"To me, photography is not just taking a frame of life, but living in a moment. Taking photographs puts me in a relaxed, focused state of mind, forgetting the daily riggers of life. "
Welcome to my travels blog.
I have made many travels in my past but have never written about them. Of course most of my travels have been made before blogging was around. Now that it is, I thought I'd take advantage of it as many are doing.
I just recently bought a 19' travel trailer which will be my new 'photo-shop' for my domestic travels and photo taking. I look forward to showing off some of my favorite photos from my trips in this blog. The majority of the others will be in a gallery section of my portfolio.
So let's begin............
August 20, 2016
This was my first time taking the trailer out for a test run. This RVing is all new to me and is a huge learning curve. I wanted to test drive it and take it someplace close by (Emma Long Park here in Austin) to make sure all was functioning inside and out. It went well and all tested out 100%!
We got some rain. Was surprised how well the awning kept the rain off the covered area. Thought it would soak thru but it didn't. Was able to sit under it the whole time it rained. Very nice! After it rained the sun came out. I noticed how nice the rain drops clung to the tree leaves with the sun shining thru the leaves and rain drops. Photo op!! Here are a couple of shots:
After the photo op, it was time to grill my steak filet with my salad and of course a glass of wine or two:)
Thanks for viewing my first trip. I look forward to my next one soon and hope you join me for that one too! Chow
September 2-5, 2016
Labor Day week-end (took Friday off so had an extra day). This was my first long trip with my new RV. A 9 hour drive from Austin (well, I did make 4 stops, only drove 65mph and had a nice lunch at a rest stop for a while in my trailer). Stayed at a small RV park in Fort Davis for hook-ups. All went well and really enjoyed:)
West Texas, Davis Mountains. Beautiful scenery and great climate.
It's also home to McDonald's Observatory. At night, it's the darkest spot in North America, hence, putting this observatory here. I took my first 'astrological' photos. Have to say, I need a bit more practice:(
Got some pretty decent photos but nothing to really write home to mom about as they say:)
All and all had a great trip and look forward to my next one! Keep in touch.
September 16-18, 2016
Took another quick 3 day week-end to head down to Huntsville State Park which is a part of Sam Houston National Forest. About a 4 hour drive (normally about 3 if your not pulling a trailer). Very beautiful, however, the weather was very humid which put a 'damper' on the trip. Tried to make the most of it and still enjoy it. Got a few nice pics, did some reading and a lot of relaxing which is hard to do in humid air. Didn't just want to sit in the trailer with the windows closed and air conditioning on. Could have been at home to do that. Anyway, did some hiking and picture taking. Here are a few I like:
Have a few more you can see, just click on any of the pics above and it'll take you to the gallery.
So, again, all and all was great (but the humidity). Loving the trailer:) See you on the next trip!
October 25-28, 2016
Well, it's been a while since my last trip and good to be back. That's the problem when one still works full time. Not complaining about work mind you, but one's mind is always some place else, at least mine is.
This time it's magnificent Caddo Lake in northeast Texas bordering Louisiana. It was about a 7 hour drive from Austin. Can't believe I drive over 7 hours and I'm still in the same state. The lake is primarily bayou, especially on the Texas side which makes it a photographers paradise. Some of the beautiful and unique vegetation had already expired unfortunately. The leave colors were just starting to turn just a bit. It's been a warm Fall for us causing the little leave change color that we do get, is later this year. I rented a guide (don't try this by yourself....can very easily get lost) to take me around at sunrise and again around sunset. Anytime actually would be really good in this situation.
I would strongly recommend Caddo Lake as a 'go to' place. I stayed in the Caddo Lake State Park which is also very nice. Great picture opportunities there too with a water inland with beautifully cypress. Canoe rentals avail of course...and you won't get lost:).
Anyway, here are a few pics. Hope you take to time to view the entire gallery. Sorry for too many pics but had a hard time editing down.
My next trip is planned between Christmas and New Years to White Sands New Mexico area. Hope the weather will be nice and not too cold:)
Till then, Happy Holidays and Be Safe!
December 25-31, 2016
Well, it's been a while, but finally got a chance to take a few days off and head West to New Mexico again. Spent some time in the White Sands and surrounding areas. The weather was great for this time of the year......low 60's in the afternoon and mid to upper 30's at night.
White sands was pretty awesome. Very unique. Definitely recommend it. Depending on the crowds, you may have to do some hiking out in the more remote areas to get some decent shots of some undisturbed sands. Some very nice vegetation in some parts also.
Also took a drive up to Mescalero and Ruidoso, then up to Ski Apache on Mount Blanca, then over to a lava flow that occurred about 1500 years ago, The Malpais Nature Trail, outside of the town of Carrizozo. It's pretty much covered with local vegetation but still interesting to check out.
Here are a few pics from White Sands. You'll see the other locations in the Gallery site.
Again, another wonderful trip. Getting to be winter time even here in Austin, TX, so probably will lay low till Spring. Want to take the trip I wanted to take last Spring.....Gran Tetons, Moab and Monument Valley. So hope to make it this Spring........stay tuned:)
February 18-20, 2017
OK! 2017! Been a real warm winter here in Texas, so just a quick trip to a state park not too far from Austin, Inks Lake. Never been there, heard a lot of nice things about it, been meaning to go there but every time I tried to book a site, always 'NONE' available. It's a popular family spot.
