When I was 19 I dropped out of college and started a company called Homestead Bicycles. I hadn't researched any market trends but I had a dream. A dream I could create a really cool bike that was unique and fast and light. I wrote to Bob Haro for advice, got Cyclecraft to weld them, sponsored a kid from Auburn as my factory rider, and I was on my way.
For the next four years I drove around the western U.S. to ABA races, and ran BMX programs for two youth summer camps. I made a ton of shirts and stickers and all told sold 30 bikes, but hardly enough to make a living. Especially since I'd actually paid for 50 bikes.
In 1995 I folded Homestead and never looked back.
Local Art & Stationery and Homestead Bicycles swag
My traveling blog
Photo Gallery + Camera love
Rummaging in my bedroom closet I found my first camera. It may have been my brother's but he was long gone to college and I was on my own. My first shots were not good. I was reconnecting with my dad around this time and he donated a Beseler Topcon towards my new hobby, but the shutter began to fail on a trip to Indiana to purchase an old convertible, and I wondered if that was the end of my photography.
I stumbled into a camera shop in Scotts Valley a few years later and the owner recommended the legendary Canon F-1. I finally found a camera with a great light meter, in a bulletproof housing and with tons of lenses available. The Canon F1 is the first and last camera I've ever loved, and after 25,000 + photos in heat and cold, dangling above Havasu Falls or opposite Half Dome at sunrise at 15 degrees, it's still going strong.
I like the kind of shots that stop me in my tracks. Make me slam on the brakes or run to the cliff to catch the light. When the sun is about to disappear, or I just spot a scene that freezes me in its gaze. And isn't that the beauty of photography vs. moving pictures? An image that forces a deeper look inside, a moment of reflection? I hope my pictures cause you to stop - now and always.
Alden's Local | Art & Stationery
"Oh, the places you'll go.."
When I read that book as a kid I took it as an assumed fact, not just a winsome daydream. Somewhere between the gas station postcard and the fanciest letterpress cards on Melrose there's room for postcards that are hand-drawn and that include fun spots for locals and tourists to both enjoy.
My Alden's Local designs are available as:
I've llustrated my first children's book, written by Richard Barna, about the legend of
'Elmer' in Yosemite
The legend of 'Elmer' in Yosemite Valley goes back all the way to the 1930's - and though many dispute the exact origin, the calls of "Elmer" around dinnertime can be heard even today in Yosemite campgrounds. Follow Elmer's journey - and ours as we promote our book at http://facebook.com/elmerstory
Press and Comments
Five Stars *****
Olmsted Film receives standing ovation ~
Alden Olmsted's film My Father, Who Art in Nature receives standing ovation at Wild and Scenic Film Festival https://lightcapfarm.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/alden-olmsted-receives-standing-ovation-for-my-father-who-art-in-nature/
Thank You so much! ~
I just wanted to let you know how much our boss LOVED the map that you created. She was so touched and could not stop staring at it, looking for the places she knows. Also, I cannot recall if I said this but when our team took a look at the map prior to giving it to our boss, we were all so impressed and thrilled. It looks awesome!
Thank you so much for working with me (us) to create that wonderfully personal, custom map! The map and my boss' reaction were better than we had hoped for.
- Rosemary K
I was born in a small town in Northern California. While my Muir-inspired father John D. Olmsted was off stopping bulldozers and saving state parks - like Jug Handle State Natural Reserve in Mendocino, and building wheelchair trails out of old mining ditches - like the Independence Trail in Nevada City - my history-major mother was teaching my brother and I about California history and driving the neighborhood after dark.. looking for her youngest son.
I made it one and a half semesters through college, dropping out to start a bmx bicycle company at age 19. Summer camp employment in the Santa Cruz Mountains, mission trips to Mexicali, screen printing classes and a different car nearly every year, my twenties were a wide mix of almost-successes and lots of lessons learned.
In 1999 I made a simple but important journey - saving up and flying to Indiana to purchase a 1966 Chrysler convertible. I knew I needed to buckle down and get my life together, but I also realized I needed to enjoy the present, and the convertible was the perfect choice. It's since been featured in films like Catch Me If You Can, Bottle Shock, and TV shows like Cold Case Files, and every time the top goes down is a reminder to me to slow down and enjoy the ride.
In 2001 I would return to college, working full time and taking night classes to finally graduate in 2003 from Biola University with a bachelor's degree in business and organizational leadership.
Until 2008 I had a mostly normal life, enjoying the fruits of a good job, summer house parties, traveling abroad, buying a new car, and even filming my first movie, Dill, California. I knew however, that if I really wanted to write and direct films the clock was ticking so I left my stable but predictable life and headed back to Hollywood - for the third time for those keeping count.
After writing three screenplays and going to lots of networking mixers and events, I was wondering if I'd made the right choice. That was when I got the phone call that would change the next decade of my life - my father had six months to live.
A hurried trailer and a whirlwind experience of becoming my father's caregiver resulted in my first feature-length documentary My Father, Who Art in Nature (2012), which showed at Nevada City's Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and to my dad, five days before he died.
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Life is still different since I accepted that call to care for dad but I'm finally convinced of my path - to explore human nature and our choices, to share what I find in an artistic and vulnerable way, and to give my gift back to the world.
~ March 2020
© 2020 Alden Olmsted