Van (& boat) life: Sardegna

⬆️ I did break from the digital camera for a little toy camera action. We made the most out of one roll of Kodak Portra 400.

⬆️ We stopped in Pisa just outside the port, which was located in Livorno. What a bizarre and spectacular site this was!

I still can’t believe how easy it is to just rent a boat (I’m talking about a real boat with a 40HP outboard motor, people) and literally go out to sea with it—the Tyrrhenian sea in this case. They call them “Gommone” in Italy, meaning “rubber dinghy.” At any rate, renting the boat was awesome, and it allowed us to see everything from a completely different perspective.

⬆️ My wine knowledge pretty much stinks, but I’m told Vermentino is the most popular grape / variety of wine in Sardegna—this is usually a white grape. That said, we tasted all different varieties of wine, both red and white at a super neat small vinyard called Cantina Ligios just off the Northern Coast. They also let us stay in our camper overnight on their property (photographed). This was a good thing, becasue we had a very generous tasting paired with some food. Other guests who where staying on the property joined us for the sunset event. We literally met people from all over the world—and everyone was incredibly nice. We sat a tables family style and it just felt like a room full of old friends—it was both a beautiful and reassuring experience.

⬆️ My mind was pretty much blown by the experiences on the “traghetti” and ferries with our van. We ended up going round trip from Livorno to Olbia on Moby Lines. The experience was peculiar and exciting, but also relaxing and relatively easy at the same time—it’s like a massive floating parking garage with a hostel built on top. One leg was overnight, which was nice since we booked a cabin space on the boat for both legs. Lots of folks brought blow up mattresses aboard and tried to sleep out in the open. No thanks. I will say boarding and arrival were both pretty chaotic with everyone aboard the ship scrambling to be the first on and off the boat. As a kid from West Texas where there was very little water to be had anywhere, the concept of just driving a large car onto a ship and sailing across the ocean felt pretty crazy. I suppose after a few trips that feeling might wear off a bit. I digress.

Driving vans onto big boats never felt so normal…

S A R D E G N A: Polcenigo > Bologna > Firenze > Pisa > Livorno > Open Sea > Olbia > La Maddalena and back again—a complex trip indeed, but traveling with the van not only made it possible, but fairly easy! We were fortunate to have friends and family visit pretty much every month this Summer. As great as that was, we didn’t get a ton of time to explore new areas of Italy / Europe for ourselves. Sardegna has been on our bucket list for several years, and I’m so glad we go to see it—and experience it the way we did with the van and bikes. We had one week and we made the most of it. Although we only got to see about 1/2 of what we would have liked to have seen, every day was full. We decided to focus on the Northern half of the island for this trip thanks to the guidance of good friends from Italy that were generous enough to sit down with us and a paper map to discuss and mark points of interest. They also warned us not to try to pack too much in. They were right.

We ended up spending three nights on the island of La Maddalena. We had only planned to stay there one night, but it just didn’t work out that way. Once we got off the 20 minute fairy with the van from the main island of Sardenga we just kept finding amazing spots to experience the coast and the water. We stayed at two quirky campgrounds while there. Both sunset shots above were taken just in front of where the van was parked at our first spot, where we stayed two nights—damn, it was awesome.

It was an incredibly hot and dry Summer here in Northern Italy. Days are now getting shorter and it’s definitely starting to cool off. Sardegna was not cooling off so much, lol. It was still hot there in mid-September and I pretty much sweated it out in the van trying to sleep every night. The wind and dust reminded me a little of West Texas, but the landscape was rocky and breathtaking at every turn—particularly when views of the coastline were involved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water so clear. Many folks compare the landscape to the moon—they even have a stretch of highway there (rocky vista photo sans-ocean above) called the “Lunar Highway.”

We have a solar panel and propane that powers essential stuff in the van, so with a full tank of water we survived pretty comfortably without needing electricity access (thank god for battery powered camping fans, though). Our blackwater tank lasts about 5-6 days—it’s smaller than our last camper’s tank, but MUCH easier and more hygienic to empty 🙏 . All that said—the ability to be mobile seems like a good fit for Sardegna. Even though most of it is rural there are plenty of resources for people in campers. I suppose the locals probably get sick and tired of seeing people like us come through. However, everyone we interacted with was super nice and spoke to us in slow Italian so we could understand and communicate with them effectively. The island has a very complex history when it comes to languages and dialects (and culture/religion for that matter—just read about the flag), so I was pumped we were able to practice our Italian. Of course, almost everybody also spoke English, too—this is always both convenient and embarrassing 😅 We met lots of locals, we bought cheese and wine that came in what I would call up-cycled 2 litre water bottles from their trucks, end we even got a little home-made bottle if Mirto that I’m actually sipping on as I write this. We also met lots of really friendly Germans—I suspect they were soaking up the last bit of sun before they go back to a long and dark Winter season. I even took pictures of a couple that were just married and they shared a bottle of their wine with us on the beach.

