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Discover the Desert

As a photographer, my experiences and memories on the road are the ones that stick around longest. I never imagined I’d see this much travel this early in my photography journey, but I am grateful for it. The road shapes you.

Recently, while traveling through the southwest, I brought a couple of Stetsons along for the journey.

This first leg of the trip brought me from Texas through New Mexico to a big off-road race in the California desert. The second half brought me through the Big Bend area of Texas.

I’ve come to appreciate the desert over these recent years of travel and these Stetson hats integrate with the landscape seamlessly. Everywhere I go I see them, and I’m always enamored with the personalities that choose to wear them. They tell a story.  I’ve grown fond of my ‘Open Road’ as I’ve found myself on the road more and more; I take it with me everywhere I go and I get compliments in every city.

I captured the hats in a way that reflects their storied history upon these locations. I typically photograph mountains, stars or vehicles and this was great to experience mixing in portraits while still trying to convey the magic and scale of the desert.

Models are Avonlea Villalobos and Aiden Franklin. Follow them here: @oneandonly_avonlea @aidenfranklin

Aiden wears a Stratoliner.

Nick Pacione is an explorer and photographer, documenting the landscapes of the world along with the tools used to navigate them. When he is not traveling in his Jeep or on his motorcycle, he is in the studio shooting for the agencies and brands that trust in him.  Follow him @nickpacione and visit his work at