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].
Ah... tent camping... I'm going to miss you. As I mentioned before, we're putting our savings into a Class-B RV, the Winnebago Revel 4x4. We'll soon by flying out to Iowa to pick it up from the dealership and take the long way round back to California. I've already scoped out all the cool places to stop along the way, with Yellowstone National Park being our main goal.
I'll be packing the M9 with the 50'Lux and WATE, and also bringing the Mavic Air, too. I hope to capture some amazing wide open spaces and will try to upload the pictures and footages as internet connections allow. Here's a quick clip from my practice run with the Mavic Air near my house:
I've been thinking of getting a drone to film some air footages when we start to travel with the RV. The recently released Mavic Air looked interesting for a beginner like me. Here's my first attempt at creating a video using royalty free background music and merging multiple clips together. This is my first time flying this thing in public, please forgive the choppy camera movements.
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.
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.
Had a few hours to kill in Pasadena today... so we walk around the City Hall and checked out the once-a-month flea market. You never know what pictures you'll capture in a flea market... just have to let yourself be open to opportunities and be ready to snap.
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...
It's been a while! Life goes on as usual, but I've been choosing to enjoy the family experience fully instead of carrying my camera. Surely, there's a balance to be had... to be able to have a camera with me and still be present enough to enjoy and participate. It's always rewarding, though, after we come home and find some nice captures to remember the day.
CicLAVia events are always wonderful to participate. There's just a strange feeling when you're riding in the middle of street where is usually filled with cars. It makes it easy to imagine a day when our city planners give bikes more room on the street. One can hope!
Maybe the title should be "So many things to buy, so little money". A bit off topic from Photography... After my recent trip of RV camping with friends, I've looking at various Class B RVs. Due to our city's parking regulation, which doesn't allow RV parking on streets nor trailers on driveways, I was thinking about finding a trailer that will fit in our garage. I already had my eyes set on the Taxa Cricket Camper, and it seemed perfect for us. Its 6'9" height will barely fit through our garage door, and we've started moving things out of the garage to make room.
But after the last trip, I was convinced that an RV is probably the better way to go. A class B RV will look like a van that can be parked on our driveway. It'll allow the kids to move around in the back, distract them from long drives. And, the thought of having a shower/toilet built-in will make boondocking possible. The trailer camper was always meant to be a stepping stone towards an RV in the later future (we're not getting any younger), so I asked myself, why not skip the middle step and just go directly to an RV?
The major deterrent is obviously the price, about 100k. They don't depreciate that fast so it'll likely keep its value for a while. Another fear is that it'll end up sitting in my driveway not used, but knowing us, I think we'll put it to good use. Having an RV means you can plan trips that go further, longer, and in seasons where you wouldn't dare with tents. The RV industry has gone through some technology update in recent years, with solar and lithium battery, some RV makers are moving towards a no-propane and no-generator design. I've found the Hymer Aktiv to be the one for us. Time to save some money, quick.
So what does this has to do with Photography? Well, it means no more new lenses, no more M10, and no more new gears. Plus, some people have often suggested that instead of a piece of new gear, people should invest the money on trips to make new memories. That's my main goal here. New RV so we can take more trips to make new memories... That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
What an idyllic place for camping and fishing! I got invited to go RV camping with my friends to this central California location near Mammoth Lakes. The campground is in the middle of a plain that's surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. Being about 7000 feet above sea level, it was hot during the day time as the sun shines directly down, and yet chilly at night. The ever-bending Owens River provided plenty of places for fishes to hide and for the fishermen to cast their lines. There's also an off-road track that we took advantage of. Besides the swarms of mosquitos and blood sucking flies, it was a great weekend.
It was the first time I took my son fishing, so he had a blast. While I don't feel the same attraction for fishing, it was a wonder to see how many kids can concentrate and stay quiet while patiently waiting, whom might be considered over-active or hyper in normal settings. Patience as a virtue is often awarded in fishing, as long as the river is well stocked ;-)
With such an expansive landscape, I saw no desire of switching lenses from the WATE. I heard someone said that landscape photography is basically photographing weather. It felt true here. The land is beautiful all day long, but you really need to wait for the right light and cloud formations to kick it up a notch. Ultimately, I'm just glad to be able to take the camera out again, after being a bit stagnant lately. For the whole set of images, [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.