All and all the trip was an excellent lesson and an active exercise in remaining flexible. We were able to stay more or less off grid in the van pretty much the whole time. Having the language skills to navigate the ferries and ship boarding process helped a ton. My Italian still stinks after 1.5 years, but I’m still progressing. On the way home we slept in the center of Florence for a night in public access parking. It was awesome! And a little uncomfortable. Having the bikes on the back of the van added to our ability to be mobile. I never thought I’d be able to bike through Florence, but it was definitely nice to test out the bike lines in many parts of the city.

I always say this, but maybe I’ll add to this later. Lots of thoughts that have yet to be articulated, but for now, an abrupt end and bed. Ciao.

📸➕🌎➕🚢➕🌅

a foray into the threadless world…

Jarred Elrod, graphic design, art, shop, threadless

a work in progress…

⬇️ ⬆️ After going through the process of creating the “Fare o Essere” collection for my first exhibition here in Italy, it’s nice to see these prints together in context with other things I’ve made in the past. Putting trust in another entity (threadless) for printing does feel a little strange, but their range for printing is pretty astonishing. While I’d love for the shop to be financially successful, I’m finding value and satisfaction in the process of simply sharing things I’ve made again. The fact these things have life feels good and it’s fun to play around with the graphics on different media platforms—in many cases it’s thought-provoking to play with mockups of the designs on different types of products because of the context of the product. Example: putting the “Nothing Worked Today” graphic on a blanket adds a whole other level of meaning I never considered prior as opposed to putting it on a shirt or sticker. There’s no way I could replicate this with the production tools I have here…so…I’m going to keep refining the shop and we’ll just see where it goes. That said, I’m not giving up on printing myself! I have some exciting things lined up for this December I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.

Jarred Elrod, Threadless Shop, Shirts, prints, cards and accessories

⬆️ I’m definitely still learning how to make my shop build better. I created my first collection to house the Fare prints, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of how the menu is working on my site as of now—it’s too complex. I keep learning new stuff to streamline things as I go. As I mentioned earlier though, it is nice to actually see this work together with production potential. I can’t help but frequently think back to when I was in college starting my career as a designer. I thought I was a badass because I had the hard drive partitioned on my 1st gen iPod to store both my music library and my design files (as opposed to ZIP drive). That was such an exciting time. I was making lino-cuts and running over the plates with my car to make a print. And now this is the landscape designers are coming into—ready made digital spaces to show and potentially sell anything on any surface. It’s freakin’ crazy, man! Sometimes I think I should just go completely analog—or maybe even in totally different career direction with everything going on with AI generated imagery etc…but then the sketchbook or camera calls and I just can’t help myself. I have to make stuff.

Vote Here!

⬆️ My first design submission from my shop to the threadless website…I reckon the idea is to up-vote the submission as much as possible to get the main threadless site to pick up the design from individual the artist shops. Not gonna lie, figuring out how these sites are related and how they differ was a little confusing from a design perspective, but what are you gonna do? I know the threadless site came way before artist shops, so they are kind trying to Frankenstein them together for lack of a better term. I was also bummed to see that only people within the threadless community can vote on these designs. I suppose I see why given the kind of social media followings (or even leveraging bots or fake accounts) people with power can leverage these days, but it makes it tough for someone without an existing following on threadless to even get votes. I’ve noticed many folks that sell through shops and on threadless leverage discord and reddit pretty heavily—I have pretty much zero interest in spending a lot of time in either of these spaces. Alas, I’ll keep trying.

