Took my first trip into the Death Valley National Park with a few other Revel owners this past weekend. Lucky for us, the temperature reach a nice sweltering 105F just for us. In the dry heat, 85F felt cool. I could really understand where the name came from after seeing how unfriendly to life this place was, and it wasn't even summer yet!
Before entering the park from the west side, we visited some interesting places just outside of the park. Father Crowley Overlook, also known as Star Wars Canyon, is known for watching fighter jets flying through the canyon. We weren't so lucky to see that, but we did spot a fighter jet snaking high in the sky. The road to Wildrose Charcoal Kilns gave us the first taste of off-road driving. We didn't feel the heat until we entered the park proper and stopped at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The heat came from the sun above, as well as the sand below, prompting us to make this a very brief stop.
Continuing our tour of the park, we reach the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin, which was -282 feet below sea level. Someone was nice enough to put a sign halfway up the cliff to mark where the sea level actually was, so we can fully appreciate just how low we were. The Artist Drive which took us to the Artists Palette Overlook was worth the small detour. The view from Zabriskie Point showed us two different types of badlands, one was just plain gold sand, and the other had layers of different sediments drawing lines on the walls.
Second day, driving through Titus Canyon was what everyone was waiting for. It's one-way only, so we didn't have to worry about oncoming traffic as we snake our way up the narrow mountain passes and between the tight canyon walls. I will post a short drone video below of the final stretch of the drive. Ending the day at Dante's View was just the perfect way to cap off our adventures in Death Valley National Park.
I had a rare chance of having a few days to spend by myself, no wife, no kids. So naturally, I thought to myself, where is the one place that I've been dreaming about photographing and can also be an epic camp spot? Being about 3 hours from LA, Trona Pinnacles ticked all the boxes. So I set out on an adventure with all my camera and drone batteries charged.
I knew this wasn't peak season and there shouldn't be any crowds on a week night, but I had no idea I would end up being the only person in the entire area! In the afternoon, there was a few Jeeps, but they did not stay the night. It's an amazing feeling, alone, in a place like this. I rode my bike everywhere to take pictures, flew the drone without need to worry about bothering other people, and played guitar loud while the batteries charged.
This trip would not have happened if I didn't own the Revel. Having a 4x4 capable van that I can live comfortably in has encouraged me to go places that I would not have dared. It doesn't take any pictures, but I think I'd consider it a photographic tool :)
To see the full set of the images, [CLICK HERE]
After getting the Winnebago Revel home, I immediately started adding some small mods to make living in the RV a little bit more comfortable. For our first proper trip, we revisited the Brown's Owens River Campground near Mammoth Lakes. It was perfect timing, too, because we left LA just as a monster heat wave slammed it.
Not a lot of pictures from this trip because there was too much fun to be had. While the boys were off fishing and off-road riding, I took some time to take some arial footage from the Mavic Air.
Just a couple of miles from the campground, there was Convict Lake, which is a beautiful lake sitting at the bottom of giant mountains. We didn't spend a lot of time here since we only came here for the free RV dump station, but it's now on my list to visit for the future.
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.
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.