Rochelle and I love our Roadtrek Agile, because we can pick up and go at little notice, with only the barest preparations. The last two weekends we threw our cameras, a change of clothes and a bag of groceries into Charley and headed off to some of our favorite California shooting locations.
If you’ve driven up or down California, you have surely seen our major highways, and you probably stopped at one of the numerous rest stops that show up every hundred miles or so. But what you might not know is California is home to another, completely different highway. One that offers some of the most picturesque rest stops you’ve ever seen. Of course, this highway is for the birds.
And no, I don’t mean it’s full of potholes and run-down truck stops. I mean it is “literally” for the birds. It’s called the Pacific Flyway, and every year hundreds of thousands of birds make their winter migration up and down it through the State of California. And being welcoming hosts, we’ve set aside vast tracks of land in the middle of the State for our feathered friends to sit back, rest up and grab a bite to eat. Continue reading →
Rochelle and I have two things that get us out of the house on a regular basis. One is our Roadtrek Agile Motorhome “Charley” and the other is our love for photography. It’s a pretty cool combination. Charley takes us wherever we want to go, without giving up any of our much-cherished creature comforts. And our passion for photography gets us out of bed, and off to visit some amazing scenes that many folks might skip in favor of an extended breakfast.
Lately, we’ve been spending some of our long weekends north of San Francisco in what I’m going to call the “Great Photography Triangle”. Our triangle starts at a point just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. From there, we travel in a northwesterly fashion through the Point Reyes National Seashore to the second point on the Sonoma Coast. From there, our travels take us directly west to the picturesque town of Petaluma. And finally, we travel south to reach our starting point, which we merrily pass by on the way home.
Of course, no photography outing consists of straight lines. In fact, our “Great Photography Triangle” looks more like a drawing from a two-year old, with lots of crisscrossed lines, smudges, hand prints, cereal spills and, well, you get the picture. Photography isn’t so much about finding an exact spot as it is about finding the light. And if the light isn’t there, maybe you can find a nice bakery instead which, by the way, is always my number one backup plan. Continue reading →
We just got back from the Eastern Sierras and the Fall Colors are out in full. You probably only have a few days left to enjoy one of California’s most popular photography events.
We began our journey by loading up Charley, our Roadtrek camper van, and heading over Yosemite’s Tioga Pass. The pass tops out at 11,000 ft., but it’s a good road, and they’ve kept the really steep parts to a minimum. The only problem with traveling through the Yosemite high county is how much will power you’ll need to avoid stopping at every turnout. There are vistas that will simply stun your eyeballs with their size and grandeur, and then there are those lush Tuolumne meadows that might just beckon you to spend an afternoon lazily wondering about, or enjoying a secluded picnic. But fall happens but once a year, so try to keep your eyes on the road and your mission in mind. I know it’s tough, but nobody ever said photography was easy!
On our recent trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Rochelle and I learned some hard lessons in mastering the art of wildlife photography, and while neither of us claims to be anything close to a master at it now, we did pick up some valuable, hard-earned knowledge. And I’d like to pass on some of our experiences to you, in the hopes that you can avoid some of our trials and most of our errors.
Before we get into the whole “photographiness” of the story, I have to remind you, as I reminded myself over and over again, it really doesn’t matter all that much if you get a perfect photograph of a bear, a moose or an elk. What is much more important is taking the time to see and experience these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
We visited the two parks in late June, and there were animal babies all over the place. Watching the interaction between the mothers and the babies was a priceless experience and when I think of the time I spent looking at them through my viewfinder, I remember how personal each of those experiences was, not only for them, but for me too. So, my advice is to be patient, enjoy the experience, and if you happen to get a couple of good photographs, just consider them to be icing on the big cake you already have sitting in front of you. Continue reading →
There are a few National Parks that are on nearly everyone’s “Gotta Go” list. I’m sure Yosemite, Glacier and Denali National Parks make it on an awful lot of those lists. But I’d bet Yellowstone is on practically everybody’s. And if you own a Class B motorhome, like our Roadtrek Agile Charley, Yellowstone isn’t written on the list in pencil. It’s written in ink! And it never gets crossed out, no matter how many times you go.
Rochelle and I recently returned from a wonderful road trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. It was one of those special trips where, on the long drive home, we already started planning for our return. I can still hear the cry of the bear cub who “misplaced” his mom, and the excited voices coming from folks hunched over their scopes who spied wolf cubs romping in the grass. And the wildlife was only part of the story. The skies decided to grace us with a cloud show like I’ve never seen down here in dry, dry California. And we were able to take part in it all, from the comfort of our little Class B Motorhome Charley.
I’m going to break up this story so I can give a little more detail about the two parks. That’s because most stories about the parks shortchange the Grand Tetons in favor of its big brother Yellowstone to the north. But if you’ve ever visited the Grand Tetons, you already know that this is a park that doesn’t take second billing lightly. In fact, it may be my favorite of the two, even rivaling Yosemite for that special “Photographer’s Dreamland” space in my heart. Continue reading →