Simplicity

 In an age of technological advancement, anyone can go to the store and buy a high-end camera costing thousands of dollars and become a 'photographer.' Bogged down by the chaos of the digital culture, I find myself drawn to the simpler techniques aimed at taking photos. I seem to be more interested in shooting film, as you may know, and even iPhone photos. Film and iPhone only photographer    Kevin Russ    has had a heavy influence on my view of photography, and where I want to go with it. I'm inspired by not obsessing over the quality of equipment you carry. I found my Canon A-1 35mm for 40 bucks years ago at a pawn shop, that still holds to be my favorite camera. While silently observing the digital age boom, I take time to notice the people who care more about being in the moment, rather than how many photos they can shoot, and the equipment they choose to shoot with. Here are some iPhone photos I have taken over the past couple months that refresh my approach to what I am most interested in. Enjoy.

In an age of technological advancement, anyone can go to the store and buy a high-end camera costing thousands of dollars and become a 'photographer.' Bogged down by the chaos of the digital culture, I find myself drawn to the simpler techniques aimed at taking photos. I seem to be more interested in shooting film, as you may know, and even iPhone photos. Film and iPhone only photographer Kevin Russ has had a heavy influence on my view of photography, and where I want to go with it. I'm inspired by not obsessing over the quality of equipment you carry. I found my Canon A-1 35mm for 40 bucks years ago at a pawn shop, that still holds to be my favorite camera. While silently observing the digital age boom, I take time to notice the people who care more about being in the moment, rather than how many photos they can shoot, and the equipment they choose to shoot with. Here are some iPhone photos I have taken over the past couple months that refresh my approach to what I am most interested in. Enjoy.

 Mt. Evans, Colorado.

Mt. Evans, Colorado.

 Passing through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Passing through Rocky Mountain National Park.

 Hiking through western Oregon. 

Hiking through western Oregon. 

 New friends. 

New friends. 

 Dawn soak.

Dawn soak.

 Parking lot breakfast.

Parking lot breakfast.

    Kevin Russ'    work gets me so hyped to shoot more landscapes, go backpacking, and listen to better music.

Kevin Russ' work gets me so hyped to shoot more landscapes, go backpacking, and listen to better music.

 James, a little too close for comfort. 

James, a little too close for comfort. 

 14,000 feet. 

14,000 feet. 

 Alabama Hills.

Alabama Hills.

 Young mountain goats.

Young mountain goats.

 A cow in Branson, Missouri. 

A cow in Branson, Missouri. 

 Cape Kiwanda.

Cape Kiwanda.

 Van clan.

Van clan.

 Maximum occupancy.

Maximum occupancy.

 Approaching fall.

Approaching fall.

 Thin air.

Thin air.

 Sometimes a sudden burst of inspiration is what I need to remember what I enjoy most and what my goals are. Just as I seek inspiration from others and their techniques, I hope I do the same to you. You don't need expensive equipment to create attractive imagery. Just get out there, chase light, and use your cell phone.

Sometimes a sudden burst of inspiration is what I need to remember what I enjoy most and what my goals are. Just as I seek inspiration from others and their techniques, I hope I do the same to you. You don't need expensive equipment to create attractive imagery. Just get out there, chase light, and use your cell phone.

Reminiscence

 Since about the age of 10, I have been an annual returnee at Silver Lake Resort. This majestic campground lies deep in the Eastern Sierra, specifically on the June Lake Loop. My great grandparents started camping here in their old four-wheel camper about 70 years ago. The love for the mountains was passed onto my grandmother, and then to her three girls, including my mother. The tradition has been alive ever since and has grown into a huge getaway for our entire family. I can't tell you the number of stories I have at this place: secret adventures with my cousins and uncle, losing bets and eating fried worms, staying up till the wee hours holding battle raps in the  cabmen,  swimming at the base of waterfalls, getting stuck on a peak due to golf ball-sized hail, chasing coons, catching fish, and, most importantly, expanding my love for the mountains and exploration. I believe this place has had a huge impact on who I am today.

Since about the age of 10, I have been an annual returnee at Silver Lake Resort. This majestic campground lies deep in the Eastern Sierra, specifically on the June Lake Loop. My great grandparents started camping here in their old four-wheel camper about 70 years ago. The love for the mountains was passed onto my grandmother, and then to her three girls, including my mother. The tradition has been alive ever since and has grown into a huge getaway for our entire family. I can't tell you the number of stories I have at this place: secret adventures with my cousins and uncle, losing bets and eating fried worms, staying up till the wee hours holding battle raps in the cabmen, swimming at the base of waterfalls, getting stuck on a peak due to golf ball-sized hail, chasing coons, catching fish, and, most importantly, expanding my love for the mountains and exploration. I believe this place has had a huge impact on who I am today.

