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E26 Quin, EverChangingHorizon Find Your Unique You

· EverChangingHorizon,Quin Shrock,motivatonal,inspiration,outdoor photography

Michaela:

Hello podcast fans and welcome back this week I have Quinn from @everchanginghorizon on Instagram and his life story, his experiences to get where he is today. And his photography is Nat geo status. Just truly fantastic and amazing. He is living a wild and free and happy life and he shares some really incredible tips on how to get in touch with your unique you and be the best you you can be. Check it out. Hello. Hi. Is this Michaela? It is quiet and so glad to connect. Yeah, me too. So tell me, are you still in the architecture? Um, I'm in Pacific Northwest just outside of uh, Rainier national park. Oh, I flew right over you today. Yeah.

Michaela:

So, yeah, I went, I went through Seattle, um, about, I don't know, I think 9:00 AM and then landed and catch a can and then took a Cessna two 10 to Prince of Wales. And literally it was like torrential downpour. Couldn't see the ground the whole time, but it was 40, it was 40. I, yeah. And you know, I, I feel like when you're in a jumbo jet, it's different than being in like a tiny airplane, especially cause I have no idea like what is happening at all. So, you know, I feel like the control freak in me is like, this is not comfortable. Yeah. I took some of those small planes, but luckily we had good views the whole time. No bad weather.

Quin:

Yes.

Michaela:

Nice. Nice. That's awesome. So I have to just start by saying, you know, utterly over the top, impressed with your Instagram is amazing. Uh, you've, you've been to some super incredible places. Like every, every time I see a post from me I'm like, Whoa, where is he now? This is, this is fantastic. Like dream for sure. That's cool to hear. Yeah. Yeah. So, so where are you based out of though? Are you, are you Cal, California or United States? So it keeps changing. Um, when I got started, I was in Hawaii. I lived in Hawaii for eight years and uh, okay. So yeah, first off was Hawaii, then, now it's semi California, but literally right now it's Portland and an overarching theme of I live out of a van. So shew you cut out there. What was that? I said that you see a lot of the van life on Instagram. Is it all that it's cut out to be? Do you think it's like as glamorous as people make it? Look,

Speaker 4:

I mean I think I'm kind of still in the honeymoon phase of van life. Uh, especially cause I just finished a new van. This is my third van. So yeah, like I,

Speaker 4:

it's everything that it's worth, it's really like kind of what you put into it in terms of money and like your own blood, sweat and tears if you're going to convert your own band. Like I put months of work into this one. So I think it just feels that much better to sleep in your own creation and it's so comfy and homey and even in the middle of like, you know a Walmart parking lot, I feel so at home and happy, which is so important I guess when you do it full time. Like I've been doing it full time for almost almost five years now. Wow.

Michaela:

So I, when I, when I was a kid, my parents sold like everything that we own. This was in the, in the nineties and bought a 27 foot fifth wheel and moved us up to the Sierra Nevada's and we live with no electricity and no running water and a fur. Yeah. So it was like not

Speaker 4:

cool back then at all. I'm like they were 20 years too early now. Totally. I think it's one of those things, if you make the decision it's really cool, but maybe if you're not making the decision, it's your parents that kind of like throw you from your house into a, into a car and a trailer. Yeah. It might not be. Have the same effect, you know?

Michaela:

Absolutely. Absolutely. My mindset is everything for sure. So, um, I noticed that though I did see your posts that, you know, I've seen the, the, um, and maybe it's on your instant stories but of the progression of the van. So that's been really kind of cool to see. And um, I think it's neat that the, there, there are people and I think that more and more these days you see it on social media that are finding happiness in ways outside of material things. You know what I mean? Like the memories and the adventures and that sort of stuff.

Quin:

Totally.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I think that's, that's definitely a new wave of I guess consciousness or conscious living, conscious decision making and all that. And I'm all for it. Yeah. I'm definitely riding that wave right now, so,

Michaela:

yeah, absolutely. Simplicity. So, so you share, um, you share a ton of photo tips and tricks and all of that. Do you think you could like, give me a little backstory on, on who you are and how you got started and, and, and how photography has kind of shaped its way in your life.

Quin:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's a big question. Trying to think of, of the way to tackle that one. Um, uh, so I never started out as wanting to be a photographer. Um, not that I didn't want to be a photographer, but I didn't really see it as a viable option for a career. Um, I didn't really own a camera until I started this, I guess like five years ago. So it wasn't something I grew up with. Um, wow. Yeah, it wasn't something that like I grew up around, I didn't grow up in an artsy family at all. It was, it was all business minded and not only my immediate family, I just didn't have any artsy, uh, influences in my life at all. Um, that being said, I was definitely kind of drawn to it and I, I took a lot of art classes in high school and in my first year of college.

Speaker 4:

Um, so yeah, so my photography journey wasn't so much an intentional one. Um, so I guess it all kind of started. Um, when I made my first intentional selfish decision, I would say. Um, by that I mean like I, I decided to take a road trip, like a bucket list road trip that I never thought I'd be able to take maybe until I was like 65 years old. But somehow the time opened up where I was in between jobs and stuff and, and I had the right car that got the best gas mileage that I could potentially do this like massive bucket list, road trip, but it would be six months that I wouldn't be working, that I'd put off my career and potentially lose my ability to go back to the accounting career that I had. Wow. Um, so it was a really tough decision and nobody's at, other than this one friend that I made, um, that was like my road trip buddy.

