Today I share with you quite a few images from my recent trip to southern California. Before I share the images, I want to let folks know that I am still processing my thoughts. Part of that process is working through the images and memories. For me personally, the images tell my experiences better than words. In the coming days, I will be sharing more thoughts on this trip in pictures and words both here and on the Salsa blog. For now you’ll need to settle with just images.
I chose to share these 15 B & W because I think they tell a story that hasn’t been told yet. My friends that went on this trip have all shared some images and all of them were in color. I thought I’d give you a bit of a different feel. I also prefer black and white so I think these images resonate with me more than color. I’ll be sharing color images in SC Take 2 coming up later this week.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the images and since I haven’t gotten my words together yet to describe how this trip played out, please leave me a comment if you have a specific question. Also, since I haven’t used the gallery feature here before, click on the first image to view a larger slide show. Enjoy.
These trips and experiences are incredibly challenging. At times they are crushing. But in the end, they are incredibly rich and at times rewarding beyond comprehension.
This is probably my favorite image as well as my favorite group shot from last week. I took it toward the end of second day. We were tired and weathered already. We paid for every mile up to this point. The moment captured above we stopped to not only rest in the shade, but take in the vast, beautiful and incredible landscape we were in. I bet each and every one of us at that point had no idea what was in store for us in the final 25 or so miles of the Anza Borrego desert.
As I look at the picture I imagine all the things that led up to this point as well as what came after. What a great group of folks. Each of us on different paths and in different places, yet thanks to bikes, friends, dreams and the internet, each of our paths led us to that exact moment to share together. For me, that is the reward and the dominating memory of this journey. Thank you gents!
Just a very quick update that I have made it home from my little vacation and journey. Off loading pictures as I write this. I went into this trip with a pretty solid plan for the ride and a vision for my images. Despite that, this trip didn’t turn out as planned in terms of the route or the images I captured. Makes me wonder do they ever turn out as planned? Apparently, there was another plan. All that said, it was incredible and just what my body and soul needed. Here is just one quick pic from the Anza Borrego desert to give you an idea of the journey. Enjoy your day. More to come.
I am taking a break here @ ImagineGnat. I am headed out to test my mind, my body and my equipment. Time to learn something new about myself, my world and my gear. See you all on the 29th or 30th back here.
Fall and autumn colors are really trying to hang on. Last Friday morning I got out early with a plan to ride Lebanon Hills. As I was heading over, I got distracted by a small lake on the side of the road. I’ve not bothered on stopping because it is on a part of the park that is off limits to bike. But this time, I stopped. Looked at it. Leaned my bike up against the gate and hiked down to it. I am glad I did. Check out the warm morning light bringing the colors out on the lake. I would not have seen this without getting off my bike and walking down to the water.
That brief stop set the tone for the rest of the ride. It was morning and I had Lebanon Hills to myself. There was not another car in the lot. I only stopped once to take a picture and that is when I ran across one tree that could not hold it’s leaves any longer.
I love that we get 4 very different and unique seasons here in MN. That said, I am hanging on to every bit of fall we have as I’m not quite ready for the next season yet. C’mon fall. Hang on just a bit longer.
I had planned on a second installment of Random Thoughts on Gear today, but yesterdays ride was too good not to share. The images below are all from yesterday. It was one of those perfect fall days that started out well before sunrise. In prepping for an upcoming trip, I also decided to carry some of my gear and make coffee somewhere en route. I love these morning rides where I am out there surrounded by darkness until sun up. It is my personal time and it gives me the opportunity to focus on the path, both trail and life, in front of me. They give me time to think. Sometimes my thoughts are very random and all over the place. Yesterday, I was focused for much of the ride pondering a comment someone made to me the other day. This person declared something followed by a question. “Blogs are dead. Why do you keep doing it?” Well, let me tell you.
It certainly isn’t because I’m paid to do it. In fact, this blog costs me money to keep open and operate. I don’t get paid to do it for work either. Despite having a link to my work just to the right of this post, this isn’t advertising like some have said to me. Nope, this blog is me and me alone. If some of the imagery has a resemblance to what I do professionally it is because I am doing what I love and sometimes work is blurred with my personal life. It’s a choice. It doesn’t always come easy. In fact it is hard sometimes, but I have chosen this life. I am thankful for it and I am the only person responsible for my actions.