 This year's trip was a little different. A lot of my family had to stay behind at home and were not able to make the trip out. Receiving news that my cousin John would not be able to make it this year due to his ending adolescence and the acquisition of a corporate internship, I was devastated. For me, I still need to make the trip possible every summer. This year, I decided to bring my closest confidant, Avrie, and finally show her my old stomping grounds for the first time ever. We spent the week searching for level ground to sleep on, cooking delicious meals, skipping rocks until the stars came out, and to my greatest joy, showing her around my favorite place on earth. Sit tight, this post contains a lot of photos...

This year's trip was a little different. A lot of my family had to stay behind at home and were not able to make the trip out. Receiving news that my cousin John would not be able to make it this year due to his ending adolescence and the acquisition of a corporate internship, I was devastated. For me, I still need to make the trip possible every summer. This year, I decided to bring my closest confidant, Avrie, and finally show her my old stomping grounds for the first time ever. We spent the week searching for level ground to sleep on, cooking delicious meals, skipping rocks until the stars came out, and to my greatest joy, showing her around my favorite place on earth. Sit tight, this post contains a lot of photos...

 Celebrating the 4th on our first day in the mountains. We hiked a nearby hill from our camp and watched the Bishop firework show all the way from Owens Valley.

Celebrating the 4th on our first day in the mountains. We hiked a nearby hill from our camp and watched the Bishop firework show all the way from Owens Valley.

 Avrie learning why I'm not the biggest fan of shore fishing...

Avrie learning why I'm not the biggest fan of shore fishing...

 Three out of the six nights of our stay we decided to return to this spot, one of our all-time favorites. We slept right beside this stream carving perfect shapes through the grass. 

Three out of the six nights of our stay we decided to return to this spot, one of our all-time favorites. We slept right beside this stream carving perfect shapes through the grass. 

 Skipping rocks.

Skipping rocks.

 A person I could always have the most fun with. My best friend.

A person I could always have the most fun with. My best friend.

 Watching storm clouds roll in at 5:30 am. iPhone photo.

Watching storm clouds roll in at 5:30 am. iPhone photo.

 Cruising through Yosemite National Park. 

Cruising through Yosemite National Park. 

 Wake up.

Wake up.

 I sure do love hot springs. Looks like Avrie does too.

I sure do love hot springs. Looks like Avrie does too.

 Every trip I go on I gain more love and respect for my trusty old van. 

Every trip I go on I gain more love and respect for my trusty old van. 

 Dawn patrol.

Dawn patrol.

 Local wildlife.

Local wildlife.

 Towards the middle of our trip, in between spotty cell service, we received a text from our good pals Riley and Rachel from back home. Avrie and I recently became close friends with this couple from our hometown and have shared some memorable trips and great laughs. These two are the kind of people you can instantly feel comfortable around and never want to part ways. They longed to get away from the southern California heat and traffic and asked to join us in the Sierras. We adjusted our plans for their arrival without hesitation.

Towards the middle of our trip, in between spotty cell service, we received a text from our good pals Riley and Rachel from back home. Avrie and I recently became close friends with this couple from our hometown and have shared some memorable trips and great laughs. These two are the kind of people you can instantly feel comfortable around and never want to part ways. They longed to get away from the southern California heat and traffic and asked to join us in the Sierras. We adjusted our plans for their arrival without hesitation.

 Swimming in Yosemite Creek.

Swimming in Yosemite Creek.

 Riley teaching me how to maintain a well-shaven face while in the mountains. I usually don't carry a razor.

Riley teaching me how to maintain a well-shaven face while in the mountains. I usually don't carry a razor.

 Step 1: add water into pan for rinsing. 

Step 1: add water into pan for rinsing. 

 Step 2: lather face with a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner when you don't have actual shaving cream. 

Step 2: lather face with a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner when you don't have actual shaving cream. 

 Step 3: shave entire area that once had hair. But, of course, leave the stache. Voila.

Step 3: shave entire area that once had hair. But, of course, leave the stache. Voila.

 Riley and Rachel's camp-ready Acura SUV. With a little help from her parents, Rachel built a bed frame and storage in the back of her SUV with room for two. An impressive build.

Riley and Rachel's camp-ready Acura SUV. With a little help from her parents, Rachel built a bed frame and storage in the back of her SUV with room for two. An impressive build.

 Down time. 

Down time. 

 Supplies.

Supplies.

 Do you know about the upside-down house in Lee Vining?

Do you know about the upside-down house in Lee Vining?

 Pitted.

Pitted.

 Even though this years trip to the mountains was a little different than usual, I am still grateful for the company I was able to share it with. I got to take my girlfriend and two good friends to my favorite place on earth and show them why I admire this place so much. Being in this area once again always makes me reminisce of the good times shared with my cousins and family. I have a long family history of camping in the Eastern Sierras. I can't wake to be able to pass it on to my own someday.

