On Tour With Lemuria- Part 2

This is part 2 of my photo essay series about touring with Lemuria. Part 1 can be found here: On Tour With Lemuria- Part 1.

When you think of the vital things that are needed for tour, what comes to mind? Guitar, bass, drums, amps, and van are probably the first things, right?  Aside from the van, I’d argue that cellphones are more important than any equipment. In a pinch, equipment can be borrowed from other bands.  We use cellphones on tour for so many things: alarms, capturing memories, communication, directions, distractions, etc…

Sheena fish face

I never had the pleasure to tour with a band in the pre-cellphone age but I imagine it would have been much more inconvenient.  There would be no way to let the promoter know you were stuck in traffic and going to be 2 hours late to the show.  There was no GPS to fall back on when you needed to guide the streets of Seattle. There was no access to the internet to look up ridiculous videos for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you like it or not, cellphones have become a vital tool for tour.  When we’re in the middle of a 12 hour drive, our cellphones distract us from it so we can avoid killing each other.  When someone gets “Holiday Road” by Lindsay Buckingham stuck in their head, we can instantly look it up on Youtube and play it. When we get to a city and want to find a good coffee shop, it is our savior.

Sheena and Alex phone

While cellphones do a lot of good on tour, they can also be negative.  When everyone is glued to their cellphones, keeping in touch with people on Facebook and text messages instead of spending time with each other, you begin to question ‘why are we on tour?’ There were some points on Lemuria tour that we had to instate a “no cellphones at dinner” rule because we all realized we collectively were spending too much time on our phones.

Max and Sheena phone
Overall, I think cellphones are a good and necessary thing in life and tour. They are an incredibly powerful tool, but as Uncle Ben Parker said “With great power comes great responsibility”.  It’s important that we’re mindful of the extent of our cellphone usage.  It would be a shame to miss the passing mountains of Colorado or giant cacti in Arizona because we were reading our Facebook feed. I know that FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing but, if I had to choose, I would always favor what’s happening in front of me and leave the social networks for later.

Alex Lemuria door

I hope this post doesn’t come off as me hating cellphones, because that is the farthest thing from the truth. I got my iPhone 6 the day it came out last year and ordered two new cases for it yesterday (I couldn’t decide between them). Also despite my camera being very portable, I tend to take a lot more photos on my phone. Like many people, my phone has become a vital part of my daily life.

Sheena and Alex Hollywood sign

I (sadly) probably spend a good 8 hours a day using my phone.  Part of this post was reflecting on cellphones’ role on tour, but it also was introspective. I’m trying to be more mindful of my cellphone use when I am around other people and in social situations.

Old Kentucky Barns

Growing up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY I didn’t encounter many barns.  Occasionally I would see one if I glanced up from my Game Boy or book on the drive to or from camping with my dad.  It wasn’t until almost two years ago when I moved to Kentucky that I was regularly exposed to barns.

Kentucky barn
The Kentucky countryside is filled with many old dilapidated barns like this one. After continually seeing them, I started to fall in love with them.  I see this one everyday on my way to and from work and i’m always happy that it’s still standing.

Grass and barnThere was a similar barn to this near where Nicole and I used to live in Walton, KY. Like this one, I would admire it everyday as I passed it.  I kept putting off walking up the road to photograph it. I ended up waiting too long because one day I rode past it and it was being torn down.  I didn’t want history to repeat itself so I braved an impending storm and trekked through the muddy uncut grass to capture these photos today.

Old dilapidated barnI’m not sure why I love the ascetic of a barn that is falling apart so much.  I think it’s a mixture of the weathered and broken wood, and the fact that it’s stubborn and still standing against all odds.  As long as they’re still standing, I plan on making more photos of them when I have the chance.

Barbed wire fence

Marriage Equality Passed the Supreme Court

Today is a historic day because as you probably already know, the US Supreme Court just ruled that everyone, regardless of sex/gender, is allowed to get married.  On one hand, I’m extremely happy for everyone.  On the other hand, I still can’t believe it took this long for something so logically to become a law.

Marriage Equality Pride Parade

This photo was taken at the Buffalo Pride parade in 2008.  That was 7 years ago.  That just shows you how slow moving and out of date the US legal process is. It also is a reminder to myself that this is the most recent gay pride parade that I have photos of which I should change.  Here are some more photos from said parade in celebration of this awesome win for marriage equality.

Gay son happy dad sign
giant rainbow flag
gay pride parade

I just noticed that Cincinnati’s Pride Parade is tomorrow, which is pretty awesome timing with this announcement. I might have to try and make it downtown for that and I will be sure to capture more moments like these.

gay Superman sign
Rainbow flag couple
Gay pride parade celebration
roller girls pride parade

Walking and Walking

I like to walk a lot, which lends well to my love for photography. Most people walking wouldn’t notice things on the ground like this sign.

Warning sign

Or maybe they would notice it but wouldn’t think much of it. Maybe they would take one look at it and dismiss it as garbage. But they might not notice how the bright sign contrasts so beautifully with the dirt and rocks beneath it. That’s what I see. That is the shots I love to search for and find.

I also love when test shots that I dismissed in the back of the camera turn out to be some of my favorites once i’m processing them (I shoot all my photos in RAW), like this one:


I wanted to see how my camera would work in a low light situation so I shot this barbed wire near power lines to test it out. I figured it was just going to be a garbage shot but once I opened it up in Lightroom I loved how the silhouette of the pole and barbed wire contrasted with the blue evening sky. I don’t like shooting with a flash so this makes me rethink my ability to shoot photos at dusk.

On Tour With Lemuria- Part 1

This is part 1 of my photo essay series about touring with Lemuria. Part 2 can be found here: On Tour With Lemuria- Part 2.

It’s pretty special when you have the chance to tour the country multiple times with one of your favorite bands.  It’s also pretty special when said band consists of three great friends of yours.  My history with Lemuria goes back almost 10 years, but some of the fondest memories have come in the last four when I joined them on tour several times.

Lemuria group picture

The great thing about Sheena, Alex, and Max is that we can go months without talking or seeing each other at times, but the moment i’m back in the van with them, it’s like no time has passed.

Lemuria water bottle

While there are many great times on tour, what a lot of people don’t realize is that there is also a lot of downtime.  Before shows, after shows, in the van, at gas stations, etc…  Some might find it boring, but it’s just another part of tour.  There’s nothing like being in deep thought in a van with some of the best people in the middle of a nine hour drive.

Sheena and Max
Max and SheenaI am very grateful and feel very privileged that I have been able to see a good chunk of the US and Canada thanks to Lemuria.  While I definitely worked hard on tour (selling merch and loading/unloading gear), I know they could get many people to tour with them and I always feel lucky that they continue to bring me along.

Lemuria set listMy current job doesn’t afford me the freedom I used to have when I was doing freelance web design, so I know there is a good chance I won’t ever go on tour with Lemuria again.  While a part of me is extremely sadden by this, I know I have a lifetime of photos and memories of all the places i’ve seen, things i’ve done, and people i’ve been thanks to going on tour.

Sheena reading by the van

1-2-3-4 Go Records sign

I literally have 1,000’s of photos from touring with Lemuria that i’m going to start posting here so check back often.  If you are interested in a print of any of the photos you see, shoot me at email: derekneuland@gmail.com.

Alex and Sheena in San Diego



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