Speaker 4:

Um, so yeah, like telling my parents that I'm going to go do it. I didn't really know how long it would be turned out to be six months and it was just this unimaginable an unforeseen power. When I finally made that like conscious decision, like I'm doing this for me, um, I don't really care if, you know, you support me mom and dad or like anyone around me, you know, it was just kind of like this selfless decision that felt wrong at the time. But right when I made it, it felt super right. Um, and this is when my photography kind of started. Um, when I, when I made that conscious decision, like I just, I've never seen the Pacific Northwest. Like I got to see that, you know, and I got to be Canada, like never came to Canada. I've never been down through Mexico. Like, can you drive through Mexico? Can you drive from the States to Billy's? It looks like there's a road that connects there, but I haven't really felt that actually. Yeah. And, and I hear more and more now, but at the time, like in my 25 year old mind, it was like,

Speaker 4:

yeah, I just wonder if that can be done and things like that. So,

Michaela:

so let me, so let me ask you this, I'm going to, I want to interrupt you, ask you this. So a lot of people, you know, they're feeling like super spent in their jobs or they hate the career that they chose and they feel stuck and they feel like they have no other option and they talk about, you know, packing a bag and just disappearing for a while. What was your, I mean, I know you talked about that it was something you had said you'd always wanted to do and expected it to happen when you were like 65. So I know there was like a, some sort of a motivating like, I, I want to see the United States or see this part of the world or whatever, but w but what was it that drove you to really say like, regardless of what everyone thinks I need to leave for awhile, what do you think was like the pushing that happened? Right.

Speaker 4:

That's, that's a pretty easy answer. Um, I didn't go into any of my background, but long story short, I was, I got a divorce. Um, so all of a sudden I was in this situation where I had to start over. Um, and so it, it gave me enough, uh, push, like I was in such a reckless mentality. Whereas like, man, what do I do now? Like everything that I'd planned, basically, you know, my whole business background and, and all kind of like all the classic building blocks that I was lining up to create a stable life all fell over. Um, so with, with having that clean slate and also being crazy nervous about starting over, it was that pushing it, it had that pushing effect like, well, right now I'm starting over, like there's no better time than now, you know, so I gotta I gotta do it differently this time.

Speaker 4:

And maybe this time I'll actually like add a little bit more of my, my own personality and passion into it. Cause why not? Because even if even if it goes wrong and nothing comes out of it, it's a cool story. And I mean, I'll just start over again. It's like only six months, you know, cause, cause, uh, that's kinda how time works. Like, when I put a lot of time, like when I was 25, I'd put like seven years into this marriage and potential family and buying a house and things like that. And when that comes crashing down, it's so devastating. So when I'm starting over now, I mean, might as well dedicate six months to this, uh, bucket list trip that will help me get up in the morning and see kind of through the darkness that I was experiencing. And if it falls down, it falls down. I'll start over again in six months. What's six months? You know,

Michaela:

it's like, it kind of makes me think of when they say on the airplane, like put your oxygen mask on first. It doesn't sound selfish to me at all. It sounds like it was a like almost like a life saving technique, you know what I mean? It was part of your journey to, to heal, recover from, from everything you've been through. So to me it sounds like it was, um, not selfish in the slightest, but maybe other people viewed it that way for sure.

Speaker 4:

Well, yeah, selfish decisions are necessary in the end. My, I liked that the, the most, uh, important people are the most influential people that I know really know themselves. And to get to know yourself, you have to make those selfish decisions that are strictly for yourself. Like I grew up kind of thinking the opposite, like to find myself, I got to, I got to do these, all these external things, I guess like these, um, get married and all the classic things that, uh, are lined up for you. But I never really thought about figuring out who I was before it happened. Um, and potentially that maybe my timeline's a little bit different than my parents or whoever else that I'm modeling my future life after, you know? So, um, yeah, I think selfish decisions are necessary and before you can be influential to other people, you got to figure out what makes you unique and, and valuable what you can offer to the world, you know?

Michaela:

Oh my gosh, that's like a life quote right there. That needs to be a caption. That's so poetic. So this six month journey ended up taking you five years down the road to shooting polar bears in the Arctic. So how did you, how did you kind of get where you are with photography? Did you, are you self-taught? Did you watch a lot of YouTube videos? How did you, what did you do?

Quin:

Mmm.

