This last trip across the US was one of my all-time faves. My friend Katrina invited me to come along in her ginormous RV from Gainesville, Florida to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Katrina drove this tank the entire 30 hours while my friend Lauren and I watched her two adorable kids Gracie and Indie in the back. And we did it in less than 3 days!! We had fun along the way juggling children, making smoothies, and getting kicked out of gas stations. And after this grand adventure was over, we mustered up all of our energy for a last minute costume party at Felicia’s place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I have to give a shoutout to all my friends here. First off, thank you for inviting me on this awesome adventure Katrina. Your kids are amazing and they were so fun to hang out with. Chad, thanks for letting me stay at the Cook Ranch. You’re a genuinely generous gentlemen. I thought you’d appreciate that lyrical line since you do shit like that all the time. ;) I’d like to give a special thanks to my friend Lauren, a hooping world traveler and talented massage therapist who inspires me so much with her bountiful optimism. She also has some of the most badass tattoos. And I definitely need to give a shout out to my new friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thank you Brittany for sharing some giggles with me and sharing your little boy with me. Give Israel a big kiss for me. And last but not least, I’m so happy to have met Felicia. She’s the costume designer, makeup artist, and super funky visionary behind the scenes. She’s the chick with the red hair. Follow her at instagram.com/lucky9one/
It's hard to describe how much I love photographing weddings. There really is no better job in the world. Wedding photography keeps me on my toes, I get to hang out with cool people all day, and I am front and center to the bride and groom’s most intimate and exciting moments. I’m approaching 4 years of being a full-time wedding photographer. Wow, I can hardly believe it. Four years ago I left my teaching job to travel the world and photograph weddings. And I’ve been lucky enough to photograph over a hundred weddings in that time, and travel to some pretty epic places too. People always ask me to pick a favorite wedding and it’s really hard to choose. This winter I photographed a snowy ceremony on a frozen lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, a beautiful elopement on a cliffside overlooking the ocean in Vik, Iceland, and a big wedding on a mountaintop lodge near Cascade National Park. And this year I’m starting a new photography brand and taking my little camper out west to photograph couples. I couldn’t be more excited. In celebration of four years full-time, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite wedding and landscape shots. Enjoy! Here’s to another awesome wedding season.
Josh Hartman, Travel Wedding Photographer & Rangefinder 30 Rising Star 2016 - Available Worldwide for your Epic Wedding Day Adventure!
These past few months, I’ve really been taking some time to rediscover who I am, where I want to go, and what I want to achieve. The summer solstice was my 6 year anniversary and also the day my divorce was official. And I’ve had a lot of feelings. When you’re splitting a life, a home, and a business, it’s emotional to say the least. And let me just say that I am so grateful for the friends and family that have supported me during this time. Thank you!
I have a very special thanks to my sister Jessica. I have four siblings, but my sister Jessica is my only blood sibling. We’re also closest in age. And maybe it’s the international flights starting when I was 4 and she was 5 that bonded us. Well not initially. From teenagers to early adults, we wanted to rip each other’s heads off. I still have nightmares over those days, but I think we were at each other’s throats so much because we were so similar. For the past ten years, we’ve gotten along great. But in the last 3 years we’ve grown much closer.
[ I should note that Jessica is quite a bit different than me. If you’re curious, we recently completed the 16 personalities test. Jessica: intelligent introvert who marches by the beat of her own drum and logician who thrives in the moment (INTP). Josh: extrovert to the maximum who will risk looking like an idiot for the thrill of feeling alive (ENFP). ]
Now that we’ve both mellowed out in our adulthood, we find ourselves in very similar situations, starting life on the road, building a photography business, and doing whatever the fuck we want. And recently she’s helped me through some very difficult hurdles in my life (and for that I am so grateful). And I’ve been coaching Jessica as well, helping her grow her photography brand Lost Hartman and also teaching her a thing or two about camper life. Actually, that’s not really true. Jessica is sort of in a different class of badassery. She lives in a Honda Element. (It’s like #vanlife, but even cooler.)
Okay, I promise I’m getting to the reason for this blog post, which is named “Independence Day” and has lots of pretty firework pictures I know. But let me first talk about Jessica’s photography. She’s a fly-on-the-wall shooter to the point where she’s invisible, which is a great ninja skill for any candid photographer. She’s also super short, which I know helps too. Anyway, she has this ability to capture raw emotion like nobody’s business. Ooh, she also uses natural light like a champ, has the patience of a saint when photographing kids, and I love how her landscapes emphasizing unique and interesting features that I would totally miss. I should also mention that I recently convinced her to switch from Canon to Fuji, which brings me to those pretty photos in this blog post (shot on Jessica’s Fuji Xt2 and 23mm lens).
