The super-blooms are happening... Although I wanted to drive to the Anza Borrego Desert to check out the super-blooms, but we settled for the poppy hills in Lake Elsinore. A lot of people had the same idea, causing traffic near the exit on the freeway.
Even with the traffic, it was still worth it. The weather cooperated, too, giving us some spotty sunshine which is welcomed after all the rain this season.
I've always known that the color green really pop with the M9 CCD sensor, but today it felt the orange really pops, too.
While we were down in San Clemente to pick up something for the RV, we took a few hours detour to visit the San Juan Capistrano Mission. My son had to study about the California Missions last year during 4th grade, so this was a great chance to re-enforce what he had learned in class and see it in real life. But of course, we're really there so I can take some photos :)
Happy new year! We did our count-down in Borrego Springs, CA. It's a small town next to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, where we found an Airbnb for a reasonable rate to host 9 of us. Most points of interests are accessed via dirt roads, so we drove our Revel even though we didn't need to. Plus, it'll be good to have a mobile restroom with us just in case, but honestly, it'll take less reasons for me to want to take the Revel out for a spin.
The iron sculptures in Galleta Meadows were pretty awesome to see. They're scattered all around town, so make sure you map them on maps before you head out. Groups are them are also in close distance to each other, so I think visiting them while riding bikes will also be cool, just make sure you have fat tire bikes because you will be riding on sand.
The Slot Canyon Trail was a highlight on the trip. After driving about 2 miles off the main road, we reach the trailhead that was full with parked cars. Some part of the trail gets so narrow that I had to turn sideways to pass. While people were very friendly waiting for people to pass in a few tight spots, I felt I might have annoyed some because I wanted to wait for people to clear out of my shots. So I quickly grab a few shots and moved on, didn't have much time to dwell in the same spot.
Font's Point was a great place to watch the sunrise. I just happened to wake up at 6am and made a quick decision to try to head out there before the sun rises at 6:45am. We drove about 15 minutes to the offroad area, and drove about another 15 minutes on a 4-mile dirt track. The dirt road wasn't too bad, but a high clearance vehicle and 4x4 is recommended. Once we reached the point, the view just took us over. We stood on the edge, overlooking the expansive craggy canyon below, while the sun slowly moves beyond the horizon.
To see the full set of images [CLICK HERE].
Zion National Park, man, what a beautiful place to visit. You hear about Angel's Landing, you hear about the Narrows, but what I have not heard much about is riding bike on the scenic trail. At least I don't hear people rave about it. So, I'm doing it. It was the most enjoyable and beautiful bike ride I've ever taken.
We were invited to join our old friends for a weekend and the Zion National Park. Given the time of year and night time temperature just above freezing, it was only possible since we now have the RV. Packing all three fat tire e-bikes was a bit tricky, however the Revel's gear garage was very accomodating.
I read a little about the Zion Scenic Drive online, just to make sure that bikes are allowed. From the name itself, I thought it was meant for cars, and it might be somewhat dangerous to ride bikes on it, have to constantly watch out for cars coming up behind us. Was I wrong! The drive is now limited to the shuttle buses only and a few special permitted vehicles, other than that, it's completely empty. The shuttle buses run 5-10 minutes apart, so for long stretches of the road, we were completely alone to enjoy the view. When you do hear the cars come up behind you, you must stop for they will not pass you unless you are stopped.
The weather was great, with some shaded area being borderline chilly in the morning. Being in the off-season, there wasn't a lot of people either. Oh man, the view! It was my first time visiting Zion, I had no idea the beauty and majestic rocks and cliffs hiding behind each turn of the road. With the 28Cron mounted and the M9 hanging from my neck, a lot of the shots were just f/8, focused that infinity, and snapped while I was riding.
For the full set if images from this trip, [CLICK HERE]
Another bonus of having an RV is camping in slightly colder conditions. The temperature in the mountains were about 60s during the day and around 40s at night. We took the Revel for just one night in one of our favorite Barton Flats Campground and hiked up to Jenks Lake again. With some of the yellowing leaves, the feeling is very much different than summer.
The 28Cron is quite a versatile lens. It's wide enough to take in the sceneries and yet not awkward enough to take portraits.
Spent the weekend camping in Silverwood Lake State Park. The over 90 degree temperature didn't inspire a lot of photo-taking :) However, I did wake up early on the last day to catch the sunrise. The black and white photo above doesn't do it justice, so here are the color ones...
Soft sand, aqua blue water, and a cliff for you to hike... what not to love about Point Dume?! Today was the perfect day to hit the beach with temperature around 70F. We've driven past Point Dume a few times before, and I've always wanted to check it out. So we packed up the Revel and drove about 1.5 hour with traffic to this beautiful place.
The 28'Cron is such a great lens. I've been thinking about selling it since I got the WATE, but I just can't do it. It's got a slightly more contrasty rendering and a little natural vignette. Besides cropping down to 5x7 ratio and adjust exposure, I don't really have to do much post processing.
Old high school friends invited me and my son for a quick get-a-way at Miller Canyon OHV. Altogether, we had 2 RVs and 4 quads, 1 mini-jeep, and 2 motorcycles, and LOTS OF FUN!
I mounted the 28'Cron, not wanting to go too wide, I was able to capture most scenes as I see them. The quads kicked up lots of dust which made very dramatic images. Not good for the rest of us to breathe in, though.
Okay! This was a photographic bucket-list accomplishment! I've always wanted to come and checkout this Pirate tower located south of Laguna Beach. Although high noon wasn't probably the best time to take pictures, but we just have to make do with what we got.
It was very warm day for mid-October, so we decided to take my son here. He can have fun chasing the waves, while I explored the Pirate's Tower. There weren't as much people around as summer, so that was nice. Still it was hard to take a picture of the tower without somebody standing around it.
Being in the hot noon sun, I also tried to go for some high-contrast BW shots. [CLICK HERE] to see the full album...
We went camping again this past weekend at Barton Flats Campground in Big Bear Mountain. Since other campers didn't seem too enthused about hiking the short trail up to Jenks Lake again, I went with my son, who kept telling me this is one of his most favorite hikes.
Last month when we were here, the water level at Jenks Lake was really low. But it has returned back to normal level now. While we explored around the lake, a ranger told us that they had to clear a 3.5 mile stream with shovels to keep the water coming in. He was really proud, and we thanked him for his hard work.
To see other photos from the trip, [CLICK HERE]
My Journey into Leica...
A path not to be taken lightly, not without reservations, and not without dedication, but the results can be sweet, OH SO SWEET! This is a documentation of my trials and tribulations into the world of Leica Rangefinder Photography, and I hope you'll enjoy coming along with me.