Speaker 4:

On that six month road trip I was with my friend Kate and uh, I didn't even bring a camera. I had my phone thinking my phone would be just enough, you know, cause I was doing it more so for the experience. Um, less for the photos at the time. I mean, yeah, we're definitely going to shoot photos and post them on Facebook to like brag to our friends or whatever. But I didn't really see much, see much in like Instagram or like a potential future in photography or whatever. But um, Kate had a, some sort of a like a crop sensor, Canon like old Canon DSLR camera. And uh, I quickly realized that she was a really good photographer. I didn't, didn't realize it until we were in these places and I was trying to shoot all this stuff with my phone and, and maybe I wasn't happy with how it was turning out, cause some things just don't translate right from cell phones. Um, so, you know, I'd, I'd turn to Kate and be like, man, this is so cool, but my photo is, uh, he's like really? Like, I'm, I'm super happy with how my photos are turning out. She showed me the, what, what she was shooting and, and they were exactly what I was seeing. Um, so right then and there I'm like, okay fine. Maybe, maybe like a real big bulky camera is worth like carrying around in my backpack, you know.

Michaela:

And, and she's slowly and she kind of showed you the light of the, it's so true though. Oh my gosh. I cannot tell you how many trips I've been on. They're like nine miles and you know, 1800 foot of elevation gain. And I'm like, do I really want to do this because I'm just going to be exhausted and sweating at the end and not get any good photos cause I'm disgruntled and then I bring my phone and then I'm pissed off that I don't want my camera. And then it's like a never ending battle. Um, and then the other thing that's impressive is that I like, that's about years. I feel like you're pretty transparent. You, you share exactly what, you know, what speed and what mode and what are you're, you're very transparent with like how you're taking your photos. So, um, I what inspires you to share like that? Cause that's always risky. I think it's

Speaker 4:

probably has something to do with the fact that my job doesn't feel like a job and a lot of ways I don't feel like I'm adding much value literally to like sometimes I don't feel like I'm adding much value. You know, like when I was an accountant I was, I was doing these tasks that need to be done and it was obvious like, okay, I finished it like I did something. It's kind of that sense of accomplishment and when I'm posting photos to the insane web of photos that are out there that are seen and then die within five seconds of that.

Michaela:

So you were saying that the photos that die within five seconds, which is so true. Like you get that split second peop everybody has ADHD these days for sure.

Speaker 4:

So you gotta kind of like approach it in a different way maybe. Um, you know, a lot of people don't read my captions, I'm sure. Cause I mean I don't really read captions that often either. So it's like Hmm. It's like a challenge, like an internal challenge for me to write a caption that somebody actually would read and, and there's like a science to it in my mind. Like the first line has to be like a little bit shocking or like maybe just like, um, lineup what I'm going to talk about. And so hopefully it grabs somebody and like, Oh, I'm interested in that subject, I'm going to read it and then maybe leave a comment and then I'll comment back and we'll create a dialogue to maybe make it a little bit more social, informational and valuable to a person's life as opposed to just like robot mindless scrolling and double tapping, you know?

Michaela:

Um, so much it's coming to mind while you're saying that, especially about like the robot, like tapping in the way that we've kind of removed the human connection. And you talk a lot about human connection in your, in your posts at least as long as I've been following you. So how do you think that the inner webs have changed the way that we interact as humans? And, and do you think it's missing or you think it's better? I mean, it certainly has kind of opened your world a little bit right from, from that accounting lifestyle that you were living to, to more of a global view now.

Speaker 4:

Definitely. Yeah, I think it's made it a lot better and a lot worse. And there's, there's ways that you can leverage it into just using it for the better. But, um, I guess, let me expound on that. Um, growing up in Southern California, I, uh, I wasn't really into the party scene and I wasn't really into like the super cutthroat like business. Like I want to like be super successful in business and things like that. Like these are things that I saw prevalent around Southern California. I feel like I probably should have been born in the Pacific Northwest or something. Like that's more like my, um, my people. So like I spent a lot of time up here. Um, but what I'm getting at is I grew up thinking I was the only one that, you know, that, that wanted to take big, long road trips and wanted to get out into the outdoors and things like that.

Speaker 4:

It just wasn't really, there wasn't like good hikes around where I grew up, so not very many people did it. Um, so what social media has done is kind of connected likeminded people. Um, even if you don't maybe live in the same general vicinity, it's really, really nice to know that there's people out there with your same, um, mindset, your same interests and whatnot. So it kind of, uh, validates your, your own personality and interests and connects you with those people. Um, and where it becomes an issue is, yeah, you can connect with them online and you can follow them, you can comment with them, whatever. But that's usually where it stops. I think, you know, like it, you just, you make D digital connections, maybe you messaged back and forth sometimes and that does have some value. Just knowing that person's out there and, and supports you in that way.

Speaker 4:

But when it becomes a real positive for the human connection is when you meet up in person and you actually make that, make that friend. And I mean all my really good friends at this point are, uh, from social media and you know, um, and we do stuff together all the time on, on an everyday basis. So there's an inherent like S like scary quality to meeting someone off the internet because you don't really know what's going to happen or you know, if it could be a bad encounter or something like that. And I get that, um, argument a lot. But from what I've found, like I haven't had any issues or problems. I mean, I'm a guy, so there's that. Yeah. But like, I mean for the most part, the people that I meet, I really like what they put out in the world. I cause like your Instagram page is basically who you wish you were, who you want to be, where you're, where you put your value. Then you know, if they're posting things that I really like, that's where they put their value. I mean they might be a little bit older than I expected or younger than I expected or have like a real job or something. Right.