✍️➕🖼➕👕🛒

Via Ferrata—round 02

No country for fragility…

Italian Alpini

⬆️ Italian Alpini

“Via Ferrata,” or “Iron Way” is a climbing method developed by the Italian Alpini. The method started out of necessity during the 1st World War—primarily to transport soldiers and equipment up the insanely steep mountain faces in Northern Italy to engage the Austro-Hungarian Empire in mountain warfare. It’s basically a thick cable that goes in a route up the face of a mountain. To use the cable, you wear a climbing harness with two large clips attached to it. As you ascend, you clip into the cable as you go up. These cable routes are all over the place here (along with extensive cave networks cut into solid rock) and continuously maintained by groups of Alpini. What does all this mean? It means a goofus like me with little to no climbing experience and a few lessons from a pro can shimmy up the side of a huge vertical mountain face without extreme fear of falling—a-hem…I mean…there is still SOME fear 😬. Wanna see photos from my first Via Ferrata? Check them out here! The skies were a bit brighter that day, so the images are definitely a bit more vibrant tone-wise. Plus, we were way higher in the Dolomite, just outside the town of Cortina.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be in charge of creating these routes and fighting/living in such extreme conditions in pretty much all wool clothing during the WWI and II eras. I’ve only been a few times, but each new experience is pretty incredible. It’s not the easiest place to tote a camera around your neck (even a small one), but I managed. Speaking of—we encountered some light rain on this particular trip, which made the rocks super slippery. I’m glad it didn’t open up on us—the camera got a little wet, but I was able to keep it out the whole time. I think it might be time to grab a newer gopro. It’s crazy how good the anti shake technology has become in such a short period of time. Huge thanks to the folks we went with on the trip that have more expertise in this area than Amanda and I do. We’re still new at all this mountain stuff, but we are learning. An most of all, huge thanks to the Alpini for making it possible for us noobs to climb mountains! Enough for now—ciao.

🏔➕📸➕🧗‍♂️

a little slice of jarrederraj history

2009: “the internet—the electric speedstick:”

As seen on your local instagram feed:
02.19.2009: I was going through some old files this morning and stumbled across my thesis project from graduate school. Long story short, I wrote daily responses every day using twitter and google search trends as source material. At the end of a week I would choose my favorite piece of daily writing and make an illustration about it. The writing and all of the illustrations became the physical exhibition. I also built (and continuously re-built) a website to document everything in real time, logging daily writing and posting illustrations as I made them. I printed the posters two-sided—one side image, one side source writing. The whole thing was really raw, and ultimately ended up becoming very personal. At the time, I thought I had spun off the rails at the end of the project, but looking back at this final dual-sided image post…my sleep deprived, gin soaked brain was onto something. facebook and twitter had only been around for a little bit, and instagram hadn’t been released yet. People were just getting their first-second gen iphones. But from the rigor of posting, writing, and looking at news trends I was experiencing fatigue I’d venture to say is pretty normal for anyone on the internet or social media today. But it’s not only about “post it” volume, it’s also about the convergence of digital and physical worlds, which we’ve seen over the past few years has deep “real-world” consequences—in particular when viewed through the lens of geopolitics and misinformation. The internet IS a war zone—a self referential “Wild West” kinda place complete with cowboy-clowns wearing hot pink hats and guns. Yeah, that feels right. I felt kind of embarrassed about this at the time, but looking at it now over ten years later the absurdity of this image makes perfect sense. I’d say where I was off was graphic design was/is certainly part of the problem of how we communicate online today, but I severely underestimated the scope of the issue. Anyways, just thought I’d share this little tidbit if jarrederraj history #graphicdesign #old #stilltryingtofigureitout—ciao.

🤔➕✏️➕🖼

spaces, filters, limitations & ruminations

red filter digital trickery, but in an old school kinda way…

Greetings folks, as promised in my last post, my friend Daniel and I went to Milan. I took my normal LUMIX, but put a red lens filter on it and shot square format monochrome the whole time we were there. The process was limiting in a very fun sort of way. When shooting in monochrome, you’re actually seeing the simulated effect of the red filter in the camera viewfinder. Nothing can replace shooting with TMAX 400 in a 35mm camera with the red filter, but this was an interesting experience—it made shooting digital somehow feel more special or unique. The color photos are from one of my favorite places in the world, Tipoteca and were shot in boring old normal raw format with my other DSLR, a Nikon D750.

