Adventure photographer Daniel Colvin checks in from the Arctic Circle

The spirit of adventure that we search for in our everyday lives is part of the Ace Rivington brand DNA.  Wether your day takes you to Antarctica or to your local coffee shop…our goal as a brand is to both inspire you with great product, and to help you dream about your next departure.
Recently Daniel Colvin checked in with us from the Arctic Circle (in a moment of wifi access) to share a bit of his story, and what inspires him.  
AR: What inspired you to get into your business?
DC: Photography really caught me off guard.  I was 15 when I first started toying around with a camera, and within 6 months I was obsessed; it was the first activity I’d experienced that perfectly merged my long loves of art and technology.  Within a year I bought my first ‘serious’ camera, quit my job as a grocery store clerk, and began pursuing photography as a profession.  At the time I was most interested in landscape and nature photography, but I soon developed a deeply rooted desire to document the human experience.  My strongest drive has always been to capture the variety of the world and the experiences of people: joy, romance, community, even adventure.  That inspired me to start my business in high school, serving the families in the small community of Magnolia, Texas where I grew up.  I have now worked as a full time photographer for 9 years, currently split between wedding photojournalism and alternative travel photography.  
AR:  What is your favorite motto?
DC: It’s absolutely cheating, but since this is travel themed, I’m going to include these two mantras that have inspired me countless times on the road:  
First, the classic yet controversial “fake it ‘til you make it”.  People may think this encourages them to be a fraud, but that’s missing the point.  There have been so many times in travel and business where I’ve felt buried in analysis and questions, but still had to persevere with confidence as if I positively knew the outcome. Some of my favorite memories have come from situations where I had no idea what I was doing, like landing in Cambodia at 10pm with a small backpack, no reservations, and no plans aside from surviving for 6 weeks (I ended up eating tarantulas, wrecking a motorcycle for the first time,  bathing with elephants, studying Muay Thai, and playing with grown tigers…so it worked out).  It’s not a perfect motto by any means, but I think most of us just need that slight push of reason, or even against reason, to tell us that we can do just about anything if we confidently make a few first steps.  
My second to mention is borrowed from Rolf Potts, one of my favorite travel authors.  He suggests, “If in doubt, walk in one direction until your day becomes interesting”.  It sounds simple enough, but in practice it’s quite powerful, as it addresses far more than simply walking.  Most travelers have a hard time balancing the importance of what they want to do with the flexibility needed to embrace unplanned experiences, and this has proven to be an incredible way of approaching it for me.
AR:  What is your favorite destination to travel to?
DC: Picking a single favorite is pretty impossible, but if I were to choose to go somewhere again it would easily be Antarctica - it’s another world. 
AR:  What’s on your bucket list of where you still want to go?  Why?   
DC: My bucket list of travel destinations is essentially just “all of them”, but there are a few that I’ve always romanticized, as if I’m saving them for a rainy day: Italy, Tibet, the Pacific Northwest, and Ireland.  In my mind, Italy has always been the pinnacle of European culture in one place, from the food to the architecture to the style to the history.  I’ve put off the typical European hot-spots for years, so Italy has especially been tugging at me lately.  For Tibet, that region has long been hidden under a shroud of mystery to me, and the combination of Himalayan landscapes and the difficulty in traveling there have made it seem even more enticing.  I love ancient Asian history and culture, and just want to be swept away in the epic scale of it all.  The Northwest (namely in Oregon, Washington state, and some of Canada) is usually floating near the top of my list, almost due to guilt, as most of my travel yearnings are out of the country.  Of all the states and their locales, the moody richness of that region’s landscapes have always drawn me: the firs, the morning mists, the cliffs and coasts…I know I will fall in love, so I’ve largely put it off out of fear of wanting to move there. And lastly, Ireland.  I’m not strictly Irish, but there are Irish and Scots in my family tree, and I have always felt deeply connected to that area, almost as if it’s my homeland.  I can’t count how many times I’ve become ‘misty eyed’ while listening to traditional Irish music, and until someone tells me that’s normal, I’ll keep it high on the list.   
AR:  What are your travel essentials? 
DC: I try to pack light but also with a sense of preparedness, so I always bring little nick-nacks like duck tape, a small knife, paracord, two lighters, a deck of cards, etc.  For ‘must-haves’, aside from my camera, my phone is at the top of my list.  It stays on me and I use it for everything: maps, music, shooting and editing photos, communicating with home, and recording memorable sounds.  Next, ever since my first solo trip I’ve packed a small pocket notebook, to jot down notes, get information from new friends, even sketch scenes.  I’m currently using a Public Supply notepad in a leather passport wallet made by Kris Lawson / Lawson Goods, and it’s been a real trooper.  Lastly, one of my more strange travel essentials is beard oil, essential oil, or some type of natural scent, which I tend to change every trip.  It’s pretty common knowledge that memories are heavily connected with smells, but I’ve had a helluva time trying to encourage those associations by bringing distinct scents on each of my journeys.  It really works.
AR:  What is on your playlist right now?
DC: My musical tastes are all over the place, especially in my travel playlists.  I’m a Spotify nut and go through a pre-trip process of choosing music based on what’s currently popular in my destination country, the traditional folk music of the region or any genre the country is famous for, music that puts me in a good mood, and dramatic music that adds to the adventure.  I’m currently deep in the Norwegian arctic on an island called Svalbard, so my playlists have old Nordic folk music, classical music by Norwegian composers, a few albums by pop/indie/rock artists in the area, and lots and lots of Black Metal.  A cross section of jams today: Edvard Grieg, Wardruna, Siri Nilsen, Valkyrien Allstars, Ulver, Antestor, and Enslaved.
AR:  For anyone visiting your town, what is a go-to restaurant that can’t be missed?  What’s your favorite dish on the menu? 
DC:  Mel’s Country Cafe in Tomball, Texas is a staple for those living in the area.  They have some mean burgers and barbecue plates, and are famous for their ‘Mega Mel’ challenge: "One & a half pounds of ground beef, a FULL pound of bacon, 1/4 pound of cheese & all the trimmings”. I’m not a lunatic, so I tend to go for the tried and true bacon cheeseburger instead.
AR:  Describe your personal style.
DC: I vary a bit with mood and locale, but generally like the sharp tones and shapes of the early 60's mixed with the sloppy rebellion of 50’s motorcycle gangs.  I tend to wear simple items that are well cut but also have some character in them: slowly fading denim, patinated leather, imperfectly rolled up shirt sleeves.   I feel like the classic rules of style are there for a reason, but breaking them in a bit is the fun part.
AR:  What is your favorite Ace Rivington product?
DC:  I would be completely content wearing the heather gray super soft tee and homespun french terry sweater every day.  Still, those are close seconds to the selvedge denim that introduced me to the brand.  I’ve broken my first pair in so heavily that they feel more natural than any other jeans I’ve ever owned.  They’re starting to show the age and wear of what I’ve put them through: hunting in Texas, riding motorcycles through dirt roads in Uruguay, hiking in the Arctic, the Antarctic, Africa, and Patagonia, and even on plenty of client shoots without looking nasty.  They’re incredible. 
Daniel's Favorite Tee:
Daniel's Go to Denim
Homespun French Terry Crewneck


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