Michaela:

I'm more interested in them

Speaker 4:

person, you know, like and where they put their value, which is generally what they post. So I,

Michaela:

I liked the psychology behind that and I think that you're onto something. I think that's absolutely true. I think even though, you know, people say, well it's all steak or it's make make believe or people are just putting their best foot forward, it's like, yeah, but there's a certain level of like you can't hide from who you are in a certain way. You know, when you're sharing photos and things like that, there's a running theme that kind of starts to come out, you know?

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Michaela:

I, I too have met, um, people, as a matter of fact, a couple episodes back, um, I had been, we'd been following each other for a couple of years and they were making a Trek out to the, out to the West coast. And so they were coming through the Sierra Nevada's and I ended up meeting them on a remote trail and desolation wilderness. And then they ended up sleeping in my cab over at my house. A little sketch, but it was super fun and they were awesome. And it was, it was neat to take it like you said, from, from being that kind of, you know, we have similar, similar concepts of things that we like in life and that sort of thing and then make a real actual friendship out of it. It was pretty neat process actually.

Speaker 4:

Cool.

Michaela:

And I think that it's, I think that it's neat to, to, um, to like you said that see that there are other people that maybe like hiking and doing long road trips or living in a van and things like that too. That's, you know, for some people maybe it's, you know, glamour makeup or something like that. But, um, I think that's, that's a neat thing as well that you can kind of have that connection in that way without having to have like necessarily the, the in person everyday relationship.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think it bridges the gap. Like the kind of breaking the ice, the awkward part about meeting people in real life is you kind of have to find that commons, you know, ground or whatever. And when you meet someone from basically being interested in what they're interested in, you meet and you're already friends, you already have all this stuff to talk about. You know, you follow it along when they took the trip to wherever, Hawaii and you instantly have all these different topics that you're interested in. So it's been a complete game changer. Just like I'm not a social person. And then when I started doing all this stuff on, on social media, all of a sudden I kind of became a social person, like almost from an introvert to an extrovert. Um, which, you know, like, I mean I can speak, at least for myself, when I, when I felt like an introvert, I always wanted to be an extrovert. It's not like I was happy to like, you know, not have friends or whatever. You know, you always like wish that you had those, those connections and social media has given that to me. So, uh, the human connection has completely changed for me. It just through this weird on, you know, iPhone app, so,

Speaker 5:

so crazy. I mean it's such a different world, you know, so crazy. So have you some of your photos, are they drone? I feel like you do drone work too.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I don't do it a ton, but yeah, there's definitely certain places that are really good with drone. Yeah. Of any of my equipment. My drone suffers the most. It malfunctions on me. I crash it, it gets, it gets me in trouble at airports. It's just like the most complicated piece of equipment that I have.

Michaela:

So do you stick a GoPro on it? Is that how you do it or do they come with like built-in cameras?

Speaker 4:

Um, well there's different ones. Uh, some of them use GoPro setup, but mine is, is all like in body it has a little camera attached to it already.

Michaela:

Oh my gosh. I don't think I could send my camera away from me like that. I might have a meltdown.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Up there. Yeah. I've crashed three and lost two, maybe even more than that. And then like two of them have malfunctioned on me when I'm on a like a big job and like some random, like it happened in the Island of Palau. It's like this small Island kind of off the Philippines. And so we were running around on, on this tiny little Island, we found the only drone that was on the Island and eventually finished the job. But it was a very drone dependent. Uh, shoot. Some places just don't really translate from eye level and that was one of them. So it's crucial at times, but it's not like a huge staple of every job that I do.

Michaela:

And you know, one of the, one of the recent posts that you had was a picture, I think it's in Hawaii and maybe not, but I've seen, I've seen this particular, um, like place before. I don't know where. And um, she looks like she's hanging off a rock, like Alex Honnold style and she's not like, she's four feet above the ground. And you talked about responsibility and kind of like, um, you know, you asked the question like, am I responsible for, you know, what I post on here to protect human life as we know it? And there were like a thousand comments back and I'm curious what, what was your takeaway from all of that? From the whole idea that, you know, because of your followership that you may have some requirement or responsibility to humans and places to

Speaker 4:

I think I, so I captioned thinking I would get a lot of backlash and people saying, yes, you need to be responsible. You should take this down. I can't believe you post this or whatever. You know, that's what I anticipated. And it was pretty much a resounding don't let that affect your creative freedom. Cause that was like, the question that I posed at the end of the caption is like, yes, I have that responsibility, but should I let this responsibility restrict my creative freedom? I go back and forth on that. I've definitely posted things, um, that I've gotten a lot of hate on that it's promoting like, you know, climbing without ropes, which is the case on that photo that you just referenced and I've taken it down because of it. You took it down. I don't, no, no, not that one. Oh yeah. So I've done it in the past and that was the inspiration for the whole caption.