This 4th of July was extra special. It marks the last day in our hometown before going off to start our life out west. This has been our goal for quite a few months, but circumstances and a couple family emergencies have prevented us from doing so. But now that the dust has settled and we’ve got all my ducks in a row, we’re finally ready to make the transition. We’re both starting our photography businesses from scratch, although I’m venturing into the world of performance art (with a little photography to pay the bills) and Jessica's Lost Hartman is going from zero to hero fast!
And what a great 4th of July it was! We spent time with our family, I successfully annoyed my niece Kayla and my nephew David, we all ate until our bellies were full, and Jessica and I diaboloed/photographed the night away. If you don’t already know, the diabolo is an incredibly fast moving artform and really difficult to photograph at night. So even though she’s still working on actually catching a diabolo (she’ll get it soon), Jessica certainly captured the diabolo beautifully. In fact, her photos are the first diabolo photos I’ve published and I’ve been doing it for 7 years. Thank you so much for the beautiful photos Jessica.
So enough said. Photos by the very talented Jessica Hartman. On Instagram @losthartman or Facebook.com/losthartman. I also included a few pictures of Jessica on her trusty rusty (colored) Element with her schnauzer sidekick Molly and a TMNT blankie.
Let the adventure begin! See you on the west coast Jessica.
Josh Hartman, Mountain Unicyclist and Diaboloist
I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, but I will say my Electric Forest experience was incredible. Really, that doesn't even sum it up. Electric Forest was a mind boggling, exhausting, visual explosion that will forever be with me. This was my first music festival by the way. I was invited by my newly engaged friends Nikki and Morgan. Congratulations guys! I really wanted to make this festival (the second biggest light show in the nation or something like that) happen because it landed on my 6 year anniversary, also the summer solstice and the day my divorce was official. I've recently found a new independence and what better way to celebrate it? I don't think I slept for more than 5 hours a night diaboloing for 12 hours a day in mud pits next to center stage, dancing my mud caked and cut feet off until 5 in the morning, getting kicked out and escorted off the property for riding a unicycle. (Well, that escalated quickly. Really, it's a unicycle folks). I'm still gathering my thoughts on this festival, but I will tell you that this experience will definitely stick with me. I only took my camera out a little bit (mostly I was focused on experiencing the festival for myself). Here's what I got. :)
Josh Hartman, Travel Photographer
Follow my adventures at instagram.com/halfabike/
"In the past I've cared for myself, but i never had self love. I've been criticized, judged, & told horrible things regarding my appearance. I started to believe the hateful words considering they were coming from the mouths of "friends", my "loving" boyfriend, & family. They damaged my heart and slowly tainted the way i viewed myself. Through some time, I freed myself from toxic people and decided to move forward one moment at a time. Ive reached a point where I'm comfortable in my own skin, loving every fiber of my being how it was designed by the Creator ♡ love you for you~~~~"
- Maryanne, Instagram: @butwhosmaryanne
For me, humor is a prerequisite to any great relationship. If I couldn't laugh, I think I'd go insane. These two definitely made me crack up a few times with their playful antics. I can tell they really love each other. And I am so grateful I was able to capture them in this beautiful abandoned home in Gainesville, FL. I almost fell through the ceiling doing so, but that's besides the point.
Josh Hartman, Travel Photographer
She's from France. She came to the states for work, but lost her job. She was homeless, but was taken in by friends. And this is the last day before she has to go back home.
On Valentines Day of this year, my ex-wife and I climbed up Zabriskie Point for a sunrise stroll. We took some of the most beautiful photos I've ever taken. And it truly was a beautiful experience.
That night we had our brakes go out while going down a long and steep grade in Death Valley, in the middle of the night, with no cell phone reception. Yeah, it was scary. And this was something that would have normally caused us great anxiety (before moving into the camper). But after living on the road for a year and driving over 60,000 miles, we were seasoned pros and we handled it like champs. First we switched drivers and rolled down the windows to check for smoke. "OMG, it's smoking! Pull over!" We then got out of the truck, I have a mini panic attack and exclaim, "I'm in panic mode. I'm in panic mode!" I say weird things when my adrenaline hits me. Then I grab the fire extinguisher and expel our now burning tire. We decide to camp there for the night. The next morning we go for a little sunrise hike and we're off to the races again.
People are often surprised about the matter of fact way I talk about Shelley. But I'm at a point right now when I don't feel like I need to be regretful over my past experiences. I honestly wouldn't change anything about my past because in that moment, it was right. And all those experiences have brought me to where I am now. And right now I am content. I am strong. And I am happy.
Lately, I try not to give advice. I believe in learning on your own the hard way. But if I were to offer the world just one piece of advice, it would be don't sweat the small stuff (and it's all small stuff). And get rid of all the distractions so that you can focus on the beauty right in front of you.