Even though this years trip to the mountains was a little different than usual, I am still grateful for the company I was able to share it with. I got to take my girlfriend and two good friends to my favorite place on earth and show them why I admire this place so much. Being in this area once again always makes me reminisce of the good times shared with my cousins and family. I have a long family history of camping in the Eastern Sierras. I can't wake to be able to pass it on to my own someday.

Here are some more links:

Instagram: @seanrcollier

Tumblr: solitudeseeking.tumblr.com

Deep Greens and Blues

 "Dude... I can't believe it. Do you see this?! We're actually here. We're in the Sierras."  " I know, man. This view never gets old... Let's put on our shoes and go hike to that one spot we scoped out" John said as we opened the backdoors of the van and began sorting through our fishing gear. We were finally in the Eastern Sierras, arguably one of our favorite places on earth. My cousin John and I, along with his brother, grew up camping in these mountains fishing creeks, skipping rocks, and causing trouble. However, our childhood days have been winding down as we begin making the trip by ourselves and leaving our family at home. At 5:20 AM on Saturday morning, we made our final adjustments to the van, grabbed some doughnuts, and got on the 14 heading north for the 395 in hopes of catching some big fish and reminiscing on past trips.  This particular trip was inspired from my recent western film kick.  There's something about the fantasy of riding horseback through the unexplored states, sleeping next to a fire by night and waking up with the sun every morning. A song that sings of this has been lingering on my mind and was played on repeat during the trip. James Taylor's    Sweet Baby James    has such vivid lyrics that it allows me to picture open fields of green and warm campfires, and that's exactly what John and I experienced during the trip. " Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose... Won't you let me go down in my dreams..."  We had first hand experience of this particular color palette James Taylor sings about.

"Dude... I can't believe it. Do you see this?! We're actually here. We're in the Sierras."

" I know, man. This view never gets old... Let's put on our shoes and go hike to that one spot we scoped out" John said as we opened the backdoors of the van and began sorting through our fishing gear. We were finally in the Eastern Sierras, arguably one of our favorite places on earth. My cousin John and I, along with his brother, grew up camping in these mountains fishing creeks, skipping rocks, and causing trouble. However, our childhood days have been winding down as we begin making the trip by ourselves and leaving our family at home. At 5:20 AM on Saturday morning, we made our final adjustments to the van, grabbed some doughnuts, and got on the 14 heading north for the 395 in hopes of catching some big fish and reminiscing on past trips.

This particular trip was inspired from my recent western film kick. There's something about the fantasy of riding horseback through the unexplored states, sleeping next to a fire by night and waking up with the sun every morning. A song that sings of this has been lingering on my mind and was played on repeat during the trip. James Taylor's Sweet Baby James has such vivid lyrics that it allows me to picture open fields of green and warm campfires, and that's exactly what John and I experienced during the trip. "Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose... Won't you let me go down in my dreams..." We had first hand experience of this particular color palette James Taylor sings about.

 Lone Pine, CA.

Lone Pine, CA.

 We spent the first night sleeping at the base of Mt. Whitney in the Alabama Hills, just outside of Lone Pine, CA. Due to the beating sun, we spent the day in the mountains trying to find pools to fish. Instead, we ended up hiking more than we expected and only managed to catch a few tiny ones. After spending an hour or two playing our knife throwing competition, we called it a day and headed down the mountain in hopes it cooled off. We were sorely wrong. It was summer in the desert. Until sundown, we spent the remaining afternoon laying on rocks and playing cards in the shade. After the sun went down, we made a fire, only to realize it was still too warm, so we ended up sitting a good 20 feet away from it. When we were finally ready for sleep, we folded out the bed and popped open the sunroof.  "I don't know if we're even gonna sleep tonight," John said nervously but somewhat comically.   "Come on, dude. It's not even that bad. We're so tired that we'll fall asleep no matter what," I stated, in hopes of getting up our spirit.  As I laid down on the leather sofa with the thinnest blanket I could find, my eyes stared at the ceiling and I began to break a sweat. "Yeah... This is gonna be a long night."

We spent the first night sleeping at the base of Mt. Whitney in the Alabama Hills, just outside of Lone Pine, CA. Due to the beating sun, we spent the day in the mountains trying to find pools to fish. Instead, we ended up hiking more than we expected and only managed to catch a few tiny ones. After spending an hour or two playing our knife throwing competition, we called it a day and headed down the mountain in hopes it cooled off. We were sorely wrong. It was summer in the desert. Until sundown, we spent the remaining afternoon laying on rocks and playing cards in the shade. After the sun went down, we made a fire, only to realize it was still too warm, so we ended up sitting a good 20 feet away from it. When we were finally ready for sleep, we folded out the bed and popped open the sunroof.

