What a long, strange trip — cell phone photo edition

For the past three weeks, I’ve been travelling the country on a nationwide documentary tour as part of a five man film crew. We’ve logged thousands of miles inside our trusty, 15-passenger van (codename: Karl Malone), from New York City to Los Angeles, to Vancouver, B.C. and back.

(For some backstory on the documentary, read our producer’s introductory post here and an update of our time on the road here.)

The trip has been nothing short of amazing so far, and as we round the corner on our last week of this month-long trek, I’m left to reflect on the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been. Not here though. At least not yet. I don’t have nearly enough time or energy left in this 18-hour day to put my thoughts into words. That post is for another day.

What I do have is a collection of cell phone photos I’ve snapped during our stops in random cities, from NYC to Asheville, N.C., Austin to Phoenix t0 San Diego and L.A., among others.

In an upcoming post I’ll make sure to share a collection of actual photographs taken in between and during filming sessions. In the meantime, here are those cell phone snaps in chronological order, the first one taken on the first leg of our trip heading to Buffalo, N.Y., and the last taken in San Francisco at a place I’m sure you’ll recognize.

It’s funny — because our schedules are so tenuous and we really have no idea what we’re doing each day until that day, our cell phones become or grounding devices. We turn to them for some normalcy, some conversation with people back home, to tweet what we just ate or who we just met or post to Facebook about how cool City X is. Funnier yet is the fact that at any given time, we have thousands of dollars of camera equipment at the ready, and we reach for our cell phones first. It reminds me of Chase Jarvis’ iPhone photography book “The Best Camera is the One That’s With You.” I’ve been trying to embrace that mentality and bring to mobile photography the same principles I bring to any other variations of it — composition, light, layers, etc. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the results.

(One side-note about the photos above: I noticed while compiling the images that I have very few cell snaps of people. It made me realize that I tend to reach for a different camera depending on the subject, so if there are interesting people walking on the street or a cool moment happening, I’ll grab my DSLR. But if there’s some cool geometry or cool colors or textures (or a worthy meal), the cell phone seems to be the go-to device.)

We landed in Portland earlier today (yesterday, technically). We’ll spend the next three days here before heading to Vancouver, then to Seattle, Boise, Wisconsin and Chicago before returning to home-sweet-home, Wilmington, OH. I can’t say I’m not excited to get home. I miss my wife. I miss my dog. I miss my bed. In that order. But I know as soon as I get home, get comfortable and reintegrated to daily life, I’ll miss the road. It’s inevitable.

Till next time.

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