Josh Hartman - Mountain Unicyclist and Photographer
A big reason why I decided to move into a camper was to travel the country. This is one my favorite things about tiny living. Being able to wake up and move my house anywhere.
But I also went small for another reason, to move away from the expenses that traditional living brings. I was working hard in a business and yet I saw my modest income being spent on taxes, mortgage, and bills. None of these things were bringing me happiness (especially taxes😳).
That has gradually changed since moving into our camper. I pay for campgrounds unless I stay with family and friends. I am also finding other ways to be thrifty. Solar panels for one save us $30 a night. (It also means more flexibility in where I can park my camper.) When moving into the camper, I also decided to become my own own marketer. Now, I no longer pay to advertise. Not one cent. And I'm proud to say that I am debt free this year. Three years ago I cut up my credit cards and I’ve never looked back.
I know this post is a lot about money. But the truth is that money buys choices. And even with a modest income like mine, anyone can decide to live for yourself and pursue your dreams. Go for it!
-Josh Hartman, Mountain Unicyclist & Travel Photographer
Morgan and Kitty posted the uncensored version of this image, one of my favorite shots from this week. It was promptly removed by the Facebook police. :(
Two women sharing their love in a hammock.
I generally try to stay positive. But if you find intimacy or the human body offensive, please don't follow me because I actually find your attitude about the human body a bit offensive. Nudity is about confidence, empowerment, and being yourself. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
And just in case you're curious what a nude bash looks like, I've included a few of my fav uncensored shots below. :)
Josh Hartman, Naked Unicyclist and Travel Photographer
If you find yourself surrounded by naysayers, maybe it's time to find a different circle. I truly believe that you are the average of the 5 people closest to you. Surround yourself with success, and you will find it. Surround yourself with negativity, and that's what you'll have. The best thing you can do is pop your social bubble until you find that group of people that support you and are excited for your happiness. And once you find those people, never let them leave you.
Josh Hartman, Mountain Unicyclist & Travel Photographer
Mother's Day is about gratitude. It's saying thanks and spending time with the person who gave you the greatest gift of life. Let's all find a little quality time with our moms today, whether it's an hour phone call, going out to dinner, or a little walk.
I hope you enjoy these intimate portraits of moms and their little ones. I captured them at the last naked bash and they are some of my all time favorites.
Have a great day and happy mother's day!
Josh Hartman - Mountain Unicyclist and Travel Photographer
“It is a delicate ballet that is like skating and flying and you are always on the edge of failure as you ride the line of success.” -Unknown
Before my career as a photographer, I taught second grade. (Yes, believe it or not, I was in charge of a classroom of eight year olds.) Teachers know that failure is just part of the learning process. In my classroom, I invited my students to take risks and to fail everyday in my classroom. And I’d demonstrate to my students that even grownups fail. I rode my unicycle to school everyday. I told my students that every time I got on I knew I was coming off one of two ways, walking or falling. More often than not it was the latter and they got to see that firsthand when I performed in class. Students even had the chance to fall for themselves.
I just ended a 15 year relationship. I will tell you that most of my ideas are pretty out there. Three of the business ventures I started were a complete flop. 90% of the photos I take as a photographer are not deliverable to my clients. And nearly every time I get on my unicycle I fall off. I fail. All the time. Everybody fails. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and fail better.
Josh Hartman – Mountain Unicyclist and Photographer
Follow my adventures @halfabike on instagram
I just can't stop thinking about this last Fearless workshop. Thank you Huy for continuing to bring inspiration into my life and also showing me a really good time. And thank you to Katie Merkle, Monica Muñoz, Marius Barbulescu, and all the other incredible speakers.
And after the Rangefinder pick, I feel even more confident in my skills and super motivated to go pick up a camera and get into people's faces.
😜 In fact, this weekend I photographed naked people (while I was naked). Yeah, we had lots of fun. We "hung out" in the hot tub, tanned our buns by the lake, and partied every night beating on tribal drums around the campfire. These are things I never would have had the confidence to do a month ago.
My adventures these last few weeks at the Fearless Photographers in Charleston, the Tiny House Festival in St. Augustine, and the Florida Young Naturists have really changed me. I'm more comfortable in my own skin (quite literally).
If this makes you uncomfortable, I respect that. I will not be offended if you choose to unfriend me. "Butt" if you are comfortable with naked buns and boobies, stick around. These are some of my favorite photos I've taken this year and I look forward to sharing them with you.
(Side note: Signed written consent was giving by all of my subjects. More to come.)
Josh Hartman, Mountain Unicyclist & Travel Photographer
When is the last time you took a yoga class? Went out with your friends? Or took pictures by yourself outside? We are taught to feel guilty about spending time on ourselves. So many family obligations. So many errands to run. And life gets away from you.
