Jamie Goes West | Part II

11111 (1)The Salt Flats. Our friends Matt + Ali told us we had to go visit the Salt Flats in Utah. I’m so glad we did. I’ve never been to a crazier looking place in my life. Shout out to As Cities Burn for turning a boring drive into an epic rock concert. We luckily figured out we both love their first album and it was a big bonding moment for us. There’s no exit by the way for the Salt Flats. You just drive along the highway and then, turn. 

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static.squarespace-3This could be my favorite photo I took of Kern. It’s just epic. His look. The light. The bronco. The color contrast. I gotta frame this.

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static.squarespace-5The Salt Flats are literally nothingness. Just miles and miles and miles of flat hard crusty salt-ground – that’s the best way to describe it. As soon as we got out there, Kern geeked out and started driving super fast with his hands behind his head looking at me. I mean, theres nothing to hit the car or cause us to flip or anything. Its just a flat surface with nothing in your way for miles. Someone told me next time I go, I should just close my eyes and run. Man. The thought gives me chills. I can’t wait to try that.

static.squarespace-3It definitely was not a perfect night. We cooked dinner and watched the most amazing moonrise ever. The biggest, most orange moon I had ever seen rose from the horizon. Of course it was too dark to capture on film and no iPhone could do it justice. You just had to be there. However, as we were leaving, we got the Bronco stuck about 5 feet from the road. Apparently the Salt Flats can also be like quick sand. I mean we got Buzz stuck. Thankfully some sweet guys helped us out super quick. Our trip could easily have been significantly changed if we hadn’t met those guys.

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static.squarespace-2On the way to Yosemite, Kern noticed on Instagram that his friend from Santa Barbara, Dylan, was near us camping for a while. After an hour of searching random camp sites, we connected with Dylan. We ate, drank, and listened to the latest Bahamas record.

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static.squarespace-1The Crab Cooker. Kern took me to this badass natural hot spring in the middle of nowhere. The directions were super sketchy and Kern made me promise not to tell anyone. I can’t post a lot of photos from here because there were other people there when we arrived and there’s an unwritten rule that you have to be naked. It was easily one of the most badass times on the trip.

Here’s a photo Kern took of me. It shows you how isolated the hot spring was.

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Tomorrow, Part III – Yosemite.

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Hey, Nashville! Jamie is throwing a party and selling prints. You should be there.

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  • Jamie Goes West | Part I

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    We love great adventures. Last year, we slowly started to share some of our adventures here and they were well received. To celebrate more exploring in 2015, we’re handing the reins over to Jamie Clayton for our first post(s) the new year. In November, Jamie left Nashville for an epic journey out West with some cameras and a ton of film. He’ll take it from here…

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    Earlier this year I shot a wedding in Denver and ran into one of my friends from Nashville, Kern Ducote. Kern is a stud. Solid guy, amazing soccer player, photographer, and lover of the outdoors. I told him over brunch that I wanted to take a trip out West just to take photos. He told me he would be a great guide on the trip and we should make something work. He also said last year he spent 300 days out of the year sleeping outside. That blew my mind and made me hungry to experience a drop of what that was like.

    A few weeks later (and a lot sooner than I had expected), Kern called me and mentioned driving from Denver to Tahoe and hitting up some National Parks on the way. I was totally in. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I trusted Kern. I bought some hiking boots and flew to Denver.

    static.squarespaceMatt helping Kern plan our trip from Boulder to Tahoe. I loved how much trust Kern put into his old paper map. Turns out there are some places google maps can’t take you.

    static.squarespace-1Kern with Buzz the Bronco, a 1986 Bronco II all packed up ready to go. This bad boy rattled and hummed the entire trip but I grew to love it.