Speaker 4:

Like, Hey, here's another one of those photos that you guys are probably kind of come out and call me out on being like dangerous or irresponsible. Like you're not supposed to do it like this. You're supposed to have ropes, things like that. Um, so yeah, I think it was just how I framed it. Um, but I didn't get any people saying like, yeah, you gotta be more responsible. You gotta take this down. Things like that. That's what I was expecting. But everyone's just like, don't let that affect you. You do you, I think that was like said probably a hundred times of those thousand comments. And that's not necessarily what I was going for or expecting. But I mean it's, it's nice to, to hear, I guess it's a good little motto and I think it's prevalent on the social media sphere.

Michaela:

I follow, I follow modern Tarzan and, um, handsome Robinson and you know, so modern cars since obviously doing that acrobatic type stuff. And then you got handsome Robinson doing highliner stuff and ironically he's from, from near my hometown. And um, you know, for me when I'm looking at those sorts of things and some of the imagery that you're, you're doing, there's a sense that you have a level of expertise that has entitled you to feel like taking the risk. I mean, it's kinda just like today when my father in law picked us up and catch can and you know, I got in the plane with him knowing he's not going to put our lives and unnecessary danger like it, you know, it's not worth it. He would say, let's just stay the night and catch a Canon. We'll fly out tomorrow. Like there's, there's a kind of process that unfolds behind the scenes that people don't see.

Michaela:

I feel like. Um, and certainly sometimes accidents happen, but people die in car accidents every day too. So, you know, like I feel like, I don't know, I don't think it is your responsibility. I agree with everybody. I, I've totally agree with the comments that you got there about not letting it squash your creativity. I think the bigger, I think the bigger topic though is like, you know, the fact that people will see something like that and then go try to replicate it. It's like, well, what the hell are you thinking? You know, there's a certain like Darwin factor that of comes into it.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Oh yeah. Darren Darwinism was the huge reference also and in a lot of people's responses. And that's really what I believe. It's just, I don't think people fully understand that replication. Um, idea. I don't think people fully understand how often I see my shots fully, you know, like pose, location, everything replicated and, and how big of a thing it turns into. So, I mean, for that reason, I don't geotag and things like that because I don't know what it is, but there's this strong desire for people to like fully replicate certain images. And, and for me it's like, it's the opposite. Like if I see an image, it's like, wow, what does this image mean to me? Why is it so good and how can I apply that to something else? Right. You know, like take the bigger concept, you know? And, and that's like where I get the inspiration.

Speaker 4:

It's not so much like, wow, where is this? No, not the general area. And it's like, what time of day is this? Or what time of year and like, you know, what, what's that jacket? And like all this specific information, like, uh, yeah, that stuff. I mean, it's, it's gonna continue to happen and that's just the nature of it. But, uh, that's kind of what I'm referring to when I say that. Like I'm with Alex [inaudible] and handsome Robinson. Ryan's a good buddy of mine. Like, I don't think very many people are going to be inspired to literally walk, uh, you know, with like a 4,000 foot drop underneath of you in China or something. So that's like the beauty of his, of his like niche is that it's so technical and it looks so intense and hard that nobody's gonna do that. But with my images, lots of times there's, there's the shot right in front of you and you don't know if those rocks are loose.

Speaker 4:

You don't know if, if it's actually that dangerous, but Quinn did it. So that's, that's me validating this dangerous behavior. Um, and, and that's kind of like the side that I was representing cause yeah. Even though that that particular shot you're referring to there is ground four feet below. Um, I mean there's also a drop, like a hundred foot drop, like a foot away from that ground, four feet below, right is dangerous in some ways. It's not nearly as dangerous as it looks. Right. Um, and there's definitely a lot of my images that actually are really dangerous. Um, but I feel comfortable doing it. I've always been really into Heights. Um, and, and lots of times I'm putting myself at risk as the photographer more than the model, you know, or like, and that's the part you don't really, um, that's not really represented in the photo.

Michaela:

I am not sure how, I mean I think about like even I live near the American river, um, and every year, you know, we, we tell people, people that are visiting and whatever, you know, everybody is trying to spread the word. Like this is a very cold, very fast moving river and you'll die. Like you'll die in there and every year people die. And it's like, doesn't seem to matter if you tell them, like they still have this idea that they can, they can pull it off or they can do it or, or whatnot. So I feel like even if even if they did see the behind the scenes and knew that what you were doing is dangerous, they'd still have that copycat kind of mentality. I don't know. I don't know why that, where that comes from. I don't know. Cause I know for myself, my photography, um, comes from inspiration in the moment, like feeling something, the way the clouds look, the way the sky is or what's happening. You know, it's, it's, it's a feeling. So it would be hard for me to try to recreate something with any kind of genuine, you know what I mean? It would just be, it would not probably turn out very good.

Speaker 4:

Totally.

Michaela:

Um, on that, on that note though, your photos, one of the things that I, that I'm impressed with, and Holly, same thing, you're able to, um, to capture the vibrancy of the sky and everything without, I don't know, it seems like whatever editing you're using, the filters aren't washing things out or making things look unrealistic or making things look too washed out. So I don't know what you're doing there, but that's incredible. It's like that's the kind of stuff that I see and I'm like, wow, I'm just not there yet.