But what if you treated yourself to a moment. A commitment of 20 minutes. A time when you don't have to worry about a thing. Wouldn't it be great to take a stroll with a friend, not run to your car because you're late? Wouldn't it be awesome to ditch a commitment so that you can make time to revisit that hobby you love? Call me crazy, but what if you walked away from everything negative in your life and pursued that crazy dream?
I've been very very lucky. I've had a surplus of time for a while now. My photography business and self-sufficient home have gifted me with that. And driving over 50,000 miles in 18 months has given me lots of time to reflect. But right now I am going through some challenges. I chose to end a 15 year relationship. I am no longer a part of a business that I helped grow. I'm without a portfolio. I don't have a single booking on the calendar. And I'm starting to reach my burnout point with moving around so much on the road.
That said, hitting the reset button on my life was the best decision I've ever made. My life has never been more open-ended.
Tonight I'm packing my bags and leaving the Casita in Vegas. Tomorrow morning I'm not driving, but flying, to my family in Chicago. I plan to spend so much time with my family that I get sick of them and also unicycle every square inch of the city. From there, I'm flying to Florida, going to my first music festival since I was a kid and partying naked with friends. Then it's off to sunny San Diego and lots more unicycling. And after that I plan to come back to Vegas and rechristen my camper before spending the summer exploring out west. By the way, I'm going to do this all on a shoestring budget while building up the most kickass photography brand known to man. Thank you so much for following my adventures. They are definitely not over yet. -Josh
“Many Americans that get caught up in the lie called the American Dream do exactly this: they work to buy then die. This is also known as the deferred life plan; where you attend school and work for the first 40 years of your adult life so you can live when you retire at age 60 or later. Many that follow this plan end up with broken marriages, alienated children, crushed dreams, boredom, obesity, poor health, and a house to sleep away the pain in and further propagate the nightmare. Why does this happen? Because we are taught that we cannot live unless we have a house to do it in. Nonsense! Not everyone needs a house. Even those who want a house now, will at many times in their life wish they did not have it, and could instead do something else with their life.”
― Jason Odom, Vanabode
Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun. -Josh Hartman, Travel Photographer
Okay, I love old photos. And this first one's a couple years old, but it means a lot to me.
I was unicycling the muddy streets of Viscri, Romania. This is a place where Prince Charles owns property, but you wouldn't know it by looking at it. Modest homes, no running water, and families of 10 living together in a very small house.
And this boy was trying his best to keep up, mostly pushing his bike through the muddy streets. His family's one bike had two flat tires, a rusty chain, and a broken seat. I traded my unicycle for his bike and I literally could not pedal it. But despite his rusty old bike, this kid was just happy to be out "riding" with me.
The difference between a tourist and a local: A tourist comes for a day. A local comes for a day and never leaves.
Pro Tip: Don't be a tourist. Stay awhile. And then come back for another visit if you like. So far, here's our "Must See Again" list: Iceland, the Monarchs in Mexico, Fes Morocco, Sedona Arizona, Grand Tetons, and Romania. Oh yeah, and on our next trips we just print a little book with pictures from the last trip and tell them how much you love their country. Better yet, print them and give them away. Plus, knowing those awesome photography spots takes lots of time and getting to know your community (not something that can usually be accomplished in one trip).
So if you're a photographer trying to market for travel, come for a visit, stay awhile, and come back. Best marketing advice I've got.
My yoga journey started in January 2016. I began practicing each morning and I was amazed how a little yoga workout could have such a positive impact on my day. I saw tremendous improvements in my mobility and strength. And to my surprise, I actually became a calmer after just a couple months.
I continued practicing through March, but then things got a little busy with traveling and photography. So I took a day off yoga...then another...and eventually I fell off the wagon completely.
But this summer I found myself in less than peak condition. (I blame the beer.) And so I started doing 60-90 minutes of yoga each morning. I committed to doing yoga everyday for a week. Again, I began to feel healthier and happier in a very short period. After a couple weeks, my practice was getting stronger and I wanted to keep the momentum going. What would happen if I did yoga for a month straight?
Well, today marks 100 days of yoga. And all this yoga really has me convinced that it is the best workout. Period. I've never felt better in my life. I found an interesting quote that I think sums up my experience.
"Usually there's about a three-month love affair with yoga. 'I feel so good.' After about two months of practice, people think they are practically enlightened. Then usually around the third month, something happens and the yoga actually starts to work. And the first thing the ego structure does is to look for an escape route. People start heading for the door just at the moment when they should stay." ~ Richard Freeman
Thanks for reading.
Josh Hartman, Mountain Unicyclist & Travel Photographer