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Rockosophy, Meet Rocktography

Figure 1: An almandine Garnet. Photo credit to Zach Capel.
Figure 2: Photo credit to Zach Capel.

Look at this photo [Figure 1]! LOOK AT IT! Such talent! Such strikingly raw, cuboidal talent! Now, gorge yourself on all the other photos in this contributor's feature [Figures 2-6]!. This, rockpups, rockhounds, and innocent bystanders alike, is the masterful doing of Rockosophy's latest contributor. Straight from the corybantic rock fields of the PNW, it is my esteemed pleasure to present the rocktographer himself, the one & only Zach Capel! Thank you, Zach, for all that you do and for sharing your story with all of us. It is the good stuff and the life blood of rockosophy.


"Hi there! I appreciate you reaching out! I love collecting and sharing the minerals I collect, and every now and then selling some certainly also helps me pay the bills! I don't have a real company per say, though I did recently create an eBay I sell items through, (seller name jackstraw97), and I have sold a lot of self-collected pieces to people through Instagram and Facebook. I know selling through Instagram would probably be the easiest, but I don't mine and rockhound just to make money, I do it because I study geology and mining and the different processes working amongst each other is fascinating to me. If I were to just make my Instagram a shop, it would change the appeal, and I feel the desire to see certain things by some people.

Figure 3: Photo credit to Zach Capel.

Rocktography became the name because I've done photography for about 7 or so years, and I decided to make a dumb yet memorable word combining rocks and photography. I have heard the talk about how many Rockhound's are poor photographers, and how many photographers are poor Rockhound's with little mineral knowledge, and I like to try and balance the two, with some minor adjustments to the style of photography. I think the coolest thing about rockhounding, is anywhere you go around the world, or especially the US, there's people that love it, and the community is always sharing and friendly if you have some basic respect of locations and those showing you. I have met about 5 people on the internet, through Reddit and Instagram, who are my close friends now, and I rockhound with all the time, which makes me super stoked, and reminds me what social media is intended to do: connect people and allow them to share unique experiences.​​

I could tell you about spiders the size of my hand inside of a little mineshaft, or 300 lb boulders raining down on us working, but those are just byproducts of the work haha. I don't think people should purposely expose themselves to danger just for rocks, but some crazy folks like myself are willing to go the distance to get that stuff, and I may be literally covered in dirt and rock shards from face to legs, but at least I sleep well! I like the idea of rocksophy, and it's a term I would like to make more known!

Figure 4:  Botryoidal Chalcedony. Photo credit to Zach Capel.

To me, using earth and it's geologic forces may sound corny to some, but it can be an incredible scientific as well as philosophical tool to help one better understand their place in their surrounding. Rocks are everywhere, and they are constantly changing, and breaking down, yet also being born, just like other life, and the physical mechanics may not be the same, but observation and understanding of some of the processes can help a person uniquely conceptualize the process itself as well as others completely aside from geology. As far as our understanding of physical sciences and geology even go, I think we have much to learn, and much to discover, and minerals to me are so fascinating and unfathomable, because the uniqueness, shape, and place they form tells such an intricate story, and like people, I don't think we should rush to the conclusion of saying we know what that is."