Speaker 4:

Gotcha. Yeah, it's all light room. Um, I, I haven't ever used Photoshop or anything like that. Um, so it's, it's honestly just playing around. Maybe if you have a long flight, you just kinda like mess around with all the sliders. You haven't ever really tried or something on there. And that's kinda how it happened with me. But in general, I don't spend a lot of time on the editing process, like the backend stuff. I spend a lot and most of my time in the photography process and in the front end researching where I should go and at what time of the year and what time of day and things like that. And then sometimes it takes a long time to actually get out to those locations. So I would say the bulk of of my, uh, photography process is on the front end. Um, and that's kind of where I shine in general.

Michaela:

That's so true. Cause like if you take a crappy photo and the light's bad, you can't, there's nothing you can do with it. It's just toast. It's done. Forget it. And it's so frustrating. So, so what advice do you have for people who, you know, maybe do, feel, um, either overwhelmed or jealous or inspired by some of the incredible stuff that they're seeing on the internet? Like what, what do you suggest to people that are maybe, um, you know, kind of stuck in that place?

Speaker 4:

Uh, man, um, I think the wrong way to go about it kind of goes with what we're talking about where it's like maybe finding someone that you like and replicating. Um, I think that's definitely the wrong way to go about it. Um, you can, you can basically find people that you look up to and try to figure out why and what, what makes them unique. You know, is it their words of encouragement? Are they, are they inspiring? Like giving their own life stories? Are they, uh, is it their Fataar mainly their photography, like their locations or whatever. Like kind of take overall concepts and try to apply them into potentially where you want to go or where do you want to be in the next few years. And in general, it's just figuring out what makes you different than anyone else. Maybe like the weird quirks that you have are what make you unique.

Speaker 4:

So like I was just saying, I shine on the front end, like finding locations to shoot my parents tell me like that from when I was a baby. Like I don't know, maybe when I was like three or four, you know, I'd be in the car seat next to them and I'd call my mom out for missing a turn. You know, like she was just like, you would just like where did that come from? Like how do you know these things? So like I've always had a really, really strong sense of direction and like just a sense of awareness of like maps and, and kind of where the turns are and where we need to go. And uh, and so that helps with finding locations when I'm on the ground where, where we show up to this Lake and glacier national park and I know exactly where I need to go to get that photo pretty instantly.

Speaker 4:

Or even like, you know, if everyone is going off to the East coast for the fall to shoot like a new England or something, let's go to Michigan instead. Cause, cause you need to like be a little bit different and showcase different things. So for me it's, it's locations. If you're into, you know, fashion, you've got to look at what's really popular right now and maybe not try to emulate that, but like find your own thing and make it unique in some way, you know? Um, so that's, that's the main advice I guess is, I mean, to make it nowadays you have to figure out how to be different in some ways. And it's, it's not an easy process to find that. But once you do find what, what makes you unique, then you just gotta run with that, you know?

Michaela:

Well, I think even as like social creatures, the things that make us different, we've always kind of shied away from or been afraid of and tried to hide. So it's like counterintuitive to think, okay, what's the one thing that makes me not fit in? And that's the one thing that's going to make me stand out, you know, like in a good way. That's, that seems kind of like a funky concept, but I think you're absolutely right. Um, and so that's maybe a good message to our youth. Like, you know, don't, don't shy away from the one thing that makes you different. Yeah. I liked that. I liked that a lot. Gosh, there's like, we could have a whole compensation on that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And the, the earlier on you, you learn that I think the better, you know, when, when you come to peace with your quirks or what makes you unique. Um, especially in the social media space, I think, uh, I think it's a super, super relatable topic to pretty much everyone. Everyone thinks they're a little bit weird, you know? Um, so when you open up about it, even if the person reading it doesn't have that same weird characteristic, they have their own. So it's just, it's relatable in that way. Totally. Yeah. And with social media, I think it's like an exaggerated American culture where everyone's chasing the same things and playing it really, really safe. You know? Um, so that's, that's why I say like, I think, uh, being honest and real with your followers, it's not the easiest way to go about it. It's hard to write those things, but, uh, you'll be rewarded for, you know, the courage that it takes to write that and to put yourself out there.

Michaela:

So I actually jotted a note earlier on that, on that to ask you, how do you deal with the hateful comments and things like that or the naysayers or the negative people that are trying to squash you or shoot you down or disagree.

Speaker 4:

How do I deal with them? Um, yeah. Um, I have to say I don't get that much. Um, and the few that I get, if it's something about the environment, I fully, fully listen and like try to implement that into my next photos that I take. And I really take that stuff to heart. You know, like if I'm promoting bad behavior on the environment, um, that has a lot of weight when I get that comment. If it's someone just, uh, being a jerk. Yeah. Like if it's just like an unwarranted, hateful comment, it's kind of like funny in some ways. Uh, I dunno, it's, I mean the first few times it happened, obviously it wasn't, but it's just as, as time goes on you realize it's just kind of a reflection of someone that's maybe having a bad day or something like that. And generally I just don't answer them. And a lot of the times, honestly, like someone that follows me and that's a fan of me will like chime in for me. Right? Like get your back on a fight. My battle. And I don't really, I don't really want to answer those comments, but I also don't really want to delete them either. Like I think sometimes we need to lead a comment that's super hateful. Like they'll see that

