Monday, December 12

"Impossible" Lunar Eclipse - 4:00 to 6:45am


Here is a series of photos taken during the lunar eclipse this past week on December 10th. This first photo timed around 4:50am.

The clouds were a bit of a bother the whole evening. Carlos & I drove up to Mullholand Dr, just west of the 405 and found a good turn out. A few pictures down below you can see our basecamp.

We stayed for about 2 hours that morning. It was really a neat site to see the sun coming up directly behind us, while shadowing the moon & creating the eerie red glow.

Basecamp below. Sunrise.

Monday, December 5

Sespe Creek Wilderness Camping

Please click any photo to enlarge. Details are much better. Enjoy.

The above photograph is my first night sky long exposure rough achievement. Gladly taken, for 19 minutes, in the mid 40's fahrenheit, pointed towards the northeast stars, along a tributary of the Sespe Creek, with the small glow of a campfire in the trees.

Facing what I believe is our seventh camping trip of the year, a small troupe of friends set up our tents on the edge of only one of four natural Condor reserves in America, the Sespe Creek Wilderness, outside of Ojai, California. By nightfall on Friday, our staggered arrival finally brought all our adventurers to basecamp, Rose Valley.

The first night we celebrated our dear friend Carlos' quarter of a century birthday, this being the primary motivation for a trip into the outdoors. With a very chilly night & a few hearty laughs, we all set in for a night of rest.

To make an unpleasant story short, we learned quickly that we were camping next to the worst, inebriated, neighbors any of the six of us had ever encountered. Bright an early the next morning, with frost covering everything, Andrew & I took to our cameras. The photo below was captured with cold shaky hands, the sliver of moon in the top middle is just a happy accident.

After breakfast, we set off through the Sespe Creek Wilderness. With mild elevation gain & a few creek crossings the experience was great. The changing falls leavings lining the creek bed of the entire hike is what truly made this a magnificent trip.

After a few twist and turns the valley really opened up. You can notice us hiking in the bottom right side of the above picture. Also take notice, foreshadowed in the clouds, the over 50% chance of rain coming that night.

More time along the trail, pictured above and below. The trail we are hiking consists of two different hot springs destinations, one at nine miles in & the second at fifteen miles in. Mostly over night backpacking in this area.

 Eventually pausing to notice a particularity beautiful grove of trees at the waters edge, we inadvertently found our destination. After a heart lunch & an awe inspiring view of the nature's changing leaves, we set out for some rock hopping.

The creek was like nothing I had experienced before. The colors blending with the still water & the slight call of birds off in the trees. Breathing it all in, deep between the valley hills.

Below is a fairly wide shot of our lunch location along Sespe Creek. Truly a fantastic day hike with some great friends.

That evening we didn't quite get the frost. Pictured below, we got a slow moving cloud cover that turned to an overnight drizzle, not too bad we thought. As morning broke, the rain began to come down steady, but nothing serious. After a rousing game of Scrabble & bagels for breakfast (inside the largest tent Ive ever been in) we set out to tear down camp in the rain & caravan outta the Sespe Creek & the Los Padres National Forest.

 "The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I'm searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible." Galen Rowell

Sunday, November 6

Amongst the Snow & the Sequoias

Above you will see the most "Hollywood" outdoor experience Georgette & I have had yet, int only lasted 20 minutes. We then managed to get a little deeper into the woods, among the snow & the unexpected surprises. 


More of a 'spur of the moment' type trip we decided to tackle while looking out the windows on a rainy Wednesday; "We should go camping this weekend." Sound logic, right?  With a little more gumption than previous trips, we set out for Sequoia National Forest before dawn on Saturday morning.

Setting up camping before noon, with snow all around, after a 5 hr car ride, we were ready to stretch our legs on the trail. Beginning at the world's largest tree (seen in pic one, above) we took a nicely paved path out away from the crowds. Quietly wandering through the woods, we opted at a crossroads for the road less traveled. Traversing now on a dirt path through small snow patches, we were really enjoying our 8 mile walk amongst these huge giants & hidden meadows.


Close to mile 6 of the 8 we eventually hike, we encountered what would become this camping trips best surprise, a large black bear!  About a 100 yards in front of us, coming our direction. Slowly skirting a huge Sequoia, Georgette & I were able to catch glimpses of the bear as he/she passed our direction. Being a bit too curious maybe, I took a step out into the open to get a better look, the bear paused and looked up right at us, peaking out from behind the tree. Shuffling slowly off now, we moved away from the bear, while he/she picked up pace again in the opposite direction. We had connected, but all were safe in the end. 