I took the majority of the square format photos in Milano at Fondazione Prada, the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, and the ADI Museum. Given that I had gone to graduate school and basically learned to teach and make with my friend Daniel, it was awesome to reconnect with him—we talked a lot about making and teaching—and the general state of those things in 2022. When we were in grad school we used to meet at least once a week to discuss these things. Those conversations were extremely helpful and I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing them. Since we both had our cameras, we spent a lot of time lingering and discussing what we were seeing through the viewfinders, using the cameras more or less as laser pointers to guide our conversations. I found this experience both enjoyable and mindful in a sense given the slowed, intentional pace we established. I don’t think it would have worked with the phone cameras because of all the distractions and ease that come along with using your phone as a camera. That said, I’ve been using my phone lately to shoot a lot of stuff from the hip while hiking or mountain biking—where ease of quick access is essential. There is something appealing about having a tiny high quality camera with you at all times—even if it does come with the distractions. I suppose we need to become better and handling distractions. On the flip side, there is something extremely appealing about the intentionality shooting with an actual camera brings to the table. And this, ultimately was why I have my LUMIX set up to shoot in such a limited way. We’ve all been told sometimes it’s easier to make great work when there are strict limitations—these limitations ultimately encourage innovation in a best case scenario. I don’t really think there’s much going on with my B/W squares above in terms of innovation, but I can say the limitations forced me to examine the content I was framing in a deeper way.

Dang. It’s important to have someone to talk shop with. I do miss that. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been working in a gigantic vacuum since around 2012. I was never really able to connect with anyone in academia the way I did with Daniel and our weekly coffee talks and ongoing collaborations (DRUGTOWN R.I.P.). Writing in this journal certainly helps, but nothing can replace a few hours of good old shop talk. I’d say out here in Italy I talk more shop with my camera and myself than I do anyone else, lol. It would be good if I changed that. A good place to start would be balancing the ratio of self-talk with talk to other creative people about their work, process, outlook, etc. I’ve been doing that more lately and I’m finding many folks are grappling with the same issues I am—in particular with social media, privacy, the current state / direction of academia in America, etc. Guess I still have a lot to figure out. For now—focus on the constants—the viewfinder, the sketchbook—the making, the sharing?. Ciao.

Jarred Elrod, Photography

📸➕✍️➕🌎

mid-summer photo check

(I’m still here 😌)

Northern Italy Destinations 📸: Venezia, Prosecco Hills, & Lago di Barcis

Bright splashes of color bookended by black & white…

I’m here at my desk kicking myself because I accidentally just deleted fully processed photos from Abruzzo I was hoping to include with these. No way to recover them (even off the camera), or the time it took to process them. That said, I’m grateful to have had the experiences—let it go…Things have been super busy in the first half of this Summer—balancing work with hosting visitors has been a unique challenge for us, indeed. It’s not that I haven’t been taking lots of photos with my travel LUMIX, my editing just seems to be getting stingier. Out of about 200 photos I kept 20. Out of the 20 these are the ones I decided to share—except for those dang lost Abruzzo files 😩—not still salty with myself about that at all, though…a-hem. The weather here in Northern Italy this Summer has been hot and very dry. Not gonna lie, it’s triggering my West Texas-born fear of no rain for a super extended period of time. It’s hard to imagine a place this green going this long without real rain. Anyways, I chose these photos because of their colors/tones and textures. I think in their own ways they all say “mid summer.” I had a birthday in June—for some reason these have always been difficult days for me—even when I was a kid. I think it’s the sharp awareness of time passing that really gets me. In its own (sadder) way it’s a strong reminder how lucky I am to be here with people I love—and to have experienced the privilege I have in so many domains of my life—for these things I am extremely grateful. Maybe the sadness comes from reflecting on people and vibrant experiences that have (and will) inevitably fade with time—maybe that’s why losing the Abruzzo files hurt so dang much! Photos are a great way to keep those moments alive in their own unique way. June has ended up being a pretty complex month for me in terms of loss—I’m sure that factors in as well. Alas. I’m told the birthday is something to celebrate, and I’m still trying, lol. That said, as a birthday bonus (thanks to Amanda for getting out of the house) we took a few amazing van trips to Prosecco Hills, Bassano Del Grappa + Asolo, Venezia, and Lake Barcis (all photographed above except for Bassano del Grappa + Asolo, which were amazing —files not lost, just photos not taken—maybe it was them birthday blues 🙃 ). I was hoping to keep a tidy archive of van trips…numbering them on the blog. Well, I nailed 001 and 002, but 003 to Abruzzo was sacrificed to the trash bin ether and well…004 is peppered into this post. I’ll get back on the numbering wagon soon. We’ve had family and close friends come and go in the past few weeks, which is both exciting to see them come and sad to see them go, but also an interesting opportunity to check-in and re-evaluate where things are at here with our routines—the things we miss…the things we don’t miss so much. Our first year here travel was pretty much a no-go, so we didn’t have visitors. I think during that time we developed a pretty quiet / slow pace of life. Maybe it’s just aging, but I’m finding it harder and harder to move at a fast pace for more than a day or two at a time or stay up late every night. God I sound boring. I don’t even care, though. Or maybe it’s just the work of trying to balance too many important things that require serious time…at the same time. Who knows. I’ll be heading over to Milan soon with one of our friends visiting from the US. Since I’ve already been to Milan with my camera, I’ve decided to outfit my LUMIX with a red lens filter and shoot monochrome square format only the whole time–limitations. We’ll see what happens here–until then, ciao.

