I was fortunate enough to link a few events together which resulted in a trip to NorCal. I had a lot of time to just explore, so I decided to take Highway 130 to cross from Interstate 5 to San Jose, instead of the normal Highway 152 through Gilroy. The eastern side of the drive took me through some canyons with great sceneries, the San Antonio Valley which is in the middle had great flower blooms in the plains. The road also passes through the Lick Observatory which had around 10 different telescopes.
The goal for the first day is to reach Muir Beach and boondock in a viewpoint. Woke up the next day and headed towards my happy place: the Cypress Tree Tunnel in Point Reyes National Seashore. Then, I wanted to drive up to the Glass Beach at Fort Bragg. However, after driving an hour on the PCH, I turned around because I didn't want to drive the full 6 hours on the twisty, up and down, and windy path when the scenery doesn't change that much. Instead, I drove back down and explore many things that I've marked on my map.
Monday, after the van got its much needed maintenance, I continued the drive down PCH from Pacifica. I rode my bike around the Devil's Slide area and ended up in an incredible boondocks site that I found by pure luck. It was so awesome that I decided to stay an extra day just to soak it all in. Since I had some extra time on my hands, I took some drone shots and made a video.
Since large portions of PCH was closed due to the recent rain storms, I started making my way inland from Santa Cruz. Rode my bike in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, which was beautiful and reminded me of Muir Woods. Following the Carmel Valley Road, I visited the Chews Ridge Fire Lookout, then ended the day camping at Williams Hill Campground.
Finally, I drove towards Montana De Oro State Park near Morro Bay where I met up with 20+ Winnebago Revel Owners and had a blast. The park offered many biking and hiking trails, but it was pretty foggy the whole time we were there. A ride on the Bluff Trail offered many great viewpoints.
The Prewitt Ridge dispersed camping area overlooking Big Sur has been on my bucket list for a while now. With the offroad-capable Winnebago Revel, I finally got the chance to visit this place. The views were spectacular, although we did not get to witness the sea of clouds due to hot weather. The whole area was super crowded during this weekend, but it was the amount of bugs and flies that may detract us from coming back for another visit in the summer months.
To avoid making the 6+ hours drive all at once from LA, we spent Friday night on the ridges above Santa Barbara, which also had beautiful views of the city, night lights, and we did see the sea of clouds in the early morning from there.
What a great weekend filled with memories, amid this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Here's a time lapse video of the sunset over Prewitt Ridge.
While California is shut down due to the COVID-19 Corona virus, we escaped out to the desert. The legendary Mojave Road is somewhere I've heard a lot about but never had a capable vehicle to experience. I thought I might push my luck and take the Winnebago Revel on it, but after this trip, I think that's probably not feasiable.
A must-visit place on the Mojave Road is Fort Piute. After a very rocky ascend into the mountain, we see the ruins of a fort that used to guard the spring waters in the 1850s.
We continued on from Fort Piute and reached Lanfair Valley. That marked the end our trip, but I do plan to come back and continue the Mojave Road from here in the future.
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].
In an effort to take myself out of my current photography rut, I've started taking my camera to work. I leave it turned on during my commute, ready to snap at anything I see interesting. It's helping, I think. It forces me to observe more, think more, instead of just space out during the drive. I can't say the images are very interesting, but this will have to do until I find more chances to shoot more seriously.
I heard someone said "There's no way out but through", and I liked it. When you're stuck in something, whether it's a creative rut or depression or something else, sometimes there's no way to get to the other side except fighting your way through. You fight it by doing what you're suppose to do, or what you would do once you reach the other side. Just keep at it, and eventually you'll realize that it's by doing that things improve and breakthrough. Well, here's me... doing it...
Kids are basically sheets of white papers. As parents, the burden is on us to introduce and guide the right elements so that they develop into beautiful paintings one day. There's a lot of attention paid on reading and writing in school, a little lesser on math than I would like, but seriously lacking in the areas of the arts.
My son tells me "I can't draw very good", and I want to tell him that he doesn't have to draw good, he just need to draw. I think kids are inherently creative because they don't yet know the artificial boundaries that we have placed around ourselves. They are more free to experiment, do as they like. Here's famous quote by Pablo Picasso: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."
So, when I can, when I remember, I ask my son to draw something... anything. I think (hope) this would pay off in the long run...
When I think about driving to Las Vegas from L.A., I usually dread that boring 3 to 4 hours drive. There is a high chance of slow moving traffic on certain spots, and some long stretches of nothingness through the desert landscape. So when I had to make that drive this past weekend, I tried to look for interesting places to visit along the way. The Bottle Tree Ranch can be found on the historic Route 66 between Victorville and Barstow.
Apparently, some guy named Elmer just decided to build this in the middle of nowhere. It has grown over the years and the "installation" has gained some notoriety. We spent around 15 minutes just look around the forest of bottle trees and saw other groups of tourists stopping by. Too bad we weren't able to speak to Elmer directly that day.
A few weeks ago, I sent my 4th and 5th roll shot with the SL66 in for processing. It came back today! With great anticipation, I open the envelopes and got ready to scan. As I inspected the negatives and watched the scan comes alive on my computer, I was amazed with how rewarding shooting films can be. It's strange because I know I probably could have capture the same shots with digital and might even get better exposures, but knowing the limitations in the medium and number of available shots, I felt more proud of each properly framed, focused, and exposed shots. Please have a view of the shots below:
In French, it means "against daylight". In photography, it describes the type of shots when shooting toward a light source, or backlit subjects. Lately, I find that I like the look more and more, especially in black and white. I especially love it when the light glows and creates an outline of the subject's face and body.
I've been feeling a bit of shooting drought lately, both on and off the basketball court. I don't know if it's lack of inspirations, opportunities, or just the drive, but I think the best way to get out of the funk is the same: you gotta shoot your way out of it. Just keep shooting.
Today, after coming home from playing basketball, I saw this nice light glowing on the plants we had in the backyard. Before I change out of my dirty shirt, I put on the trusty 50'Lux and went out to take some shots. Nothing earth shattering happened, but it did get me thinking and shooting again. I played with different angles, shooting into the sun and got a few crazy flares.
During post processing, I played with some VSCO film presets again, but decided that I liked the images just as the 50'Lux had rendered. The next two look particularly nice in black and white to me.
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.