WARPED TOUR 2018 // MAYDAY PARADE

Warped Tour started in 1995 and is traveling around the country for the last time during the summer of 2018. The tour has been a catalyst for so many band's careers as well as an outlet for people who love punk, pop punk, post-hardcore, and other genres of music. Warped Tour gave spotlight to bands like Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Katy Perry, and Mayday Parade. The tour grew to attract over 750,000 attendees nationwide and is the longest running annual national music festival. It has had a very strong run.

I was able to spend the day with my old friends in Mayday Parade at the Nashville, Tennessee date. When I first arrived I noticed there were two parking lots for buses. I went to the one that was closest to me. After walking around a bit I realized this was a lot for production vehicles instead of the bus parking for the bands. I saw a man sitting outside of a bus under a tent using his laptop. So, I asked for directions to the other buses and he told me. Remember this man... 

I had not seen some of the Mayday guys in a few years. I tend to see Brooks and Derek more since they're still living in Tallahassee. Derek had recently played an acoustic set at my studio in Georgia as well. So, it was great catching up with everyone. As usual, the band put on a stellar performance to a large and energetic crowd. Even though I have never been a part of the entire national Warped Tour it did feel a bit strange throughout the day knowing that this would be the last time I will ever go to Warped Tour. It has been a summer tradition for many years for me.

After the Mayday's set I ended up walking around with their manager Josh Terry. We ended up back at the production parking lot. Josh approached the same gentleman I had asked directions from earlier. They shook hands and began talking. I noticed the man's walkie talkie had the name "Kevin Lyman" written in black on yellow tape. Kevin Lyman is the man who invented and started Warped Tour. I had never been able to meet him until that day. So, it was cool to meet the founder of Warped Tour on the very last year of it. 

 

2017 // 2018

I never made an attempt at some sort of end-of-the-year summary for 2017 as many of my counterparts did. Here it is, over half way through 2018 and this is my first effort at getting back into blog posts. I haven't created a new post since September of last year. Sure, there were many experiences that yielded opportunities to write. Traveling, photography, business, creativity, ideas, heartbreak, Spirituality, and renewal are some of the things that come to the forefront of my mind. I'll try to be brief as I catch those interested up-to-speed with what I have been up to the past few months.

SUMMARY OF 2017
2017 took me to 37 different states. 

I launched an entirely different photography and video brand for weddings named Passenger Atlas.

I photographed over 130 shoots (not counting days while on tour).

I toured the nation photographing Less Than Jake, Kash'd Out, Pepper, Red City Radio, Brightside, We The Kings, Cute Is What We Aim For, Stages and Stereos, Rookie of the Year, and Ashland

I photographed Grammy award winning artist Yonrico Scott, formerly of The Derek Trucks Band.

I was published in THOM Magazine, Rovers Magazine, Good Grit Magazine, Clutch Magazine, and Blues Magazine

I photographed an ostrich skin leather vest by The Row (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) that was valued at $35,000 list price. 

I loved deeply and genuinely. I lost love profoundly. The world that I thought was permanent fell apart completely and the trajectory of my life took a nosedive. I will not be sharing any specific details in the blog post. I decided to take a serious look at myself in the aftermath of everything. Feelings of heartache, worry, betrayal, anger, and uncertainty all but consumed me. I made some terrible mistakes, too. My drive for creativity was eroding. My shrewdness for business was diminishing. My faith and hope in love was damaged. I needed help. I had never been to formal counseling in my life until November of 2017. It ended up helping me a lot. My family and true friends have been an invaluable source of encouragement and support. They are a blessing. There is always Peace to be found in the midst of chaos. Also, I can still affirm that God is real and working in my life.

I was grateful to get away from Georgia when my family announced we would be spending Christmas in Nashville, Tennessee. My mother's family is originally from Nashville. As I grew up my family would travel to Nashville for the Holidays or during the summer for vacation. It has always been a second home for me. While I was in town I did some thinking and took several afternoon drives around town. I enjoyed the time with my family, too. 