OK, a popular spot but after going there......not my style. First of all, not really a unique spot for unique photo ops (and that is my primary objective) but knew that so I made it just an R&R, get out of town type trip.
It's a nice enough area and surroundings but it's a HUGE RV site. 60+ RV sites not to mention a number of cabins and of course tent sites. I felt like I was in a middle of a huge suburbia community. And this was OFF season! So needless to say, this is not my type of 'hang-out'.
They do have some nice typical Central Texas geography type trails. Some trails have a decent shot of the lake, but nothing to write home to mom about. The nicest as far as a decent photo op was the Valley Spring Creek Waterfall Trail. If you're lucky enough to catch it when it's flowing (which may not happen mid summer) you can get a nice waterfall shot:
So all in all a nice R&R couple of days and was able to come back with a couple of decent pics.
My next BIG adventure will be in mid May. Taking 3 weeks off to head up to Wyoming for the Grand Tetons, then down to Utah for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, then over to Arizona for Monument Valley. And last but not least Antelope Canyon. Really looking forward to that trip and hope you come back for some pics from all that. Till then.....Happy Shooting!
May 13 - June 2, 2017
Hi! Good to be back! 20 days on the road and 3,760 miles.
Quite the adventure! Left Texas for Wyoming, to Utah and Arizona and then back to Texas. Happy to report all went well with a couple of small hiccups.
Did have a flat on my truck the first day. Fortunately it was a slow leak. A small town was 5 miles away and was able to make it to a tire repair just in time in that it was flat when I got there. They patched it and I was on the road again in 2 hours.
The weather was great the whole trip.
Bit cold one night in Wyoming at the Tetons. Got down to 21 degrees. Froze my pipes but happy to say no damage was done when they thawed out. Lots of blowing sand in the desert regions of Utah and Arizona but the temps were comfortable.
My first stop was the Grand Teton National Park. Pretty awesome mountain range. Again, it's not the Alps, but still awesome. Snowed off and on a couple of days which hindered the view but had enough breaks to get some decent shots:
After 3 days at the Tetons, was time to move to warmer climate, so off to the Arches and Canyon Lands. Did 5 days there dry camping. Had no reservation but got VERY lucky and got a nice spot at Goose Island Campground (which was the spot I was hoping for!). Used my generator on the 4th day for a few hours to charge up the bats.
The Arches too were awesome. Big crowds already for being fairly early in the vacation season but hey, what can ya do?
The Canyon Lands was nice but didn't spend much time there. Vast overviews which are great depending on sunrise and sunset. Helps if you have nice cloud formations too which I didn't have. My big disappointment was the iconic Mesa Arch sunrise shot. Got there about 30 minutes prior to sunrise and was shocked to see already a throve of people. Asked one couple what time they got there--said 4am.......2 and a half hours before sunrise! I did the best I could for the spot I was able to finagle.
One more thing I'd like to mention about Moab. There is a VERY beautiful15 mile scenic drive (Route 128) that runs along the Colorado River. Highly recommend that drive. Also has a very nice trailhead hike (Negro Bill Canyon)
After 5 days in Moab, I'm looking forward to Monument Valley and all the classic icons there.
I spent 3 days there and enjoyed every minute of it Got some decent sunrise and sunset shots. The drive thru Monument Valley Drive was awesome but very rugged. Would not recommend using your own vehicle unless it has a fairly high clearance. You won't need 4 wheel drive. Try not to take the tours. Very expensive and doesn't give you many stops. Seems almost impossible to try and shoot as the vehicle is moving in that it's so bumpy.
After 3 days in Monument Valley, I'm eager to get to my last stop......Antelope Valley.....been really looking forward to see how well I do with this challenging setting.
My first stop was Horse Shoe Bend. Real happy with the shots I got. Recommend the sunrise over the sunset shot. Careful not to get too close to the edge.....no guard rails......it's a long way down!
I took two photographer tours. One day the Upper Valley and the second day the Lower Valley. Glad I did, both very nice. Even though I paid extra for a photographers group, you still have to deal with the general crowd, and I do mean CROWD! A real zoo. The only advantage with a photographers tour was they held the crowd back for a couple of minutes so you can get a clean shot. Your have to shoot quick and hope for the best. It's a challenging shoot. Shoot in manual on a tripod, low iso, evaluative exposure setting. If the highlights look too overexposed, bracket down a stop. The shoots will come out a bit dark in the shadows but shooting in Raw with bring them up. Shooting low iso (100) will hold those shadows well. Think considering all the obstacles I came away with some pretty decent shots:
So after 3 days in Page, it was time to head back home.
It would be a 3 day drive but I was eager to make it in 2 to get off the road and sleep in my 'other' bed. So I drove about 13 hours the first day and 14 hours the second. Pulled in my driveway bout 8p. Just enough light left in the day to unhitch and straighten up a few things.
This trip has been a real blessing. Enjoyed it very much. Have gotten pretty used to the travel trailer now. It's been a real champ. Have about 4,500 miles on it for it's first year. Look for many more in the near future. Still have a couple of weeks vacation time. I need to have my 'international fix'. Will leave my trailer home and fly to Hong Kong for 9 days in November. That will make for some wonderful pics for sure:) Hope to share with you right here shortly thereafter......
......till then, thanks for visiting!