Michaela:

and it's almost empowering. Yeah. I wrote, I wrote a memoir and it's, um, I read a recent review. She was like, this dumb girl made all these stupid decisions, but her parents were really awesome and I'm thinking like, this dumb girl is a real human that wrote this. It's like, well, I have to remember that like, you know, every, they're entitled to their opinion and, um, this is the risk I took when I put this out there. And, but yeah, it's hard sometimes because as much as there is that element for human connection in the good positive meetings and exchanges and stuff, there is that like the trolls, the people that are just there being buttholes cause it makes them feel better.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Yeah. And they'll always be there. And, and that's kind of the beautiful thing about social media is like everyone has a voice. Even if you have a terrible voice, like, uh, it goes with every comment. Like even if it's a, you know, someone with 10 followers, I still read their comment generally, I read almost all my comments. Wow. Um, so they, they have a strong voice even to reach, you know, like celebrities or whoever, you know, like the people with a lot of followers, they're all on the same like level playing field. And kind of the same goes with people that are feeling like really, um, apprehensive or overwhelmed at starting, uh, a new account or something, you know, like I started in the exact same way and I didn't have any like fame or fortune to go off of. So everyone's kind of given the same opportunity and that way to start an account and you can post just as much as I can post. And I mean, I dunno,

Michaela:

that's actually a really cool concept. No, that is a really cool concept when you think about the level playing field like that. I haven't really thought about the platform in that way, but you're absolutely right.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And I mean I was given a huge leg up cause I started social when I was in Hawaii and I wasn't a photographer or anything. I didn't have any big aspirations, but I was in freaking Hawaii, right? Like everyone wants to see Hawaii, everyone thinks the beautiful blue water and green mountains is like a really aesthetically pleasing photo. Right. So I was given that huge advantage. Um, but yeah, I mean like I've been done, I've been doing a ton of just road tripping around the state since I got this van and I've found really Epic landscapes in most all the States that I go to. Oh yeah. So it's kind of like a subtle mission of mine to prove that there's cool stuff everywhere. Yeah.

Michaela:

Especially if you shoot it during golden hour.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, totally. But like, I found some of the most Epic landscapes in Michigan and Alabama and Texas and all these States that growing up in California, everyone's so prideful about about the West coast in California in general. And you don't really want to go to Alabama, like who would go to Alabama, but you can drop into these intense huge caves with waterfalls and light rays. Wow. It looks like the Amazon jungle, you know, and it's an Alabama. So

Michaela:

I think that's, I think that's great. I think that's one of my favorite things about, um, your IgE is that it is so vast and there is so much happening all the time and it's, it's fun. I mean, some people say, well, that's just not real life. And I feel the opposite. I feel like for me, you know, this is a, that's an really awesome break from real life is to like think about that there's this beautiful scenery somewhere and it's not that far from me, you know, or it's, it's attainable in this lifetime. That's a, that's a cool idea, you know. That's neat. Um, so on that note, uh, you, you mentioned recently that you were kind of in a creative rut and that sort of thing. What do you do when, when you're, when you're in that space? I've certainly been there, um, you know, either feeling bored or disconnected or whatever. How do you handle that? Cause this kind of is your job or it is your job.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is. Um, yeah, creative routes have been happening more and more honestly. Um, I don't have a good answer to that one. For me, it's like I literally just wallow in it. Like, you know, like it takes me, like, I just realized that like, I'm not feeling it. So like, I just, you know, take a break and lay around and I'm completely unproductive for however long it takes until like, I'm so unproductive and so lazy that I'm like, okay, I got to get out, I need to do something, you know? Um, so like, you know, I watch a lot of movies and TV and Netflix, whatever, you know, like, um, until I just feel so incredibly lazy that I've like wasted the last week of my life and now I'm all fired up to make use of the next week, you know, so like it's not, it's definitely not rocket science and it's probably not the best way to go about it.

Speaker 4:

Um, but a big one, like I was in a big rut, um, towards the beginning of this year and, and a lot of the times it's also just kind of switching my view, like instead of traveling, which I've been doing for the last five years, I just stayed at home with my parents and my family. And, uh, that's when I converted the van. Um, so I just kinda like learned something new, like learned how to build something. And just get my mind off of what I'm in the road about. And yeah, just, I don't know. I like that I'm also really into also really into Frisbee golf. Right,

Michaela:

right. I love Frisbee. I've never played Frisbee golf. I love Frisbee that. It's just super fun. Um, and I think Frisbee golf would be awesome because you've gotta like try to actually get it in there and yeah. That, that's um, just something super different, something different. Rice has been off. Take a break from what you're doing. Yeah. Yeah. I know for me, I like to reflect back on like old photo albums and things like that. And then it's like, Oh wow, I was, you know, I did have some talents or whatever and those sorts of things like kinda then fire me up. But I do, I'm like with you, I have to walk away from it completely and just be like, Nope, not doing it. Um, so it's a good way to go. So my last question cause I know that you've got, you've got to get on with your day is um, so when you reflect on your accounting job and your, you know, your day job six years ago, what would you go back and tell your old self now knowing what you know now about the life that you've lived and the way that it's gone?