2018 TO PRESENT
2018 started out pretty randomly for me. I was standing in the corner of JP Fitzgerald's on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York watching an Irish folk band complete with kilts and bagpipes when the clock struck midnight. The entire room had already erupted with joy and celebration five hours before midnight when Dublin, Ireland ushered in the New Year. The Buffalo Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins to make their way to an NFL playoff appearance for the first time since 1999. It snowed a lot while I was in Buffalo as it usually does. And it was cold, bitterly cold. While in New York I had some good talks with my friends Taylor and Trey over wings and locally brewed beer. Both of them live in Nashville, TN and the offer was extended to me that I could move in with them in the Spring. It was decided… I would move to Nashville in April.

On February 24, 2018 I hosted what I considered to be the "last show" at my photography studio in Tifton, Georgia. I have hosted nights of original acoustic music and handmade arts and crafts for a decade at my studio in downtown Tifton. I wanted the last show to be one to remember. Erica Bitting, Brightside, Kade Williamson, Stephen Carey, Derrick Dove, Staged and Stereos, and Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade all played music that night. Luke Sadler, Katie Dickens, Spencer Young, and myself displayed visual art. I had spent a week taping almost every single print I had at my studio to the wall to create a massive display of my photography work. 

When the night started I shared a story with the crowd over the microphone. A few nights prior I had a dream. I was standing in the middle of the desert next to an old, abandoned truck. A set of railroad tracks was nearby. Suddenly an old passenger train rushed by on the tracks with a loud noise. Once it quieted down after the train's passing the wind started to blow gently. I turned to survey the area surrounding me. Someone was with me. A photographer had been standing behind me. I acknowledged them with a nod. The photographer held up their camera and asked if they could take my picture. I nodded again. They raised the camera up slowly and I began to smile on impulse. The camera met the photographer's eye. I felt something falling out of my mouth. My teeth were falling out! The photographer started counting "One - Two - Three". Just before the camera snapped I had stretched my mouth very wide to offer the best and biggest smile possible. The camera clicked and the very last tooth fell out of my mouth and landed in the sand. I told the crowd how weird I felt in that moment. I felt insecure and uncomfortable. I then said to them, "We all have moments in our life of fear and insecurity. And it's okay to feel uncomfortable. We have to keep on smiling even if our teeth are falling out. No matter what happens, just know that you can always choose joy."

Over 175 people came to the show at my tiny little photography studio. The structure was built in 1907 and I'm pretty sure that's the most people to have ever been inside the building at one time. People came out of the woodwork to see Derek Sanders play in such an intimate setting. Two reporters covered the event. One story ended up on the front page of my hometown newspaper. I was an emotional and nervous wreck that night. It was bittersweet but I could not have been more pleased, honored, and blessed.

Since April I have been splitting my months into thirds roughly. 1/3 of the time I am in Nashville, Tennessee. Another 1/3 I am in Tifton, Georgia. The remaining 1/3 I am traveling to-and-fro for photography and personal enjoyment. I am still not exactly sure what I am doing or where I will end up long term. I do know that I am experiencing a sense of renewal and new direction in life. I have also landed some cool work with bands, magazines, and portraits. Rolling Stone even picked up one of my photos.

I also decided to try and keep the doors of my photography studio open. I had the idea to start offering the building as a rental space for creatives. My hope is to attract local photographers, artists, other creatives, and as event space. The future is wide open!

To everyone who has ever cared about my photography or about me as a person I just want to say… Thank you. And thank you for reading. 

-Daniel C. Shippey


The first set of photos were taken by me using my FujiFilm X-T1 and 35mm 1.4 lens exclusively.

Pictured below: 
• Sonoran Desert near Calexico, California
• Less Than Jake (Santa Ana, California)
• Clemson University Botanical Garden
• Pepper (Scottsdale, Arizona)
• Street scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Group photo of Ashland, Stages and Stereos, and Rookie of the Year (New York City)
• Wedding venue in Konnarock, Virginia with Mount Rogers in the background
• Niagara Falls, New York with snow and ice

Show flyer for the Acoustic + Art Show at my photography studio in Tifton, GA.
February 24, 2018

Photos below were taken at the acoustic show by Matthew Zagorski.

Photos below were taken at the acoustic show by Scott Strickland

 

COLORADO // AUGUST 2017

Colorado is beautiful. Period. Granted, most people don't account for about half of the state being high plains. A vast undulating landscape stretches out across the horizon like a sheet on a giant's bed in Eastern Colorado. Most people think of the Rocky Mountains or Denver when Colorado comes to mind. I have visited Colorado at least 10 times in my life but never had much of an opportunity to explore freely. I've been here mostly on tours with bands, driving tour vehicles, passing through on cross-country road trips with friends, or simply touching down at the Denver airport for a few hours between flights. I was glad for the experience of this adventure. 