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    static.squarespace-1The first and only snow I saw the entire trip. One thing I thought I would see more of.

    static.squarespace-2Kern. He KILLS it in front of the camera. This moment was fun. We were at a gas station in Colorado and the snow was perfect. I had to start throwing some snow balls at everything.

    static.squarespaceKern with a good friend of mine Andy Sig in Breck. Andy also showing us some awesome spots to hit up on the way.

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    static.squarespaceKern is also a super rad photographer. We had a lot of fun comparing film vs. digital during certain shots.

    static.squarespace-1Sunset as we came into Utah. We tried our best to get to Arches National Park before sunset. Our intentions were to hit up Delicate Arch that night as soon as we got there for sunset. In hindsight, there was absolutely no way we would have made it. Here I think I was trying to convince Kern not to stop and pick up some free skis for his time in Tahoe. I promised him he would get a good deal on some skis when he got there, even though I had no idea. Two days after getting to Tahoe, Kern sent me a photo with some skis someone had hooked him up with!

    static.squarespaceThe beauty of Utah exceeded all expectations. It is such a weird and beautiful state. My film mentor Jon Canlas is from Utah and so it was awesome to reflect on how far I had come as a film shooter since meeting him 4 years ago.

    static.squarespace-1This was taken as we pulled into Arches. I love how cool the moon looks at dusk on film.

    static.squarespaceKern cooking. The dude is amazing on the camp stove. I never went hungry. I learned so much from the man. This was the first night in the middle of the desert in Utah. He made a pasta dish and I got us drunk on some Hot Toddies.

    static.squarespace-1First morning in Arches. Kern decided to longboard down this sick stretch of pavement.

    static.squarespaceFollowing Kern was almost dream like. He would pop up somewhere. I would head his way and boom, he would show up somewhere else. He had been traveling out west for almost an entire year. I was a definite rookie and I learned that real quick when I woke up this morning.

    static.squarespace-1I thought I was going to die probably every day on this trip. This was the first time and I basically just got used to it. I was such a rookie when it came to climbing around and hiking. Did I mention I absolutely hate heights? I followed Kern to that huge arch in the previous photo and by the time I showed up, he was across this sketchy rock just hanging out. After crawling on all fours for 10 minutes, I finally reached him. Then I had him carry my camera bag and his own gear back out of there. I ‘d be lying if I said that was the only time that happened on our trip.

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    static.squarespace-1The next day our mission was simple. Go through the Fiery Furnace (alone) and catch Delicate Arch at sunset.

    static.squarespacestatic.squarespace-2Fiery Furnace could have been my favorite thing we did on the entire trip. Being inside slot canyons and the desert, it’s out of a science fiction film. You can’t explain it. We had to convince a girl to let us go alone. It actually wasn’t that hard. We just charmed her, paid her $8 per person and watched a 5 minute safety film. It is extremely easy to get lost inside the canyons. The normal tour covers 2 miles and takes 3 hours. We had no agenda, we just wanted to get lost. And then of course find our way out.

    static.squarespaceOur time in the Fiery Furnace mainly consisted of climbing over amazing rock formations, getting stuck in a giant maze, retracing our steps and figuring out a way to get out. The best way I could describe it is a giant playground for adults. The picture on the left is actually where we ate lunch. Probably my favorite lunch spot of the trip.

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    Kern would go first and then shine his light on the best route. Also here is Kern photographing the juniper tree that I fell in love with. It is one of the most gorgeous things I had ever seen. It haunted me for days to come afterwards. Before I got my film scans back I went to the lab and harassed them just to see my negatives. I ran through 30+ rolls of film trying to search for one negative, this one. The Desert Juniper. Below is the scan I got back from the lab.

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    static.squarespacestatic.squarespace-1Shoutout to TOPO for a hookup on a sweet day pack.