Sleeping at 6,700ft was a nice experience. Well prepared & fed like a hungry camper should be we enjoyed a wonderful night amongst the snow, campers & the moon. The photo below is a 15 second exposure of us sitting around the campfire a bit after 10pm, in the low 40s.

Here is a 2 minute video from our trip!


The next morning we made a light breakfast & warmed by a fire before a long scenic drive down into Kings Canyon. With more roads open than a previous visit a year ago, we opted for the the Ten Mile Road, which turned out to be a great idea. Taking travels on a smooth road deeper into a different part of the woods, emerging onto a beautiful lake, before taking drivers out to breath taking views of Kings Canyon National Park.

  Click any photo to enlarge.

After our lengthy drive & packing up camp, we tackled one more adventure on the drive out. A treacherous staircase up Moro Rock. In the two photos below you get an idea of the climb. In the second photo look for Georgette in the top left hanging off the edge!!

 Click any photo to enlarge.

Friday, September 30

Afternoon Drive through the Hills of LA

(click any photo to enlarge)

Sometimes it only takes a little motivation to really make the most of an afternoon. The above picture can attest to that, it was taken only 25 minutes off a major highway. With a little planning & some good friends, the road will take you anywhere. If you enlarge, see if you can count the number of ranges in the picture. Truly, this was an great afternoon.

Only a few small hints on this one... Look off 101 for Addamsville Rd (neighborhood st) heading West towards the coast. This was by far the most unimproved & exciting trip yet. Eventually getting so deep into the hills it was blocked off.

 Our second mission was along the ridge top of Piuma Rd. A smooth drive with spectacular views, both inland and out to the ocean. This road really brought out the road lovers. There was people at each turn out enjoying the view after about 4pm.

With a little hidden winery back in the hills.

Friday, August 26

Perseid Meteor Shower 2011

Every year we have a chance to stay up a little bit late & are guaranteed one of mother nature's wonder. Just about 16 miles into the Angeles National Forest on Hwy 2 we found a wonderful private turn out to set up camp in.


There was intention behind our antics though. Closing in on 1am, we had come to view the Perseid Meteor Shower in it's full glory. Parked on the side of the road, perched on the hood of a warm car we starred at the sky to behold a universal wonder.

Before leaving we were able to capture a photo of the guys, but with some interesting results. After a 15 second exposure & a closure look at the results we were all astonished. 

There is still debate if I had captured a meteor flaring up in the background of the photo. With a large white robust head object & what looks like green gases trailing off... it could be?! We believe the red & white horizontal dots were a plane of some nature flying by as well. Lot's of fun things to see. Click photos to enlarge.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27

Hermit Falls Rock Jump

Went to Hermit Falls the other weekend with many friends & many more southern Californians. Estimated at around 35 or 40 other people enjoying the sun & the falls.


Cold water with a great splash. Everyone had a great time all around. This is a must again soon.

Tuesday, July 26

Horse Flats - BBQ Mission

Bit of a late post, but fun to look back all the same. Last month my friend Andrew had the supplies for a beach bonfire, but no pit. So what do we do? Take it to the mountains. Barley hitting an hour outside of LA, we found ourselves backing into a campground at Horse Flats for what was going to be a wonderful bbq dinner amongst the trees.

Hours passed & a wonderful sunset bathed us with light at 6,500ft. Food was devoured & a few good adult sodas were enjoyed. With no intention of staying the night, we said our goodbyes to mother nature & head back down the windy Angeles Crest Hwy to Los Angeles. All around a successful evening mission.

Monday, July 18

Leona Valley Wine Tasting

Few weeks ago Georgette took me out for a great afternoon of wine tasting in a little corner of Los Angeles I never knew existed called Leona Valley. With a great deal from Groupon (hint hint, do again!) we were set for a beautiful scenic canyon drive out to the small town in the north east part of southern California to Leona Valley Wines.

With several great glasses of wine & a hand baked, wood fired, gourmet pizza to compliment them all we thought the afternoon couldn't get any better. While deciding how green we were to wine tasting, one of the two owners came over and sat with us out of the blue & chatted for sum time about the history & their wines. Really driving home the great experience. Only to be topped off with up front horse petting & total free range to roam the vineyards. Guaranteed to be bringing friends back.

Tuesday, July 5

Beauty CULTure


Too many good free things to do in LA... well, this place cost $1 to park. Not to bad. At the Annenberg Space for Photography there is always an exhibit & a wonderful multimedia presentation to compliment the content. Recently opened, Beauty CULTure. Focusing on women in the eye of the world, media & advertising.

The multimedia doc was extremely powerful for this topic. The photos then helped elaborate on the story as the viewer wonders the rest of the halls. Well worth an afternoon trip... then maybe go to Diddy Riese Cookies.

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