📸➕🌅➕✍️➕🚶‍♂️➕🇮🇹➕🙏

First Friday La Taverna Exhibition—”Fare o Essere”

⬆️ Disclaimer—I did a horrible job documenting this show while it was up. I was hoping to photograph everything before I struck the show, but when I arrived to photograph and strike the owners had already started moving stuff around to help make things quicker, as it is a functioning restaurant and bar. Guess I should have planned better and taken more photos during the show, but I was just too busy having fun to care 😅. I don’t regret it.

⬆️ (click any image for a larger look) I built 10 medium-sized mixed media pieces—these made up the bulk of the show and were based off a series I started in 2020 called “random assembly required.” The name of the series implies exactly how the pieces were made. All of the content was literally plucked at random from my sketchbook or from stuff I’d scanned or photographed with my phone I thought was odd or peculiar. Example: A lot of people asked were the butts in the yellow piece came from…this was from one of my spouse’s chiropractor visits. I found it crumpled under the seat in our car one day and knew I needed to do something with it—it ended up becoming a metaphor for moving through the pandemic and all the physical and emotional things attached to that experience…

⬆️ I printed these large A1 size pieces on canvas—this is where the name of the show (Fare o Essere—Do/Make or Be) came to be and where the idea for the audience participation piece (see below) came in. The other typographic expressions are more or less other ways to say the same thing or pose the same existential question. One of my goals in moving to Italy was to design/set type in two languages. I’m happy to say I was able to do that here. That said, after a year + of learning I still have so, so far to go. I’ve been photographing a lot since I’ve been here. It felt great to use some of my photographs in this work as well. They printed really well on the canvas.

⬆️ I’ve always wanted to make a series of small square pieces—just because. These are 10X10 CM and are basically all just cherrypicked from my sketchbook randomly.

⬆️ Almost every show I’ve ever had features some sort of audience participation piece. This one was no different. It was really neat do do this is two languages (Italian and English) to explore potential cultural differences in how people might respond. I had around 70 responses in total—which I thought was excellent! It was about 70/30% majority Italian. And I found that people that responded in Italian tended to go deeper conceptually on the whole. My favorite response overall was “Fare lo stronzo o essere carta igenica”—which translates to—“Make the asshole or be the toilet paper.” As crude as it may be, this concept speaks volumes about so many problems we have today. I’d like to think this person might have been an engineer, architect, or designer, but who knows. This general idea of building better frameworks for survival or suffering the consequences really hit me hard. Bravo, whoever you are that did this! This one piece alone made the work of building the show worthwhile. It also felt great to use my garage screenprinting setup to print these with metallic black ink on color A4 paper stock. Gotta say, they turned out pretty sweet—and consistent! Still got it, baby 😀

⬆️ As I mentioned before, the show was already half way down when I came to photograph and strike, but nonetheless, La Taverna, Slow Bar in Polcenigo was the perfect location for this show. The owners are incredibly generous and were amazing hosts for our mixed reception of Italian and American friends. This show was held on the first Friday in April, 2022 and the place was packed. We were humbled by the amount of friends we had come out in support. It was also great to have patrons of the business mixing and mingling with us as well. The show was up for the full month of April.

