Photographing Yosemite in the Winter.

This will be the first year we get to take our Roadtrek Agile, Charley, to Yosemite in the Winter and I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about driving those icy winter roads in my multi-ton Class B.  However, I think if we stick to moderately dry weather days we’ll be okay.  There is certainly a lot of motivation for going, because Winter is the very best time to photograph the park.

Most of the year, the great photographs of Yosemite can only happen in the very early morning and in the late afternoon.  Those are the times of day when the sunlight is soft enough to avoid overly harsh contrast.  But the light in the winter is low all day long, and many days are filled with clouds and fog, both of which even out the available light.  There are some days in the Winter when you can shoot all day long while you enjoy the ever-changing light on Yosemite’s huge granite cliffs.

So, where should you go?  Continue reading

Travels with Charley – The Eastern Sierras and Fall Color

This past weekend, Rochelle and I travelled over the Tioga Pass in Yosemite to visit the Eastern Sierras. SONY DSC We try to do this at least once a year, as the Eastern side of the Sierras offers much more in the way of Fall Colors than over here in the Western Foothills.  This time, we explored the June Lake Loop, just south of Lee Vining off of highway 395.

The June Lake Loop is 16 miles of the most beautiful Aspen Groves I’ve ever seen.  The groves are on the hillsides, along streams in the canyons and they surround the various little lakes along the road.  There are numerous places to pull over (our RT Agile had no problems with the turnouts) and enjoy the view.  Continue reading

A Little Bit about Charley

Charley, our new Roadtrek Motorhome, is officially named the Agile SS, with the SS standing for Short Sprinter.  It’s about 19 1/2 feet long (more like 20 1/2 with the continental kit on the back), six feet wide and nearly 10 feet tall from the ground to the top of the air conditioner.  Charley started out life as a Mercedes Sprinter Van, with a nice turbo-diesel engine that gets nearly 20 miles per gallon.  The folks up in Canada at the Roadtrek plant modified the van and added loads of standard features, including a power sofa that converts to a bed, a small, but usable bathroom with shower and a pretty complete kitchen.  There’s all of the standard motorhome features as well, like a built-in generator, water heater, television, inverter, etc.

The selling factor for us wasn’t really how much Charley resembles a larger motorhome, but how much Charely reminds us of a car.  We can drive it like a car.  Park it like a car.  Store it like a car (well, it doesn’t fit in the garage, but that’s another story.)  For photographers, it’s the perfect combination.  We can sleep in it.  Eat it in.  Shower in it.  And we can also make those unplanned quick-stops at the side of the road when we see a photo opportunity.  We can also easily park it at events, street fairs and other busy tourist spots. Continue reading

Travels with Charley

A few months ago, my wife Rochelle and I decided that our Photography Obsession would be greatly enhanced with the addition of a new motorhome.  Long thought was given to the decision (I’m sure that sounds familiar to most of you) and compromises needed to be made.  Did we want to roll around the country in absolute comfort, bringing along half of our household inventory.? Or, did we want to be nimble and quick so we could capture those little bits of the day that seem to disappear before you can say “Stop right here!”.

SONY DSCI won’t bore you with the details.  After everything was considered, we decided the Roadtrek Agile fit our needs perfectly.  No longer than a big pickup truck, we could drive, maneuver and park like a car.  Perfect for those little turnouts on the side of the road.  But the Agile is also a fully equipped motorhome, so we didn’t have to forgo our much-beloved creature comforts.  And, if you’re reading this, you probably have, or soon will, come to the same conclusion. Continue reading