I should really be writing this blog post for my wedding photo/video brand but I wanted this to be more about the experience than the work. Here's the groundwork that lead to our trip:

Passenger Atlas, our wedding brand, booked a wedding in South Georgia early in 2017 for November. Over the summer the client called me with some news, "We're cancelling our wedding..." My heart sunk a little bit but immediately perked back up when they said "...and now we're eloping in Colorado!" So, after readjusting everything me, Nella, and Robbie flew out to Colorado for the wedding in Estes Park. The wedding turned out great and I hope to post the gallery soon on Passenger Atlas. Enough about the work! We booked EXTRA days in Colorado just to hang out and see stuff!

After arriving in Denver we started west in our rental car. Home base was the town of Dillon. Smack dab in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Dillon is home to the Dillon Reservoir. The 3,200 acre lake is a water supply reservoir for the city of Denver. Nearby to Dillon are the resort towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, and Vail. Our AirBnB was situated on a steep slope that offered a great view of the mountains in the distance. It was a gorgeous place to be.

We shot the wedding on Saturday in Estes Park. Sunday we explored Vail, Breckenridge, Frisco, and the Dillon Reservoir. Walking around the Vail Farmers' Market was interesting. The vendors were artisan and unique. We had some delicious Spanish Paella from a street vendor. Local cheese, wines, crafts, woodworks, and of course produce were on display and for purchase. Ski slopes were visible from virtually everywhere in Vail, Frisco, and Breckenridge. I have always wanted to ski in Colorado.

The highlight of our trip was Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a great breakfast Monday morning at the Log Cabin Cafe in Frisco before starting our drive. I ate my entire plate of Eggs Benedict and was glad for it later on in the day. It's a good idea to bring along some snacks and water bottles when visiting a national park. I knew this park was going to have some big mountains and amazing landscapes but I never really know what to expect until I get there. And once you're there it's hard to take it all in. Being there is important, I think, when visiting special places. 

We approached the park from the west on US-34 coming out of Grand Lake. It was dreary day and I had done my best to accept the fact that many of the views would be obscured by clouds. I also realized that the rain and clouds would make for an interesting experience. It was cold and damp out on the mountains and the mist lingered on my clothes. Clouds were passing right in front of me as I walked among tall trees and even taller mountains. Everything was dark, green, and moody. I loved it. 

Trail Ridge Road ventures through the park from Grand Lake in the west to Estes Park in the east. The road runs for about 50 miles through some of the most unique terrain in America. Trail Ridge Road has the distinction of being the highest continually paved road in North America topping out at over 12,100 feet above sea level. Climbing the winding road provided genuine geological display everywhere we looked. We crossed the Continental Divide at Milner Pass, saw elk grazing in meadows, and rain drops falling on the surface of alpine lakes. A good stretch of the road is above the timberline. The trees grew shorter and shorter until they finally gave way to rocky tundra. Snow is on the ground year round at this elevation in places. Even though it was August, the temperature outside was in the 30s and it made me wish I had dressed warmer. 

Bear Lake is a clear alpine lake. The fog on the lake's surface, the dramatic peaks rising in the background, and tall evergreens all around created a surreal atmosphere. It was quiet except for our footsteps and faint raindrops landing. Evidence of time and changing landforms are everywhere. Glacial activity carved out Bear Lake and others in the area. Glaciers left behind moraines throughout the park over great periods of time. A few very small glaciers still remain in the park to this day. Bear Lake Coordinates: 40.31324°N 105.648222°W

I'm already wanting to plan another trip to RMNP. I recently bought a nice tent by MSR and haven't been able to use it yet. Camping in the Rockies in late summer would be incredible. Maybe next time! 

