have been wanting to learn anyway.