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    static.squarespace-1Hiking up to Delicate Arch for sunset.

    static.squarespaceWe made it to the Arch! Only to find 50 other photographers already up there. Some joked about my film cameras, other people were super into it. We met an older couple at the top of the arch. We hit it off and they ended up taking us to dinner that night and we are now friends on Facebook. Easily one of the highlights of the trip. Hi Zava!

    static.squarespace-1I have to share this photo because of the crazy story that comes with it. I took this photo on a hike in the middle of nowhere Utah. We left Arches at night and we stopped at a truck stop to catch some sleep. I convinced Kern to drive 30 minutes more to some campgrounds in this random erie suburban small Utah town. In the morning we woke up and saw that we were surrounded by hills. I was coming off this Arches high and so I go, “Dude let’s hike that.” Why? I have no idea. I’m an idiot. It was again one of the many times that I thought I was going to die. It was way too steep and rocky to even reach the top. I also realized how much better of a hiker Kern is than I am. The only thing I was content with was the realization my last meal would have been Kern’s breakfast tacos which still linger with me. Kern hiked up about 20 yards ahead of me and said, “Dude. Not all peaks are meant to be summited. Lets go back down.”
    We got down and packed up and headed to… THE SALT FLATS.

    Part II coming tomorrow…

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    Hey, Nashville! Jamie is throwing a party and selling prints. You should be there.

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  • Music Monday | Louisa Wendorff

    downloadPhoto via The Adroit Journal 

    I’m going to be honest with y’all…
    My most played artist of December was Taylor Swift. And over the holidays, I didn’t check out any new music. I was all about the pop ballads and the 90s rap (thanks to Houston’s Boom 92).

    When the internet exploded last week with this Taylor Swift mashup by Louisa Wendorff and Devin Dawson, I exploded as well. If you haven’t seen it, let the video below be your gateway into this Nashville singer/songwriter’s music. Then give her EP Arrow a listen (iTunes | Spotify).

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  • Merry Christmas To All

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    And to all a goodnight.

     

    See y’all in 2015.

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  • Christmas Down South | Chubbies

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    Mele Kalikimaka! How about this for an epic finale? YOU’RE WELCOME, EARTH!

    For our final giveaway, Chubbies is helping us say “Screw you, Winter!” with The Nutter (the best damn weekend shirt in the biz) + a pair of shorts of your choice. The real question here is how are you going to make these decisions? I’m worried about you…

    • Comment on this post and tell us your favorite beach you’ve partied on.
    • Got a photo to go along with that beach trip you’re thinking of? Tweet it to @backdownsouth and your entry will be counted three times! OR, if you’ve got something old on InstaGramGram we should see, go back and comment on it and mention @carolinefontenot.

    A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Christmas Eve!

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS TO MATTHEW FLYNN FOR WINNING. 

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  • Christmas Down South | The Old Try

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    Here’s the thing – we Fontenots are really proud of our Christmas cards. I mean, real proud. We sort of think they’re the best. But if there was another best, it’s The Old Try. A limited – can’t buy it on their website – shows up in the mail Christmas LETTERPRESS PRINT?! Yup. We’ve felt incredibly honored to receive these. We frame those babies and keep them up year round.

    The 2014 Christmas print – The Yeti – is our favorite so far.
    So this year, I was extra excited when we received 2…one for us…and one for ?…

    • Comment on this post and tell us the last Christmas movie you watched.
    • The first 30 entries will be counted twice!

    A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Christmas Eve!

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS TO ANITA FOR WINNING! 

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  • Christmas Down South | Res Ipsa

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    Atlanta based Res Ipsa‘s products are freakin’ ridiculous. Their wool loafers, created from vintage kilim Turkish rugs, were our introduction to them, and we were head over heels. Well, head over loafers. And the bags – THE BAGS! Lust to the max.

    This Turkish wool dopp kitt – or, if I was lucky enough to keep it, best make up bag ever – is ready and waiting. Get to it you lucky ducks…

    • Comment on this post and tell us the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received.
    • The first 25 entries will be counted twice!

    A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Christmas Eve!

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS TO JACLYN CLINE FOR WINNING! 

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