A Life of Travel

As 2017 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on all that occurred with my photography this year including exploring New Zealand, Australia, and sending my first two photo books to print. For those of you interested in seeing some of my New Zealand and Australia work, check out my post from March 2017

I’ve previously written about A Life in Paris, but I spent part of this year revisiting the book and refining some of the edits, layout and quotes which resulted in a reprint. In addition to reprinting A Life in Paris, I completed my second book A Life of Travel which documents the past five years of international travel including select photographs and writing from San Miguel de Allende, Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, Nice, Paris, Cape Town, Kruger National Park, Wanaka, Sydney, and Queenstown

Both of these books required an incredible amount of time and effort but I’m very happy with the final work and it was a pleasure revisiting all of the moments through my photographs and journal entries. I’ve included both cover photos as well as a preview from each book.

All photographs were created with either the Hasselblad 500CM and the Carl Zeiss PlanarT* f/2.8 on Kodak Portra 400 or the Sony A7R Mark ii, Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, Sony T* FE 35mm f/28, Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4.0 ZA OOS and Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0.   

A Life of Travel  Cover

A Life of Travel Cover

A Life of Travel  Sample

A Life of Travel Sample

A Life in Paris  Cover

A Life in Paris Cover

A Life in Paris  Sample

A Life in Paris Sample

Cooperstown, New York

It's a bit of an understatement when I say I grew up in a baseball family. I spent most summer nights in Arlington, Texas at the Texas Rangers baseball games with my family. And, in addition to summer night ball games, my brothers and I would spend every summer with my dad visiting a different Major League Baseball ballpark (and sometimes visiting a minor league stadium as well). As we got older, moved on to college and in some cases moved to different states, our trips became less frequent. When this years Hall of Fame Class was announced, we decided we had to make one last baseball trip to see the Texas Rangers very own Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez enter the Hall of Fame.

Cooperstown is a sleepy and incredibly charming village of around 1,700 people. I didn't know what to expect when visiting such a small town in Upstate New York known as "the home of baseball", but it felt very east coast, almost Martha's Vineyard-like, unlike many of the surrounding towns. Given the size of the town, we ended up staying about forty-five minutes away in a town called Cobleskill, New York. The two towns could not be more different from each other and it's probably best that we spent our days in Cooperstown. It was an incredible experience to be part of the baseball community that made the trip to Cooperstown. The amount of history in such a small place was overwhelming - museums, hall of fame baseball players, collectors, fans from around the world, basically every aspect of baseball was represented. More importantly, I was so grateful to learn more about the game with my family as well as learn more about all of my dad's favorite players and his baseball memories throughout his life.

All photographs were created with the Sony A7R Mark ii, Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA and Sony T* FE 35mm f/2.8.

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Chicago photo walk

Things have been pretty hectic since returning from New Zealand and Australia.

Sam and I have purchased our first condo which has had some impact on our travel and my photography workflow. Over the past few months, a majority of my photography equipment has been stored in boxes and moved from one location to another making it pretty difficult to make, edit and publish photographs. We've finally settled in to our new home and I've set up my new photography workspace.

While we were living out of boxes, I had an opportunity to meet up with Grace and Kevin Sears for coffee and a photo walk. Photo walks are easily one of my favorite parts of being a photographer. More specifically, meeting like-minded individuals who are equally passionate about creating art. While the weather was still a bit brisk, we spent a few hours visiting some of my favorite locations in Chicago while debating Kodak Tri-X vs. Ilford HP5 and discussing various tips and techniques. To view some of Kevin's amazing black and white photography, check out his Instagram or Lomography.

All photographs were created with the Hasselblad 500CM and the Carl Zeiss PlanarT* f/2.8 on Kodak Portra 400. All black and white photographs were created the Kevin's Leica MP and Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 on Ilford HP5. 

New Zealand & Australia

It feels good to be traveling again.

Sam and I recently returned from a New Zealand and Australia where we spent time connecting with a good friend who moved to Australia a few years ago and exploring two new countries on our bucket list. It's crazy to think that our last big trip was Africa which felt so long ago, but this past year has been a bit of a blur to say the least. That said, we were still able to find a few smaller albeit equally exciting trips including Avalon with our family and NYCWLK with Johnny and Rebecca Patience.

We began our trip on a long haul flight from LAX to SYD and spent the next few days in Sydney. With a majority of our New Zealand itinerary focused on the more remote South Island we decided to spend our time in Sydney exploring the amazing food scene and various neighborhoods with Surry Hills being my favorite. We dealt with a lot of less than ideal weather in Sydney, but were still able to enjoy ourselves as well as connect with a good friend who I hadn't seen in several years after she decided to move to Sydney. After a few days in Sydney, we were off to the South Island of New Zealand.

For starters, New Zealand was one of the most difficult locations for me when it comes to photography. Places like Tokyo, Cape Town, Beijing, San Miguel de Allende, and Paris are filled with so many people, so much energy, not to mention different languages and customs. But the South Island of New Zealand has far fewer people and leaves you with nothing but some of the most unbelievably beautiful landscapes for as far as you can see. In many ways, the landscapes and views were impossible to accurately capture in a photograph. For the first time since picking up a camera, I found myself spending less time making photographs and more time taking in the views and the incredible star-filled night skies. We spent nearly two weeks throughout the South Island - from Queenstown to Milford Sound, Queensberry, and Wanaka before flying to Auckland and then returning to Los Angeles. Aside from some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen, the people were some of the most welcoming and down to earth individuals I've met since I started traveling and it was not easy leaving such a beautiful and hospitable country.

