If the thought of piling into a car and taking a road trip with your family brings back mixed memories from your childhood, you’ll be able to relate to this Shoestring Warrior. Meet Shoestring Adventures Triptographer and Content Manager Stepfanie Aguilar. Her love for the outdoors didn’t quite begin with the family road trips she took as a child. Like many other kids, she preferred to watch tv or play video games. It wasn’t until after college that she began to explore the outdoors.
I sought what was close to me, and started to appreciate the wilderness and the towns around it.
Lucky for us, she’s a storyteller and her appreciation for nature comes across in her photos. We’re delighted to have Stepfanie on the team as a Triptographer! She enjoys photographing people in landscapes and gives some sage advice to aspiring outdoor photographers. I’ll give you a hint; the magic lies in observation. Keep reading to learn more and then check out her photos on Instagram and her website.
San Miguel Bulacan, Philippines
Lancaster & Los Angeles
What are your passions outside of work?
I like learning about different types of crafts in storytelling, whether that is through photography or audio stories. I’ve been into photography and writing ever since I was a teenager. Now I’m looking to experiment with audio and video storytelling. Although I like planning my trips, I also really love spontaneous trips, especially out into nature or a city I’ve never been before.
Tell us about yourself!
As a kid, I resisted sightseeing and going to parks with my parents. I couldn’t comprehend why they liked going. I felt uncomfortable cramped in the car with my other siblings on these road trips. We didn’t go camping. I don’t think we did much hiking either. It was usually just a day trip taking pictures. I liked playing outside, but I would prefer to play video games or watch TV all day. It wasn’t until after college that I started seeking the outdoors. I realized that my circumstances at the time wouldn’t make it possible for me to go abroad for long-term traveling. I sought what was close to me, and started to appreciate the wilderness and the towns around it.
What are you most looking forward to as you embark on your journey as a Triptographer for Shoestring Adventures?
Can’t wait to be in the outdoors with other people who want to explore!
I’ve been feeling a lot of positive vibes in the outdoor community.
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
Probably in the range of intermediate to advanced. There’s always more to learn.
What is your biggest takeaway from the Sierra Club Wilderness Travel course you completed?
Ah! So many! One of them would be: is that it’s ok to turn back if you don’t reach the summit or your camp.
The goal is to come back home safely.
When did you first discover your love for photography?
I took a film photography class in high school. I liked seeing my imagination come into actual visuals (thanks, sis for being my model). I think what also inspired me to take this class was all the amazing portrait and landscape photographs I kept seeing on DeviantArt. I was digging surreal portraits and photo manipulation.
People, animals, landscapes, inanimate objects, which do you prefer to shoot and why?
I prefer people in landscapes.
I like to see the human scale and landscapes are so beautiful to me.
Lately though, I’ve been wanting to try portrait photography again.
Which photographers or artists inspire you the most?
Jingna Zhang, Brooke Shaden (I’ve followed them since DeviantArt)
Where was your most favorite photo assignment and why did you enjoy it so much?
I don’t have favorite assignments, but there have been ones that I appreciated a lot. For example, I liked photographing the Solar Living Institute in Northern California for Hipcamp. It felt peaceful, calm, and I took my time. I was going on a self-tour around their campus and learned about sustainable living and adobe homes.
What advice do you have for aspiring outdoor photographers?
It’s easy to get lost in taking photos while you’re in the outdoors especially when you want to capture all of its beauty. I understand that it’s hard to stop. However, I’m finding that I remember the best moments when I’m not too focused on getting a good number of snapshots of the same scene.
Observe it for awhile, and then snap.
Where’s your next adventure?
I’ll be in Joshua Tree for a road trip project (I’ll be revealing more details soon). I’m hoping to do some hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains after.
The perfect s’more? (if you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
Photos © 2018 Stepfanie Aguilar