Speaker 4:

Um, I really don't like that question. I've got it before. So I would, I would honestly, I would if I was given the chance to do that. Like I could say yes or no. I would say no. You know, I wouldn't tell myself anything cause I think it would screw everything up cause looking back on it, like, you know, I, I'm really, really grateful to be where I'm at right now because I didn't come from this background. Uh, it took a long time for me to realize that I needed to pursue selfish passions of mine. Cause I mean at the time it was selfish and now looking back like you were saying was necessary. Um, it's, I think we need more people that, that have those desires to like figure out what makes them unique and, and what you can offer to the world. Um, not a lot of people do that.

Speaker 4:

A lot of people just kind of see a job as like a means to an end, you know? Or like they kinda just assumed like, yeah, one day I'll get a job and I'm going to hate it, but that's life. You know, that was kinda my mentality going into it. Um, but I needed, I needed that like sinking feeling I needed to go through college and, and all these bad things to eventually push me to do it for myself and like such a genuine and like almost like life or death way, like pushed me into that road trip. And then like I found this passion because I was in such like a reckless mentality because of all the hardships that I went through right before then. So if I went back and told myself like, Oh, it's going to be good. Like, Oh, like check out all these photos of the polar bears. Like you're going to be shooting polar bears in five years that would screw everything up.

Michaela:

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

It just, it needed to happen in the way that it did. And uh, the contrast of, of where I was five years ago versus where I'm at now is like, that's kind of what, what made it all possible.

Michaela:

Yeah. So I would almost say just kind of in listening to what you're saying, your message to yourself thing, like find the courage to, to find your uniqueness. That's almost what it sounds like to me for sure. Like find the courage to be, you, like to be who you really want to be and who you really are.

Speaker 4:

Totally awesome.

Michaela:

That's awesome. That's really great.

Speaker 4:

But for sure.

Michaela:

Oh wow. Well thank you so much for sharing all these different perspectives. I feel like each one of these has a tangent that I could have gone off on like a half hour, but that would require like maybe like a campsite and some coffee, you know, longer term like kind of chill and chat because a lot of these things that you brought up, I feel like super good. Just psychological questions to think about and review. So I appreciate that. Um, that kind of more eye opening perspective. I really do.

Speaker 4:

Well I'm glad to hear that. Yeah, there, there are big questions and I can expound quite a bit on all of them as well. But uh, yeah,

Michaela:

well if you ever, if you ever get together with Ryan and you guys are ever up in, you know, the, the Georgetown Placerville Auburn area, definitely let me know. Yeah. Awesome. Uh, I keep telling him on his comments, I want to see him strap one of those lines from the forest Hill bridge across the Canyon. I think that would be Epic.

Speaker 4:

Oh yeah, that would be so awesome. Yeah. He's still based around their highs. He's in like Sacramento I believe. Yeah,

Michaela:

I think so. Cause I see a lot of, um, he just did fulsome and I see a lot of his pictures and I'm like, Oh my gosh, that's one's bro. Oh my gosh. You know, different places that I recognize. Right. Right near me. Yeah. Yeah. So what are you doing in Alaska? So, um, my inlaws actually own a fishing lodge here, so we fish for halibut and salmon and kind of stock the freezer and do all that we explore around and hike and all sorts of fun stuff. Yeah. We come up every year. It's fun.

Speaker 4:

Do you see any bears?

Michaela:

Yeah, actually they've, they've already seen a ton. Um, I didn't see any on the way in just now. There's usually this one spot where we see them. I see a burn pile that I thought was a black bear, but, um, yeah, so it's, it's pretty, it's kind of like they say you step off the bus and you're part of the food chain. Have you been up this way yet? I've driven it, yeah. Um, I haven't done any like deep, uh, Bush plane exploring or anything like that. It's on the list for sure. Yeah. It's, it's great. Well, if you ever need a good guide, um, I'll definitely connect you. Cause my father in law is very sporty and uh, you, you guys would have a good time. Very cool. Yeah. Alaska is a huge one on my list. So my take, well Prince of Prince of Wales is really fantastic too.

Michaela:

It's, it's so gorgeous. But um, I think later on this week we're going to take the plane and go over, um, I read this book called the last wave or the greatest something by Susan Casey and this big tsunami like leveled this, this entire Island. And they, and you can see where the tree split in half, where the tsunami hit. So we're going to fly over that. I think it's latooya Bay and we're going to fly over that and check it out and stuff from the air. So I got a new GoPro on Amazon prime day.

Michaela:

I'm pretty excited about that. But you're gonna strap it. You should strap it to the plane or something. I've seen some cool shots like that. I was seriously thinking about that. I brought like Velcro and stuff and I have the remote controls. I was actually thinking about that, but knowing me, I'd stick it on the wrong spot and they'd be like, be a, it'd be like a drone disaster. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, I'll let you know if I get any good stuff. I'll let you know. Sounds good. Sounds good. Well, I'll connect with you offline and thanks so much again for coming on on our podcast. Yeah, thank you, Mikayla. This has been a BU. Find happy podcast for more inspiration. Check out early. Bye. Bye.

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