On Film: Me, Ethan & Glacier National Park / by Travis Cobb

The older I get, the more I realize that there is so much I've taken for granted in life, one of those really big things are our National Parks.  You know, when you're a kid, you want to go Disneyland and do cool stuff like that, screw sitting in the car for 20 hours on a road trip to the Grand Canyon.  There are so many places in this country that I haven't been that I'm dying to see that it finally got to the point that I needed to stop talking about seeing them someday and just go see them.  I feel fortunate to have grown up in Washington State where you're surrounded by so much of what I seek now.  But Washington only has what Washington has...it doesn't have the Grand Canyon, it doesn't have Glacier, it doesn't have Yosemite, or Yellowstone, or Death Valley, or Arches, or Big Sur or so many others.

Not only was Glacier National Park a place I've always wanted to see, it was also something I wanted to do and to share and experience with Ethan.  Life being what it is, we don't have as many opportunities to do these kinds of things.  I know that going to Glacier National Park probably isn't on the top of most 9 year old's lists, but he's 9, and I'm dad, and we're doing it...damn it.  It was something else, almost difficult to find the right words to describe.  For me, I liken it to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time -- immense beyond measure, vast and obviously breathtaking...reminded me of home.

I chose not to bring my digital camera on this trip for a few reasons.  Nowadays, probably 90% or more of my personal work is all film, so there's that.  Also, for me, digital is distracting.  It's so hard not to fire off a dozen frames and want to stop and look at the LCD and see if my exposure was good or if I was in focus or blah blah blah.  I've talked a lot on other posts as to why I love film over digital, but the main reason for this trip was that since digital is such a distraction for me, I know for certain that it would have meant that I would have also been distracted from Ethan, and the whole point of going was to be able to do it with him.  However, after traipsing what felt like thousands of vertical feet over the days we were there, I was seriously second guessing myself -- the Mamiya RZ67ii is like a metal brick the size of a shoe box strapped around your neck.  But at the same time, it was pretty neat to have conversations with strangers at the park about what exactly it was I was holding, especially with the few people who actually knew what a film camera was.

These are my favorite frames from our trip to Montana.  And now that my mom lives in Missoula, I'm hoping my excuses will be far fewer for not seeing this place sooner.  All frames shot on Kodak Portra 160 and 400, and a big thanks to The Find Lab for the processing and scanning.