Lover of Chick-Fil-A. Explorer. His Mom’s Favorite Photo/videographer.
After an excellent hour long phone conversation with Albert, I was so pumped to know how much he cares about the environment and the outdoors in general. He is an avid adventurer and his photography and videography skills are awesome! It was a great time talking and plans will have to be made to meet up and explore the West this year! Looking forward to sharing his outlook on life, and his ideas on conservation. Take it away, Bert!
I’m Albert Rodriguez, some of my closest ones know me as Bert. I’m an adventure photographer, with a heart to inspire and story tell. I crave to know and help people be known. I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ, a firm believer in his beautiful green Earth, and most firm believer in Chick-fil-A.
What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field?
I am a freelance photographer and videographer, and part-time barista. I am also a full time student at the University of North Texas where I study entrepreneurship. I got a job after going to Texas A&M, it is not what I wanted in the end, though. I feel like I needed to get out and do something, that is exactly what I did.
One day I asked a friend to go on some road trips, just on a whim. Planned two weeks ahead, went to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Moab desert, saw some tornadoes and giant herds of moose. Incredible, it felt like the definition of going in a living form. This was my first trip, and a reinvigoration with traveling as well. Blessed to see God’s great earth firsthand.
I have really enjoyed shooting photography, and the more I shot, I was making sure I wouldn’t lose the feeling. I wish the photographs could describe what it was actually like to see these sights as I travel, but it never lives up to the actual experience, it is so much more!
Upgrading cameras as I took vacations from work, leading to a contract with Marmot to promote a new jacket, I was living! While in Iceland shooting, I saw waterfalls and rainbows everywhere, it is so different from anything else I have ever seen. Waterfalls off the highway there, would be like national monuments here, everything is simply amazing.
I see the world differently, more than just a 9-5 lifestyle that most are caught up in. I am currently putting together a team to create a digital print culture magazine based on the idea to get outside of our typical comfort zone and experience new people and perspectives. This will appeal to people who are on the go, literally if they take a week travel break, it can enhance everything else in their life. The idea behind this magazine is to open hearts and minds. You have to be informed to travel, detailed and how to have a blast. This is what we will try to deliver to our readers.
When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?
Growing up I took a lot of road trips with my family. We were exposed to places like Washington D.C, different beaches, and mountains, all over the country. The seed of seeking adventure was planted then, something new, seeking that inspirational feeling of curiosity. Now I am seeing this love for exploration blossom into something bigger.
What is your favorite place to explore?
Utah is definitely at the top of the list. The vast lands and diverse landscape amaze me. Showcases God’s beautiful creation. So much to see and do!
How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?
37 so far. My favorite state to visit would be Utah. The general population has no clue what is missing out there, nature in general. I wish everyone would get out there.
How many countries, where?
The countries I have visited so far are Iceland, Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica, Canada, Honduras, Bahamas.
Best hike you have ever had?
Iceland takes the cake for best hike, Fimmvörðuháls specifically. It is unreal, like nothing I have experienced before or since! I found it interesting that the Icelandic people believe in mythical creatures, they think they are actually real. About 50 percent of people believe it, and by the end of my visit I was thinking about it, too! The hike, commonly known just as ‘Fimm’, is also referred to as waterfall alley. There are 80-90 waterfalls throughout the duration of the hike. Seeing that was insane, such an incredible hike, nothing to date compares!
Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.
For long summer hikes I use a 65L Terra Bag by The North Face. It is an absolute workhorse. The 65L bag is the most efficient size in my opinion, not too big or too small, just the right size. I prefer Salomon for my footwear needs. I am also a Patagonia fan, love the gear and the message they pass on and stand for. All about conservation and encouraging the reuse of their products.
For winter, I bring a headlamp, and always have the ability to start a fire. Biggest priority is to make sure to always have waterproof boots, I learned this the hard way. I also always pack ski pants, layers, vests, rain jackets, ski jackets, and a fleece layer. Go to snacks for the trail: clif bar, boxes of them. I am a fan of most things organic.
Most comical hike/adventure story?
Funny enough, it never actually happened. A group of friends and I planned to go to Big Bend National Park. On the way, we were half way on the eight hour trip and hit a huge bobcat. This destroyed the car’s radiator and we were in the middle of nowhere, in rural Texas. A cop showed up and let us sit in the back of the cop car, sharing stories and creating memories. The officer gave us a ride to the nearest little Texas town. It was such a friendly place. We stayed the weekend and hungout with people, and learned why people stay there. Such an unexpected turn of events, the change of plans made the trip that much better. The town consisted of maybe 1000 people, tons of family owned stores and a unique artsy vibe. Ready to see something monumental and ended up with flat lands and friendly people, what a trip!
Scariest hike/adventure story?
Fimm hike in Iceland. A day in to the hike, I found out my boots were not actually waterproof. My foot got soaked while stepping into a small stream, we then contemplated stopping and starting a fire. We were so deep into the hike, what do we do? I could not dry my boots, so I switched out socks and ended up heading back. With no signal or people, super cold weather, and feet that felt frozen it was all the reason to head back to get to safety. Just remember, always check the reviews for waterproof boots!
Another one would be a time I was trying to climb the highest mountain in Central America, and fell too sick to keep going. I turned around and headed to a little village, no electricity, and I was able to find peace in something as simple as sound. It showed the beauty in noise, even by myself, sick, I saw the joy in the experience. There is always something positive, even from the darkest times.
Upcoming trips planned?
In two weeks I am heading to Banff! An undisclosed location for a trip in April, more to tell you in the coming months. In June, I will have a chance to visit Nepal in the heart of the Himalayas. Going to stay to help out at a non-profit that takes in orphans off the street (The Freedom House). Nepal has been on my mind, in my dreams, and it keeps coming up. Three days ago today, I was talking to a friend wanting to make a documentary, and start a special project. I said we should take a trip, and to my disbelief someone brought up Nepal. Immediately I went and looked up tickets to Nepal. The next morning I got a call from the owner of the coffee shop, Freedom house. This coffee shop takes people off the street, gives them a job, and has room for the less fortunate to stay until they can get back on their feet. They host a six month discipleship program if they commit to staying clean. God had the owner of the coffee shop ask if he knew a photo/ videographer, to my amazement, this person was me. We will be staying in the Capitol of Nepal. It is incredible to be part of a mission like this.
Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local?
Patagonia, I love what they stand for and their dedication to protecting our planet. The North Face, and Salomon are also brands I like. There is nothing local in Dallas, it does not have much to offer in the outdoors space. It really is not the character of the city.
What does conservation mean to you?
Not enough people think about conservation. It is becoming a trending topic, but this alone will never be enough to stop the environmental practices that are prevalent today. It is not a good deed, it is a lifestyle that we all need to adopt. Fixing this mindset is incredible, but living it is what will help in the end. We need to be completely about it, once we lose it, it is gone forever. Conservation is a huge responsibility, we have to maintain the wild lands we have today. Destroying the environment is easy, we have to fight to keep it alive!
What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever?
It will not happen until all human beings are on board. We are fighting to do that now. We have to inspire people to understand the world, you cannot love something without first understanding it. Truly knowing what the world is, this allows for people to be able love it. We can take care of our parks, and others may not be interested until they understand the beauty of the world, hopefully this is not too late. Making people aware, this helps if they have the chance to experience the wild firsthand. For example, we all know water is polluted, but why are we not doing something? Only by experiencing the polluted waters will be begin to change and fix the issue. Keep that in mind.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your stories, insight, and tips for exploring. Your photography made this post POP! Best wishes on your future and looking forward to working together more in the coming years.