-Daniel
 

 

WEST VIRGINIA // OHIO // KENTUCKY — SPRING 2017

West Virginia is one of my favorite states. To me it is a land of wild and wonderful yet obscure places. I grew up going snow skiing in WV at resorts like Snowshoe and Winterplace. In August of 2015 Nella and I stayed at an Airbnb in Beckley, WV in order to do three photo shoots. We enjoyed it so much we decided to go back and see more of the state and surrounding areas! On this trip we stayed in Parkersburg and Huntington and took day trips to Marietta, Ohio; Ashland, KY; Buckhannon, WV; Point Pleasant, WV; and visited Valley Falls State Park as well as Audra State Park

MAY 10-11: The very first thing we did after leaving home was take in an awesome acoustic set by Joe Purdy in Atlanta. The next day was spent driving through GA, SC, NC, VA, and WV to Parkersburg. We both slept hard that night after the long drive. 

MAY 12: On our first full day in West Virginia we actually decided to go to another state to see the sites in Marietta, Ohio. It was an overcast, cool day with occasional brief and sprinkling rainfall. In spite of the dreary day the air wasn't particularly muggy or think like it is in Georgia this time of year. In fact, the high temperature for the day was in the 60s. I've always been fascinated with the Ohio River Valley so I was excited to explore a new town. Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory and was founded in 1788 by officers of the Revolutionary War who were given land grants for their military service. We drove around the beautiful little downtown and eventually stumbled upon a quaint cemetery at the top of a hill that formed a square surrounded by historic homes. At the center of this cemetery is an ancient Native American burial mound known as Conus and was estimated by archaeologists to have been built between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D. We were not expecting to find this so we decided to explore and take the stairs to the top of the mound. The view was largely shrouded by the tall, old trees in the cemetery but it was none-the-less a great view of the surrounding land. We also located a plot of Revolutionary War veterans. Before leaving Marietta, Nella and I stopped by Jeremiah's Coffee House and it was pretty awesome. 

MAY 13: We decided to take a jaunt over to the central part of West Virginia to do some hiking at two state parks. Again, it was a cool and overcast day. I decided to take my Yashica Mat-124 G twin-lens camera along with me on the trails. I don't develop my film very often and have about 5 rolls sitting around my studio — So, I often take a through-the-lens photo to have something more immediate than the physical print. Being out in the hills, walking along rivers and waterfalls with Nella was amazing. We saw some pretty interested sites as we moved on from the parks as well. We came across something known as the "Pringle Tree" near Buckhannon, WV. Two brothers, John and Samuel Pringle, once lived in a hollowed out sycamore tree for the better part of three years starting in 1764. They eventually founded the first permanent settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. Nella and I got to see the third generation sycamore that occupies the same spot and it too is a hollow tree. We continued on to Buckhannon, WV and discovered that the West Virginia Strawberry Festival was going on! Honestly, it wasn't any spectacular but it was nice and we could tell it meant a lot to the little town. We had the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries and also purchased some strawberry syrup for my mother.

MAY 14: After breakfast at Tim Horton's we left Parkersburg, WV and crossed over the Ohio River. Hugging the river we traveled down Ohio State Route 7 through Pomeroy and Gallipolis before crossing into Huntington, WV. Nella discovered something interesting on the Internet — Camden Park. Founded in 1903, Camden Park is one of the oldest amusement parks still in operation. Walking around this obscure yet popular local fun park was a genuine treat for Americana-Kitsch enthusiasts like myself. As soon as I walked in I couldn't stop smiling. I wasn't sure if it was because I had found the epicenter of working class America, if it was because I has been essentially taken back in time, or both. We took a ride on a 64 year old  roller coaster complete with chipped paint and semi-rotten wood. We also got our bones rattled on a ride called the "The Whip". Camden Park has a legit carousel and twister ride called the paratrooper as well. We got raspberry slushes and walked around taking it all in. Being at Camden Park feels like you're watching a 90s movie set in the 1960s. 

MAY 15: Our hotel was in Ashland, Kentucky but only because we found a mega cheap hotel there. I think it was $47 per night with tax included. Ashland was a starting point for our next set of adventures. We drove up through Ohio and stopped by the tiny town of Rio Grande, the home of Bob Evan's. Imagine a restaurant like IHOP, Denny's, Cracker Barrel, and Shoney's crammed all into one and you'd have Bob Evan's. At the farms in Rio Grande we briefly tour THE Bob Evan's homestead and museum dedicated to his entrepreneurial spirit.