More emphasis on fun that show documentation…

I’ve said most of what I wanted to say in the captions, but I do want to reiterate how humbling and neat is was to have both Italian and American friends we’ve made since being here come out (in driving rain) to support the show. Huge thanks to La Taverna and everyone that came. Since I’ve started working as a Graphic Designer for the USAF on base, there hasn’t been a whole lot of free time to do stuff like this. I’m proud to have been able to make this work and very much appreciate the support of my spouse, Amanda for coaching me through the pinch points. This was/will be a highlight of our time here in Italy for sure and I’d love to do something like this again in the future. Now that I’m not in a tenure track teaching position, there was no pressure or expectation to make this “fit” into any sort of framework for “approval.” I just made the work and enjoyed hanging out with the people that came. We had a ton of good laughs along with many drinks and great food from La Taverna. Yeah, I wish I would have snapped a few photos of the show actually happening, but looking back being fully present was by far more important/valuable. In the past when I’ve had shows I was preoccupied with how I would document it for tenure. Being free from that just felt right. Between the making, the screenprinting, and the audience feedback this experience touched on all the things that are deeply important to me as a maker—and as a human. Active energy exchange through making / thinking between maker and audience during an exhibition is absolutely essential for me. Ironically, there were many points in the process where time was short and things felt like an inconvenient squeeze to make it all work. The daily grind has a way of obscuring or distorting deep personal values, but even if you’re tired once you break that patina of inconvenience and get into something deep down you know will make you feel good…the good feelings do in fact, start rolling in. Enough for now—ciao.

📸 ➕ ✍️ ➕🖼 ➕

van trip—002

Pula, Croatia–05/13/22–05/15/22

A long short weekend

A few weeks ago we had a chance to travel from Northern Italy to Pula, Croatia in our van. It wasn’t a long weekend, but Croatia is so close to us (just 2.5 hours!) we decided to chase the sun. We ended up in Pula, which is a little further South, but wow—how beautiful it was! We were extremely lucky to have sun all weekend and amazing time on the water. The van made it possible for us to visit / sleep in pretty remote locations a little to the South of Pula. The color palette and texture of the coast in Croatia is incredible and the Adriatic is super clear. The red soil reminds me of Western Oklahoma, although I don’t recall seeing groves of Olive trees near OKC. The vibe near the coast in Croatia is largely uncultivated, which we like. There are horrible waterparks here and there (A-hem Istralandia), but we found tons of wild coast and very little oversight. We stopped in Pula on the way home to see the Roman ruins and the experience was both very low stress (even driving a 6M camper) and mind-blowing. If you’re a person interested in Roman history, but not cool with crowds I’d recommend coming to Pula instead of Rome—of course, I still recommend going to Rome regardless—feelings be damned! Short post for today, but hope you all enjoy the photos and words, as brief as they may be. Ciao.

🚐 ➕ 📸 ➕🌅

All the colors, all the textures…and all the work of shooting film—Arco MXGP, 2022

⬆️ I met @fedecunial (middle photo in sequence above) along with @tmarzaro via instagram as part of @astroclub.y. Long story short—I gave them a large official banner I picked up from the 2021 MXoN (Motocross Des Nations), where the Italian team won the title at Maggiora Park—what an event! See more from that here or over on Vurb Moto. These guys are Italian, and doing an incredible job photographing Italian riders that were on the team (Tony Cairoli and Mattia Guadagnini ) I thought it would be better that they have it than me 😀 Of course, they photograph + video tons of other riders as well and travel frequently on the MXGP circuit. They’re also working in video with Mattia Guadagnini’s “Behind” series—so good—and so much freakin’ work (and helpful for learning Italian, BTW)!! Long story short, I’m super impressed by these guys—and they’re as nice as they are hard-working, which is awesome. Since the IG convo we had about the banner I’ve kept in contact with these guys—they’ve been super nice to me and I really enjoy what they are doing with the Astro Club and hope they keep the party going. As a former racer, it always just feels way better to know people in the paddock doing awesome stuff! I hope I can meet up with these guys at another GP sometime soon.


