Boone Rodriguez standing on a mountain

Around The Fire: Boone Rodriguez

"I love living a less conventional life where fostering creativity is important, where I get to engage with folks daily about beauty, and try to share it with others."

Photographer Boone Rodriguez isn't short of a story to tell. A true adventure seeker, he never wanders too far without his camera gear so we couldn't miss the opportunity to catch up after our shoot…

What does meaningful escapism mean to you?

To me, meaningful escapism is the course we plot to help us shake up our patterns, widen our perspectives and refresh the soul and mind, consciously or otherwise. It could be as simple as a drive through the countryside, a swim in a river, hiking to a meadow, a weekend campout. It could be a month-long road trip through the southwest or a sabbatical.

I think of Steinbeck's opening paragraphs in Travels with Charley, it's a favourite.

A car drives through the forest
A woman balances on a tree stump in the forest wearing green dungarees

How did you get into photography, which aspect of it do you love the most?

The camera is a passport into others' worlds where I sometimes find beauty and truth. I was a lucky kid, my Grandpa Don let me borrow his Nikon SLR that he had travelled the world with. It was a svelte camera but heavy. I remember one screw was missing on the bottom and it still is but doesn't seem to leak light. No auto anything and a 55mm f3.5 with a short minimum focusing distance. I loved the feeling of hitting the shutter and already being eager to get the film back to see if the frame came out how you pictured it in your mind.

A man holds a camera in the forest
A woman stands on the back of her car to take a photo of a mountain

Then I mostly photographed my golden retriever Fremont, my brothers and parents, Legos. It evolved into shooting my friends skating, road trips, more friends and all the shenanigans. I shot for my college newspaper for a minute and eventually got asked to shoot personal commissions like weddings. I took on any commission that came my way and started making my own self assignments until my work started to look the way I wanted it to.

I love living a less conventional life where fostering creativity is important, where I get to engage with folks daily about beauty, and try to share it with others. And smashing that shutter is still a thrill, especially when you know it's gonna be a keeper.

Where is the place that means the most to you?

There are some bluffs above the bay on Orcas Island that seem more magical than others. The light in the San Juans feels extra golden on the madrona trees with their olive and rust peeling bark. You can dive into the black ocean on a summer night and watch your body glow with swirls of bioluminescent plankton reaching towards the surface. In the afternoon you can laze by the lagoon. There are many places I love, perhaps the San Juans are my favourite.

A couple and their dog look out over the sea in late afternoon light

When is it that you feel most creative?

One of my favourite routines is to sit and enjoy a cup of black coffee in the morning before the day gets going. If I'm home I'll sit in my favourite chair and write, letting my mind wander. I'll write about how moments felt, how the light was shaped, what were the smells and sounds. I find if I can make time for this small practice it shapes the rest.

What part does photography and creativity play on your wellbeing?

I like the idea that what you put in is what you get out. I try to eat well, get into nature daily, and consume media consciously. Listening to music and pursuing images and film that inspire me is important and I try to leave out dramatic blockbusters that lean on anxiety and fear.

A man walks to the top of a canyon
A group of friends laugh while posing for a photo in the rainforest

Which moment from this trip will stay with you?

The little unexpected things like flushing a family of ruffed grouse on the mountain, watching beaver work in the river, learning about a taco shop that is the best kept secret between the Tillamook forest and the Coast. Watching the sunset over the Pacific with friends never grows old.

Friends run across the beach at sunset

Top road trip albums

Goth Babe

The Room by Ricky Reed

Colter Wall (self titled album)

Hot Pink by Doja Cat

Also these are more road trip jammers... ⬇️

The Slow Rush by Tame Impala

Sympathetic Magic by Typhoon

Gold Past Life by Fruit Bats

This is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about - Modest Mouse

Daddy's home by St Vincent

Top 3 road trip snacks

Party waters. That's what we call La Croix, I love the coconut flavor because it reminds me of sun lotion. Tho if we're talkin straight, no flavor party water, my drink of choice is Topo Chico. Also, those fancy salted almonds that I can never remember what they're called. Starts with an M. And a crisp apple, preferably Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith if I'm feeling weird.

But let's be real, a donut and a coffee. Check out Joe's on the way up to Mt Hood... Dm me for all the good donut shops in the PNW.

Boone Rodriguez Insta: @boonerodriguez

Friends walk across the beach at sunset
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