"I don't know if we're even gonna sleep tonight," John said nervously but somewhat comically. 

"Come on, dude. It's not even that bad. We're so tired that we'll fall asleep no matter what," I stated, in hopes of getting up our spirit.

As I laid down on the leather sofa with the thinnest blanket I could find, my eyes stared at the ceiling and I began to break a sweat. "Yeah... This is gonna be a long night."

 Sunrise the next morning. Still warm outside.

Sunrise the next morning. Still warm outside.

 That's John on the harmonica.

That's John on the harmonica.

 Dry wood.

Dry wood.

 Gear.

Gear.

 The next morning, we longed to escape the desert heat and head for higher elevation. After making our traditional stops in Bishop, we headed straight for the Owens Valley, dreaming of long green grass, good fishing, and cooler temperatures. We fished and explored all day long. However, we were wrong about the good fishing... 

The next morning, we longed to escape the desert heat and head for higher elevation. After making our traditional stops in Bishop, we headed straight for the Owens Valley, dreaming of long green grass, good fishing, and cooler temperatures. We fished and explored all day long. However, we were wrong about the good fishing... 

 Sunrise in the Sierras.

Sunrise in the Sierras.

 Target practice.

Target practice.

 John having a snack and watching the sun go down.

John having a snack and watching the sun go down.

 When John and I fish together, we spend a lot of time re-tying hooks. Growing up, we were like brothers, and I was the crazy brother that would do anything to make the other laugh and get themselves in the most mischief. We have some hilarious stories together. Years ago, when we got bored of not catching anything, I would put a ton of weights on the end of my line and we would see how far I could cast my line. One time I snapped the end of my rod.

When John and I fish together, we spend a lot of time re-tying hooks. Growing up, we were like brothers, and I was the crazy brother that would do anything to make the other laugh and get themselves in the most mischief. We have some hilarious stories together. Years ago, when we got bored of not catching anything, I would put a ton of weights on the end of my line and we would see how far I could cast my line. One time I snapped the end of my rod.

 21 years old.

21 years old.

 Breakfast goodies.

Breakfast goodies.

 Windy.

Windy.

 Glamping.

Glamping.

 A large part of our trip consisted of natural hot spring soaks. We camped within walking distance of one so we spent most of our time in the water, relaxing and enjoying the landscape. We soaked for hours that night and stayed in long enough to see the stars. The hot spring may have been the highlight of our trip. Here are some photos.

A large part of our trip consisted of natural hot spring soaks. We camped within walking distance of one so we spent most of our time in the water, relaxing and enjoying the landscape. We soaked for hours that night and stayed in long enough to see the stars. The hot spring may have been the highlight of our trip. Here are some photos.

 Natures jacuzzi.

Natures jacuzzi.

 Stoked.

Stoked.

 No this isn't a skunk, it's a mutt named Winston, Winny for short. He introduced himself by running full sprint at us and stomping all over our clean clothes. He was owned by a couple that worked in Mammoth and were frequent enjoyers of the hot spring. I don't think Winny stopped running the whole hour we were there.

No this isn't a skunk, it's a mutt named Winston, Winny for short. He introduced himself by running full sprint at us and stomping all over our clean clothes. He was owned by a couple that worked in Mammoth and were frequent enjoyers of the hot spring. I don't think Winny stopped running the whole hour we were there.

 We made plans to wake up a few minutes before sunrise so we could watch it from the water. I slept in my board shorts that night so I could expedite the mornings plans due to my excitement. John getting ready for yet another soak.

We made plans to wake up a few minutes before sunrise so we could watch it from the water. I slept in my board shorts that night so I could expedite the mornings plans due to my excitement. John getting ready for yet another soak.

 The tub was so hot it was fogging up my lens.

The tub was so hot it was fogging up my lens.

  "Waiting for summer, his pastures to change..."

"Waiting for summer, his pastures to change..."

 Deep greens and blues.

Deep greens and blues.

 Driving through the desert with no AC. 

Driving through the desert with no AC. 

 John is one companion I could always bring with me to this particular place. We know these mountains like the back of our hand and have shared some of the most memorable experiences together here. I just hope we can continue making the trip and eventually have our own kids follow in our footsteps, carrying on the love for the mountains.    "So goodnight, you moonlight ladies. Rock-a-bye sweet baby James. Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose, won't you let me go down in my dreams? And rock-a-bye sweet baby James."

John is one companion I could always bring with me to this particular place. We know these mountains like the back of our hand and have shared some of the most memorable experiences together here. I just hope we can continue making the trip and eventually have our own kids follow in our footsteps, carrying on the love for the mountains. 

"So goodnight, you moonlight ladies. Rock-a-bye sweet baby James. Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose, won't you let me go down in my dreams? And rock-a-bye sweet baby James."

Here are some more links:

Instagram: @seanrcollier

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