Better late than never…

Wow y’all. No other way to say it. I’m way, way behind on posting. I was lucky enough squeeze a trip in last month to absolutely stunning Pietramurata, Trentino for an MXGP race. I decided to go analog with my cameras—taking my Minolta SRT 201 35mm with some Fuji 400 and my Diana F+ toy camera with a few roles of 120 Kodak Portra film. I also had my trusty digital LUMIX, but didn’t really use it. It was a perfect day for racing and for photographing—such an amazing experience. The difficulties started once I took the film from the cameras 😅. I’m not able to process C41 film myself, so I had the film processed by a local shop in Sacile called Cosmo Foto. From there, I began the arduous process of going through all of the negatives (probably around 150 frames or so—I’m a whiner, I know), selecting, scanning with my flatbed scanner, and finally processing the photos I scanned in photoshop. I post-process very minimally when I shoot film to try to honor the analog process as much as possible. I generally only edit exposure, levels, and throw a highpass filter on for clarity. That said, boy did it take a long time! I’ll admit there where moments during the process when I was questioning whether or not it was worth it anymore to keep buying + shooting film. It’s SO damn expensive now. But then, I look at the selected photos together and I remember all the good things about shooting film…and how good / free I feel when I have an analog camera in my hands. There’s unquestionably something unique about these images—there’s a story being told—even in the frames. I written about this a bit before—and the feelings haven’t changed much. I think we can all agree uniqueness in today’s media landscape doesn’t come easy. I’d venture to say these images are unique because the process reflects that—even down to the tape I crudely used in some of the images to tape them to my scanner bed. It’s there. Who cares! I just might try to keep it to one roll at a time in the future and maybe scrutinize a little more before snapping the shutter, but probably not. Ha! It’s pretty much impossible to stop once you start snapping that real shutter hardware—shoot ’em if you have ’em. Ciao!

🗻➕📸➕🌅➕🏍

van trip—001

⬆️ A look at the van (yet to be named)—& Cheese from Parma!


⬆️ Our previous RV—“the Spaceboat.” A 28′ 1989 Winnebago Itasca Sunflyer gifted to me by my papa. The spaceboat and my papa’s memory both live on in the van 😌

Van life: Venezia > Parma > La Spezia

Amanda and I were lucky enough to get our hands on a Fiat Ducato van. It’s 6 meters long with a 4 cylinder, 6 speed manual turbo diesel motor—it’s amazing! It seemed like an absolutely ridiculous idea at first, but after thinking and discussing—and with the addition of Pinotto—we thought ease of travel and savings on hotels / bnbs would be worth it over the course of a few years. We’ve also seen these vans tend to hold their value. This one has low miles and was left in fantastic condition from the previous owners. We’re hoping when our time comes to an end in Italy we’ll be able to get some money back on re-sell…we shall see.

Sooo…we went big on our first trip, striking out literally hours after signing the paperwork. Having lived and worked from an RV in the past (final medium format photograph above) operating out of the van felt natural. The van is a smaller than our last RV, but it has all the same components (just newer thankfully 😅) so operating it felt both do-able and familiar from the get-go.

We used an app called Park4Night to find places to sleep that were free. This was surprisingly easy, but I will say some of the spots were spectacular, but not easy to maneuver into. Driving a larger car in Italy in tight spaces is a stressful endeavor—particularly on holiday weekends in destination areas, such as the Cinque Terre area we ended up in. In order to get from place to place we had to get comfortable with super tight space tolerances—at speed and moving slowly. We started by driving from the Venice area to Parma, where we stayed for the first night in an overnight space near the city center. Parma was spectacular to walk and the food was absolutely incredible. We are hoping to go back soon to spend some more time there. From Parma, we hopped on the Cisa Pass (SS62), where we stayed overnight in the mountains for one night (cold and windy, but incredibly beautiful). We cooked an amazing meal in the van from groceries we bought in Parma—hand made pasta, aged Parmesan, fresh vegetables etc… We drank Prosecco we saved from our last trip to Prosecco hills—it was all so insanely good—and we are so insanely lucky!

We finished the trip staying a night literally on top of a mountain outside of the port city of La Spezia. The view from the mountain was incredible, but getting the van up there on a dirt road was pretty stressful, lol—we barely fit, but we made it happen. That said, the sunset that night and the view from the open back doors the next morning made it all worth it. We learned a ton from trip 001—see more phone snaps on the IG post embed below. We’re hoping to spend as much time in the van as possible this summer—cameras will be in tow. I might add more to this post later, as this trip was a lot to process on top of a trip I’m on now in the US. I’m looking forward to being back in Italy soon and am currently sitting in the Gainesville, Florida airport. Time to get on the first plane of three for the 20 hour journey back to the FVGciao.

📸➕🚐➕🌅➕🧀