After that we continued on to Point Pleasant, West Virginia. This town is home to one of America's greatest modern folkloric tales and pop culture elements. Referenced on TV shows, fireside ghost stories, and even a movie starring Richard Gere called The Mothman Prophecies. You should read up on the real legend on your own time but a brief description is in order: Point Pleasant is a small town on the Ohio River that was the location of the Mothman sitings and influence. Many of the town's people claimed to see a large creature resembling a human except it had moth-like wings and red eyes. It terrified the community from 1966 to 1967. During this time hundreds had various experiences ranging from sitings of the creature, UFOs, strange military personnel, premonitions of doom, individuals experiencing unusual emotional stress, and other strange phenomenon. The culmination of events occurred on December 15, 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed killing 46 people. Some people in the area claim to have had precognitions of the bridge's collapse. All-in-all it's a very weird account! We thoroughly enjoyed touring the roadside attraction known as the Mothman Museum as well as the Mothman statue in downtown. We even went to the old "TNT" area north of town to explore the military weapons storage igloos dating from WWII. Supposedly Mothman was sited in the vicinity many times. 

Out of Point Pleasant we headed south along West Virginia Route 2 hugging the banks of the Ohio River. Outside of Huntington we stopped at another kitschy road-side attraction called Hillbilly Hot Dogs. I absolutely love hot dogs. I tried the Harrison Dog which comes with "hot dog sauce", nacho cheese, sautéed onions, sour cream, and bacon bits. It was insane but good. The attraction to the place is all of the stuff they've collected over the years. Old school buses, cars, strange little artifacts of yesteryear which lost their purpose long ago. They even have a Hillbilly wedding chapel. It was quite the experience.

MAY 16: Once we got to Beckley, WV I had two shoots. One was a video shoot for a friend named Ryan Smith whom I met in 2014 when I photographed his band. This go 'round he wanted a video of him playing acoustic songs to present to venues for booking purposes. His style is traditional mountain finger-picking. His goal is to play more shows at local festivals, music venues, and even churches. The other shoot I did was for Emmalea Deal, whom I had also worked with in the past. After the shoots, Nella and I had dinner that night at Poncho & Lefty's, a Baja style taco restaurant in West Virginia. 

MAY 17: It was time make the long drove home. Me and Nella ended up stopped in Asheville, NC for dinner as well as exploring some other things we spotted along our drive home. It was wonderful trip!

-Daniel

 

CAIRO, ILLINOIS — SUMMER 2015

Cairo, Illinois is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Locals in Southern Illinois refer to the region as "Little Egypt". With a turbulent history, Cairo is one of the most interesting small towns in America that I have visited. 

The city's population peaked in the 1910s. Though the city's infrastructure was built for around 20,000 people, less than 2,600 live there today. Once a bustling river town and center of transportation, economic depression struck the city over half a century ago — Cairo never recovered. Racial tensions, economic decline, floods, and changes in river transportation were all factors to the city's entropy. Today it is essentially a ghost town with a few roads passing through. The Lewis and Clark expedition also passed through what was to become Cairo in the year 1803. 

I have been to Cairo on a number of occasions. The first time was in 2008 with my brother, Philip. The photos in this blog post were taken in the summer of 2015 with my girlfriend, Nella. The city has changed considerably in some ways but hardly at all in others. For instance, when my brother and I visited the first time, it was as if we were in a bombed-out, war-torn city. Buildings had collapsed into the street, empty bottles littered the entrances to abandoned buildings, and stray dogs roamed the streets. I visited in 2008, 2011, 2015, and 2016. I discovered on each trip that a little more of the town was gone. When I arrived in 2015 the majority of the downtown area had been demolished since my first visit in 2008. I would say 85% of what I saw in 2008 was gone eight years later — And who knows how much had already been torn down before '08. The city does look cleaner now. There are more vacant lots but at least the rubble in the streets had been removed. I am not sure why more was not done for the city as it floundered. I suppose there just wasn't enough interested or funds to do anything before it was too late. It's upsetting that Cairo has essentially lost its entire historic downtown.

Each visit to the near-ghost town leaves me with thoughts about the lives of the people who once inhabited the city, as well as those who still call it home. For me, the atmosphere is thick with a lingering residue of depression, racial tension, floods, and all of the hardships the community has endured. I am hopeful for the future of Cairo.