Up next, Spain and Portugal in September.

All photographs were created with either the Hasselblad 500CM and the Carl Zeiss PlanarT* f/2.8 on Kodak Portra 400 or the Sony A7R Mark ii, Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, Sony T* FE 35mm f/28, Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4.0 ZA OOS and Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0.   

ONA Bags: Photographer Profile Feature

While traveling throughout Australia and New Zealand last month, ONA Bags released a Photographer Profile feature that we had been collaborating on the previous few weeks. It was a pretty humbling experience to be interviewed by a company I've admired since picking up a camera, especially when considering some of the photographers and artists they've collaborated with in the past.

All of this began when I met some of the ONA team this past September in Brooklyn during Johnny and Rebecca Patience's NYCWLK. They noticed that Sam and I both were using ONA Bags that day during the photowalk and we ended up talking cameras, bags and eventually sharing some of my work. Since meeting in Brooklyn, we've kept in touch and decided to collaborate on a Photographer Profile interview for their blog. In addition to our collaboration, they sent me their brand new product, The Bond Street, which is a perfect complement to my Union Street and Bowery. You can read a few excerpts below or the full Photographer Profile interview on their blog.

We’re excited to debut a new format for our community profiles, comprised of nineteen questions that almost every creative individual can answer, along with a “lightning round” of less serious questions at the end. Our first subject is Johnny Schroepfer, who we met along with his wife Sam at a photo walk last September. Share your photos by tagging #ONAbags to be featured.

Name: Johnny Schroepfer

Hometown: I grew up in Dallas, Texas before moving to Chicago, Illinois

Describe your aesthetic in five words or less: Travel, Authentic, Clean, Candid, Bright

Go-to gear: Recently, I’ve been shooting a lot with the Sony a7R Mark iiSony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f1/.8, and the ONA Leather Bowery.

Favorite place to photograph: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Biggest creative influence: Robert Frank

Thing you can’t live without: Hasselblad 500CM with a Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f/2.8 that was a gift from my wife, Sam.

What motivates you: Exploring new places and cultures, documenting small moments in our daily lives, creating a body of work that reflects the experiences I’ve had throughout my life.

Time of day are you most creative: Early Morning

Biggest challenge: Avoiding hibernation mode and forcing myself to shoot more during the brutal Chicago winters.

One piece of advice that stuck with you: I think making photos all time time, even when you don’t feel like it, is critical to developing one’s creative vision and growing as an artist. Its those times when you don’t feel like shooting that are arguably the most important.

Mistake you’ve learned from: Believing that post processing can offset creative vision.

Work you are most proud of: My most recent project, A Life in Paris, which is a book that highlights a selection of my favorite photographs made while living in Paris, France in 2015.

Most used phrase: “Can you come look at this?” whether it’s asking my wife, Sam, about final edits I’m sending to print or coworkers about a design problem I’m working on.

Earliest memory: Playing in my backyard with my older brother

Hidden talent: I’m incredibly passionate about music and can play several instruments.

Dream project: Collaborating with a non-profit that I’m passionate about and actively involved with like charity: water or the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC). I’d love to travel back to Africa, but this time on a photography assignment to help raise awareness about clean and safe drinking water in developing nations.

Most recent “a-ha” moment: Committing to learning the art of printing your work. Whether you shoot film, digital, or both, I believe that you’re significantly limiting yourself as an artist if you don’t take the time to print your work. I’ve been working with Richard Photo Lab in California for a little over a year now and this collaboration has helped strengthen my relationship and love for the art of photography. And, it has helped me grow as an artist in how I approach both digital and film photography.

Goal for 2017: Publish a book containing a selection of my favorite photographs made while traveling the world with my wife, Sam, these past few years. We’ve traveled from North America to Europe, to Asia, and Africa. We’ll be visiting New Zealand, Australia, Portugal and Spain this year and my goal once we return from our travels is to review the tens of thousands of photographs that have been made throughout the past few years and create something of meaning to share with our close friends, family and maybe even some of you.

Lightning round: 

Sweet or savory: Savory

Childhood celebrity crush: Natalie Portman

Cats or dogs: Dogs

Favorite album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco

Favorite book: Anything by Neal Stephenson

Biggest fear: Flying

New Year

Sam and I spent Christmas in Dallas this year with my family and a majority of our time was focused on the most recent addition to the family, Myles. Looking back on 2016, it was an odd year to say the least but there were some pretty great moments throughout the year as well. That said, I can't think of a better way to spend the last few days of the year than to enjoy a few good meals, movies and quality time with family.

2017 will no doubt be a big year for photography, and for travel. Our plans include traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Spain and Portugal. In addition to travel, I plan to print my second, and most significant, photography project which includes select photographs made during the past five years of traveling the world. From North America to Europe to Africa and Asia. My previous project, A Life in Paris, focuses on the time we spent living in Paris, France in 2015.

All photographs were created with the Sony a7R Mark ii, the Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA and the Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8