Why do I keep this blog going? It certainly would be easier at times to simply let it go and not do it, but that just doesn’t seem to work for me. I keep up with this blog because somewhere deep inside of me I hope my images and words occasionally get people fired up to go out into this incredible world we live in and live life to the fullest. I also have a relentless pursuit of learning going on here. Over the past few years some of you that have been around that long have seen me progress quite a ways in my photography. I just love learning. This blog helps me stay inspired to try new things and it keeps me moving forward.
So that is why I do it. And with that, I want to share some images I really love from yesterday. They have meaning to me. Heck, maybe they only mean something to me. That’s OK as this is my blog and I get to write and share about what I am personally passionate about. But maybe they will inspire just one person that lands here on this page to get out there. Try something different. Pursue your passion. Do what you love.
I don’t know entirely where this blog is taking me but I hope you stick around for the ride. Maybe you will be inspired. That is why I do it.
I spent the weekend at home with the kids and preparing for an upcoming bikepacking vacation. Whenever I am prepping for another trip, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about gear. Today you get some ramblings in no particular order.
My bike – In reviewing this trip, I wrestled with what bike to bring? Their were 3 Salsa bike options; my Fargo, my El Mariachi and a Spearfish. Considering I don’t own a Spearfish, the choice quickly went down to the Fargo and the EM. I really wanted to ride the El Mariachi with a suspension fork but given I haven’t ridden flat bars all that much this year I was worried about repeated long days of pedaling with flat bars and hand numbness. The last time I switched to flat bars after primarily riding drop bars was Kokopelli a few years ago. My hands went numb on that trip. I can’t risk it on this trip. So my trusty Fargo with Woodchippers got the nod for this trip. For those that are about to write a comment telling me I can put a suspension fork on my Fargo, you are right, but I don’t own one any longer with a steer tube long enough. The message buried deep into these words is ride what you know. I love my Fargo.
Camera – The number one thing sending people to this site in terms of keyword searching is camera gear. In particular, Sony NEX gear. Top keyword searches and posts here on Imaginegnat are NEX 7, E mount 50mm f1.8, Sigma 19mm, and Zeiss 24mm f1.8. Well….Other than some film camera related posts, I haven’t written about my main cameras in some time, but I must confess. I have sold off ALL my Sony NEX gear. Why? Honestly, there are many reasons.
The first being weather sealing. I had trouble last fall on a wet Hawaii trip and also earlier this year in Japan. In the rain, I had the camera lock up forcing me to reboot repeatedly, thus, losing all my settings and controls. It’s also very frustrating. I just can’t have that happen.
Images – My family did a North Shore/BWCA trip earlier this year. I took two cameras, my Sony NEX with 2 lenses and my Nikon DSLR with 2 lenses. I shot both cameras quite a lot. Given point one above, any time we were out in a canoe or in a situation where it looked like rain, I brought my Nikon DSLR. When I returned, I sorted images for personal use, blog use and a few for a future project. Of the images I chose, about 75% of those were from my Nikon DSLR. In short, I came to the conclusion that I captured more images I liked with my DSLR. That experience also added clarity to something rolling around in my head, that being the conclusion that I liked the size and technology of the NEX cameras but I did not like the images they produce as much as my other camera.
Sony support – The NEX line really falls short in it’s lens offerings. Sure I can use adapters and I did, but Sony was slow to respond with native lenses. They are slowly catching up, but when compared to my Nikon and to micro 4/3rds, they are way, way behind. Additionally, Sony has been slow to issue much needed firmware updates. Again, I love Sony for pushing the boundaries of technology, but they also need to invest in their current customers. It just isn’t happening.
There are other reasons too such as overheating of the sensor while recording movies and a few issues with the EVF in certain situations, but for me those weren’t main factors, they just added to my decision to move on.
Bikepacking Gear – That is my set up above. The bar bag is the one time per day use stuff. This includes bivy, Tyvek ground cloth, sleeping pad and down quilt. The seat bag is quite accessible and will primarily have clothes in it as well as a few misc items and some food. Framebag will primarily be water, food and very small cook kit. Back pack will be my camera and my rain jacket as well as extra water for one of the really long days in the California heat and desert.
It sort of goes without saying, but whenever you prep for a trip and force yourself to make decisions, the final choices almost always come down to what you know and what you are comfortable with.
I wrote yesterday how I was home with the kids. Perfect day with two bike rides. Early AM ride at Leb followed by a great ride at Murphy with my kiddos! Glad we got out because today looks gloomy. Hope your weekend is off to a great start.