Field Notes

Entries Tagged as 'Field Trip'

Field Trip:

Park Life

September 15th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

As if it’s not fun and rewarding enough to design and print notebooks, we also have a lot of fun photographing them and making the films that accompany each release. Sometimes it involves some ‘location work,’ and in the best cases that means getting to spend some quality time in the great outdoors. The film for Fire Spotter required a night camping in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin. Night Sky was two full all-nighters wide awake staring at stars in Great Basin National Park in Nevada. For the current Shenandoah edition, we spent three days and two nights at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

If it sounds like a lot of fun, it is! But filming on location is also a lot of hard work. We’re up and on location before sunrise, and head home after sunset. We must load and unload all our heavy gear and sometimes lug it all along through miles of trails. We’re always on the lookout for mountain lions, scorpions, and bears. And, ugh, the driving.

Luckily, this time, the drive was part of the appeal, and as usual, we shot way, WAY more footage than we used in the final film, so here’s a bonus clip. Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive is one of the most scenic roads in America, and while this short Hyperlapse from our dashboard really doesn’t do it justice (the view to the side is pretty majestic and it helps to stop and soak it in once in a while), it’ll give you the idea why it’s worth a visit.

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Colors · Field News · Field Trip:

Stacked Type

May 26th, 2015 by Bryan Bedell

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Graphic designers generally frown upon text that reads vertically from top to bottom, but here’s one example of ‘stacked type’ we could look at all day. Sadly, this 100-year-old smokestack in Two Rivers, WI is all that remains of the former Hamilton Manufacturing Co. wood type factory, and it will be blasted with dynamite at 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2015.

The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum will be closed Sunday, but museum staff ask you to join them at the site to watch the demolition. If you can’t make it in person, show your support on Facebook, and be sure to pick up our Spring COLORS edition, “Two Rivers,” while supplies last (which won’t be long!). $2 from each 3-pack support the museum. If you love the museum as much as we do, please chip in a few more bucks at checkout, or donate directly to the museum.

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Field Trip:

Kern This

July 31st, 2013 by Jim Coudal

Watching Aaron adjust analog letter-spacing is a thing of beauty. He’s prepping our booth at The Outdoor Retailers Show in Salt Lake City. Michele and Bryan are there this week too, so stop by the Pavilions area and say hello if you’re walking the floor. Our Expedition Editions, Space Pens and everything else are ready for your shelves.

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Colors · Field Trip:

“It’s So Bright and Clear That it Feels Like You Can Practically Walk Out on the Milky Way.”

June 19th, 2013 by Steve Delahoyde


When we were coming up with ideas for what to put together for a short film for the Night Sky Edition, we ran into a couple of issues: First, we’re in Chicago, which is a very large, well-lit city, something that isn’t generally conducive to capturing the infinite vastness of space (on a cloudless night, even a ways out in the country, you’re lucky to see even half a dozen stars). Second, how do you try and capture said impressive vastness? While we thought it all through, we made two determinations: clearly, we needed to go somewhere dark, and maybe we didn’t necessarily need to be constrained by the “short” in short film.


The idea was fairly simple, though complex in the making: for those of us in big metropolitan, light-polluted areas like Chicago who can’t see the night sky very clearly, we wanted to travel to this section of rural Nevada and bring the stars back with us, capturing a full night sky and playing it back in real time.



The story of how this all came to be, is below.
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Field Trip:

Small Farm Life

February 13th, 2012 by Bryan Bedell


“I’ve used a variety of sizes and styles of paper notebooks as I’ve built the cabins and planned projects at Two Mile Ranch. I’ve used calendar style journals to record weather, laying habits of chickens, garden plots, feed purchases, building and shelter plans, shopping lists, and the general diary of events.” –Fritz Nordengren. Iowa, December 28, 2010.

Thanks to Fritz’s oldest son for giving Field Notes (Iowa, of course). And thanks to Fritz for the lovely post and photo.

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Field Trip:

County Fair, A Field Trip

July 20th, 2011 by Jim Coudal

Last summer we introduced our “County Fair Editions” by taking a long, hot road trip to the Iowa/Nebraska border.


There are FIFTY versions available in the series, one for each state in the Union. Above is a look at “Alaska.” They’re sold in 3-Packs, as a special 50-State Box Set and also via our new ROAD TRIP KIT. Traveling the USA this summer? Make sure to take along the proper state books.

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Field Notes In Action · Field Trip:

The Grand (Ave.) Tour

April 2nd, 2011 by Bryan Bedell

Recent FIELD NOTES convert Pete Ruksakiati carefully documented his pilgrimage to our Midwestern Office “Local Will-Call Window” last week. Pete seemed disappointed to learn that our “Local Will-Call Window” was constructed for one photo then promptly disassembled, (though we do still have a “Will-Call Pile On A Desk”) but he had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see our storeroom, and our other storeroom, and our packing room, and our third storeroom, and see the Chicago skyline from our luxurious suites.

