Picking up the Winnebago Revel 4x4 from Iowa and meander our way back to California, this is truly a dream roadtrip. After months of planning and anticipation, we've hit all the major destinations I've plotted out on Google Map. Yellowstone National Park was the obvious grand finale, but it's the Ayres Natural Bridge Park and Buffalo Gap BLM in Badlands that got me feeling secluded wondered why not more people are enjoying the great outdoors.
Yellowstone was a park in its own class. No amount of research could prepare me for its beauty and vastness. Sure, the major touristy spots were amazing, but I find myself enjoying breathtaking sceneries just driving around the park even more. The great plains with herds of buffalos scattered, the minor lakes and streams that were just painterly, these are the things that will make me want to come back and spend more time at each turnout to soak them all in.
For this trip, I packed only the 50'Lux and WATE. It seemed that we were following a thunderstorm or it was chasing us most of the time. We experienced 90 degree heat in South Dakota, and had to keep warm through the 35 degree cold nights in Yellowstone, but the Revel handled them with ease. It was truly our home away from home. If you wish to check the rest of the photos from the trip, [CLICK HERE].
It's been a few years, but we went back to visit the island of Oahu again during the President's Day / Chinese New Year weekend. Can't really say it was well planned, it was just the weekend that we're all available to take a few days off. On the day of our flight to Hawaii, the weather was forecasting to have thunderstorm storms almost all of the days that we're there. But what can we do? The trip was reserved at the end of last year, and we never visited in February before, so we didn't know the weather patterns around this time of year.
Well, the day that we landed was sunny enough. As it turned out, we only had one day of thunderstorm, and we were very thankful for that! However, not knowing how the next day was going to be, we maxed out our sun utilization, hitting Hanauma Bay and the swimming pools whenever we can.
On the day before the storm, we were treated to a dramatic sunset as we walked out to the Waikiki beach and around the marina area.
I'm amazed by the trees in Hawaii every time we're here. I just love the squiggly branches and the canopy they provide.
This was our first time staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. It must have been the biggest hotel complex in Waikiki. This was also our first time visiting without a rental car. Because the hotel was centrally located, we only need to Uber to Hanauma Bay. The hotel offered good amenities and the view from our hotel balcony wasn't too shabby, either.
Leica doesn't make it easy for someone to hold on to a camera year after years. With great restraint, I'm using shooting with the M9 after all these years. The sensor of the typ-240 didn't impress me enough to upgrade, which is ultimately the same reason I didn't go for the M-D, even though it hit all the right notes for me ergonomically. I'm afraid the M10 is just too much for me to resist with the ISO dial, thinner body, viewfinder upgrade, and wonderful new sensor. I will, however, be a little bit more stubborn and wait for the M-P version, making my M9 almost 10 years old when I do switch.
Why not wait for the M-D version? The real pull of the M-D version for me was the ISO dial on the back and never needing the LCD screen again. However, now with the dedicated ISO dial on top, I will have what I need and be able to see all my exposure settings by look down at the camera. I can just turn off previews, and reserve the right to use it when I need it. I would love to try to shoot with the WATE without the franken-finder and use the LCD screen liveview for focusing and composing. Also having the option to format SD cards in camera will be nice, which is not available with the M-D.
So, I've successfully punt the camera purchase decision down another 1 or 2 years, and my wallet will thank me for that.
Jessica needed some photos of herself, so we hanged some sheets for backdrop and setup a single light for a quick portrait session. A bit awkward for both of us... since she's not used to modeling and I'm not used to shooting studio portraits. But we pushed through and came out with some nice shots and a bit more experience for both of us :)
We have not been back to the Silver Saddle Ranch since our first visit 2 years ago. This weekend, we decided to visit it again to celebrate a friend's birthday. It felt as if time has stood still in California City. We were hoping to see more development around the ranch, but I guess things progress much slower in the desert.
Lately, I've been doing less photography, and when I shoot, I use mainly just the 50'Lux. For the complete set, you may [CLICK HERE].
Happy birthday to my little one... We invited all the family for a nice surf and turf dinner. With the older cousins going off to college and military, it'll be harder and harder to get everyone back together for group photos in the future.
... and don't forget, a "funny face" photo! Processed with VSCO Film "S - Fuji FP-100c Cool ++" preset.
We had a brief visit to the Little Saigon night market the past weekend. There were lots of people, lots of food stands, just too bad that we already had dinner right before. I saw some people were playing Pokemon Go... *shakes head* *sigh*
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]
We went RV camping this weekend in a friend's C-class RV at Oceanside, near San Diego. It was my first time camping in an RV park and it felt quite different than regular tent camping. Sleeping arrangements were definitely more comfortable, but it didn't have the connections of living close to nature. Perhaps RV'ing in campgrounds will be better, but the RV park we stayed in just felt much more city-like.
The kids had fun, nonetheless. They were constantly on their bikes riding around the RV park, and it was safe because people were conscious about driving slowly around the park. The beach was also only a short walk away, so location-wise, it was not bad at all. At night, no big campfires, but you're allowed built a small fire in a portable fire pit.
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.