Since being here at the Rock Ranch in Hueco Tanks, there's been a wealth of opportunities to make photographs; photographs that hold a lot of personal value to myself and others. My photo essay with the local community has taken a lot longer than I expected, perhaps it's because it takes time to properly capture the essence of which I'm searching for. Much like the Beatniks of the 1950s and 1960s, they are in search of an elusive and intangible idea without knowing what it is they are searching for. However, the search or the journey feels internally aligned with my conscience unlike the photography I had been involved with prior to this long road trip.
The friends we've made amongst the rock climbing community and "seasoners," have been invaluable for the continuation of our road trip throughout the forty-eight states of the USA. Kiyoko has offered Ben and I a place to stay in Austin, Texas as well as Robin upon our arrival in Virginia. As we make our preparations to leave for Austin, we've managed to get Carlos Romania Flores to cruise along with us.
Hueco Tanks, given how small and hidden it is has given us so much since our arrival. A town that would seem that it doesn't have much to offer other than rock climbing has been a great launching point. It houses the many great and unique personalities of the rock climbing community, to the world class bouldering, and the great people we've met from the Rock Rodeo who've shown such warmth towards me and my photography.
Adam Peters of the American Alpine Club was kind enough to let me shoot and use my photographs for the 2015 22nd Annual Rock Rodeo, as well as Asana Climbing who put on the Dyno-Competition, where they granted me access from atop of the wall. While it's only social media, it feels incredible to have your photographs used in an effort to promote such a great sport powered by such a great community. Mike Morin and Amanda Peterson of the Access Fund and their Access Fund Conservation Team received my donated photographs of the clean up and the Rock Rodeo with great warmth was the most fulfilling emotion I've had in a while; just knowing that your pictures make a positive difference in a small way is a reward enough. Amongst those I met at the Rock Rodeo were Zach Barker and Justin Wood of Patagonia, Devyn Studer of the AAC, Beau Stuart who's a professional climber, and Quinn and Everett Russell of La Sportiva have been absolutely invaluable. We've made plans to meet up with Beau Stuart in Idaho to continue more photography in late summer-to-early fall, and on 9/11/2015 we will be with Nathan Pacheco in Yosemite photographing disabled veterans climbing El Capitan.
With the Rock Rodeo competition over, our adventure once again seems a little less purposeful and has returned to it's state of searching. However, my experience here thus far has recharged my lust for life and picture-making. In just three days, we will be leaving towards Austin in search of the elusive and transient inspirational moments that bring happiness. But the biggest news thus far will be that upon the completion of our forty-eight state tour with our return to Yosemite is that we will be headed all throughout Central American and South America, bound for the southern tip of Chile and Patagonia.