We can’t promise we’ll always have time to show visitors around, and we always suspect people will be disappointed when they see what goes on here (remember when Bart Simpson visited the Mad Magazine office?). But guests rarely seem disappointed, and it’s a nice break from our routine (when we have a few minutes to spare). Meeting folks who are excited about what we do… well… it gets us excited all over again! As always, thanks for the support.

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Field Trip · Film Archive:

Fused I Say, Fused!

December 12th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell

The inside covers and interior pages of the Balsam Fir notebooks were offset-printed in “Wet Bark Black” at Envision Graphics in Bloomingdale IL, then the covers were sent to Diecrafters in historic Cicero, IL for hot foil stamping. This is FIELD NOTES’ first foray into foil stamping, and the process is shown in the video above. The press is a Kluge EHE 14×22, manufactured by Brandtjen & Kluge in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Hot foil stamping is fairly similar to letterpress printing (as seen in our Raven’s Wing video) but instead of ink, colored or metallic foil (or holograms!) are fused onto the paper with a heated die, In this case, a snow-white matte non-metallic ‘foil’ was used, rolls of the material can be seen mounted above the printer. Each roll was aligned to a specific print position on the sheet to minimize wasted foil. The finished covers went back to Bloomingdale to be cut, assembled, bound, trimmed, round-cornered, belly-banded, and shrink-wrapped, and they’ll be in your hands soon!

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Field Trip:

The Pace of the Place

July 28th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell

“OK, everybody make sure to use the bathroom, it’s a long drive and I dont want to be stopping every half hour.” A Field Notes Road Trip.

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Field Trip:

Field Trip: Monona County Fair (Part 4)

July 19th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell


monona“These are great, but I’m not a farmer.” We’ve heard this more than a couple of times tonight. Another was “I’ll have to send my husband is, because he’s a farmer and he’ll understand.” So we’ve come 502 miles to find authentic, rural Americana, only to find that it’s we who seem to rural and authentic. If movies have shown us anything, it’s that a road trip always leads to getting to know yourself better, and this must be our third act denouement, where we learn that our memo books look like (or really are) the real deal. But we’d tell people, “You don’t have to be a farmer. You can use them for anything,” and that’s seemed to work pretty well.

The demolition derby got started a bit late, with the announcer getting on the PA system every once in a while to tell corny jokes and let everyone know that they were still getting some kinks worked out. What kinks you need to work out at an event where the point is to forcibly disable things, we’re not sure, but the wait wound up being good for business, as much larger crowds started filing in around 6:00. Like throughout the day, most of the people who stopped by our building were there for the 4-H vegetables, but they’d swing by after checking out grand prize winning stalk of corn to see what we were all about.

Once the derby finally kicked off, the arena being directly behind us, the building started rattling and sounding like you’re sitting next to a couple of 747’s engines going at full bore. Strangely, we never heard any distinct car crash noises, though at one point something big and loud smashed into the side of our building, maybe something flying off a car, and that put us on edge for a while.

Another volunteer for the Friends of the Onawa Library showed up for her spot to run the booth. She talked to us a bunch about the area, explaining the Loess Hills and how no one over 65 has to pay state income tax in Iowa, which is why so many people like her have retired here. She told us that they were planning to close their booth down early, so if we wouldn’t mind watching after it once they’d left, they’d appreciate it. We told them we’d collect any money for book sales (25¢ for paperback, 50¢ for hardcover) and drop it through the mail slot on our way out of town.

After the burly man carrying (and regularly using) a backscratcher came in to chat and Daniel spotted a farmer in overalls who had large diamond earrings in both ears, our friend the 4-H kid, showed back up again. “So you sold anything yet?” he asked. “Yep,” we told him. Then he talked to us for a while about why he didn’t want to exhibit meat goats and why he prefers to show sheep. Sometimes it would get bit technical and he’d lose us, but we tried to keep up.

Around 9:45, the sun nearly all set, we started packing up. It’d been a long day, but a fun time. We’d met a lot of great people, learned some about the town with the widest main street and the birthplace of the Eskimo Pie, and sold a few of our new County Fair books along the way. By 10:15, the fair was all shut down, we’d loaded up the car and were heading to the one restaurant still open: the BBQ place next to the interstate attached to the truck stop. Covered in a mix of bug spray, sunscreen, and sweat, we were exhausted, but very happy we came. After a well-deserved night of sleep and 10 hours on the road tomorrow, we’d be home.

Video soon.

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