From The Lean-To: Salt Stained Eyes

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On the days that I'm forced to work out of “the office,” I usually make a pit stop into Saturdays, the surf shop on Crosby Street in SoHo, for a large cup of coffee. Yes, there's a surf shop in New York City and yes, they make real good coffee. T-shirts too. I walk in, order, and while the espresso is dripping, I take a long look around at the surfboards on the walls and get an itch to visit one of my favorite places on the internet, Salt Stained Eyes

Jack Brull is a surfer living in Nassau County, Long Island, a few minutes from Long Beach, a popular spot for the city folk to “ride the waves.” Jack is also a photographer who captures that beach life through an analog camera on his blog, Salt Stained Eyes.

Despite the fact that he hasn't been updating SSE very regularly as of late (not cool, Jack), I find myself going back there often, shuffling through the blink-and-they're-gone moments of the outdoors, something we all understand, whether we're on a board or on a trail. His photos don't make me want to surf – it's never been something I've enjoyed (because I can't do it) – but they do make me want to indulge in the lonely parts of the open spaces that allow us to lose ourselves. Because yes, it can be a strange experience looking at photos of the leaves you saw on a trail in Colorado, the tacos you ate after surfing in Mexico, or the big brown rock you laid out on after a day of floating down a river in New Hampshire. Those things are beautiful and worth remembering, but sometimes the details aren't important. Once in a while, a blurred image, one with just enough light to remind you that you went outside, is all you need.

Does it help that SSE has as many Grateful Dead photos and videos as it does original photography? Yes, of course…

Jeff Thrope is the editor and founder of Cold Splinters. For more ways to pretend you're sleeping under the stars instead of reading the Internet, visit and

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