On Film: Home with Ethan by Travis Cobb

When you know that you’re experiencing something that will be the last of it’s kind for a while, it makes it a little sweeter.

Road trips aren’t meant to be sweet for kids — might as well be prison for them. But road trips with your parents are sort of a right of passage for kids — they clearly don’t want to sit their ass in a car for hours on end but are forced to nonetheless. This was going to be our last trip for a while, the last of many things for a while actually — the last time to see his grandparents, the last time be wild and free, the last time to build a campfire — the last time for us to spend together because now he’s gone for ten months.

Being home reawakens your soul — not that you’ve necessarily lost it by being away, but coming home can make you feel alive in a way that little else can.

I love being on the road and being able to experience everything you’d normally pass over at 30,000 feet — and I loved making my kid do it with me, one of those “you’ll understand when you’re older” things. He got to experience a few things for the first time, like fishing in Puget Sound, seeing Seattle from the water, driving over the Cascades, to smell mountain air, eat a bratwurst in Leavenworth, and swim in a real lake.

We spent a week at the cabin and did absolutely nothing but swim, drink (…he had root beer…), chop wood, explore, swim, chop more wood, build campfires, eat ‘smores, swim, drink more, chop more wood, and swim.

Even though I’m sure the time will pass with the blink of an eye, ten months is a long time to be apart from something you cherish. The frames below are a slice of that week back home with Ethan — I’m missing my friend.

On Film: Montana by Travis Cobb

My mom moved to a little Montana town (Victor, about 45 minutes south of Missoula) in August of 2016.  This summer was the second time I'd been able to go visit.  It's wonderful to be able to visit places like this – places basically in our backyard but also places that don't necessarily rank too high on our vacation destinations. 

My past two visits (August 2016 and July 2017), there've been massive wildfires in the neighboring mountains.  On the flight in to Missoula from Seattle, I sat next to smoke jumpers that were flying in from Alaska to help combat the fires.

My mom moved back to Washington this September.  I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to see a Montana Christmas (yet), but to me, nothing compares to the Pacific Northwest – it'll always be home. 

These are some of my favorite frames from my last trip to Montana – all shot on Kodak Portra 400 film.

On Film: 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 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.