I know I didn't keep up well with my trip on my blog; things got very crazy and I was very busy. Wow is all I have to say.
What an experience that was. Two weeks on the road, starting with one night in Yosemite National Park, then a stop in Santa Rosa, CA to link up with a few friends, a sunset in Bodega Bay at Goat Rock, a stop in the Redwoods National Park for a night, then a straight shot to Oregon. Zero plan, just a camera, some food, a change or two of clothes, and the burning desire to create content and broaden my horizons.
I stopped in Bodega Bay after the Yosemite National Park for a shot that I had wanted to get for a long time. The sun was scheduled to set perfectly along side the infamous Goat Rock. I set up shop at a nearby parking lot and waited for the sun to set after finding my composition. I took advantage of this time to edit some photos, write, and relax. This is where I wrote my Yosemite blog, which you can read by clicking here.
Watching the sun set at Goat Rock was unbelievable. There was a family below me and it reminded me of my own as I grew up; an older man, and two little boys who reminded me of my brother and I. I watched them enjoy their time and soak up the sun and it reminded me of my grandfather watching my little brother and I play at Lake Isabella as children.
The sun was finally beginning to set so I wrapped up my blog and began to set up my tripod and align my composition. The sunset was unforgettable, and the photo proves it. The waves along the coastline provide for a perfect leading line into the area of focus; Goat Rock and the setting sun.
After taking this photograph, I packed everything up and got myself prepared for my night's sleep before heading up to the Redwoods. I set up my grill and cooked dinner, inflated my air mattress and fell into my slumber.
I woke up to a light flashing in my face from the outside of my truck bed through my camper. It was a police officer that had approached my truck to tell me I was not allowed to be sleeping there. I told him I was on the road and wanted to catch some sleep before heading farther up the coast because I was falling asleep at the wheel. He understood but continued to tell me how a few years back a couple was sleeping here on this beach and a psychotic local shot them both in their head in their sleep; I'm not sure if he was trying to scare me out of there but it most definitely worked because I got little to no sleep. I woke up to shoot the morning fog rolling in and headed out to my next adventure. (thank you officer for not citing me btw cuz i was already balling on a budget haha)
It was my birthday and I was on my way to the 101 freeway out of Bodega Bay. As I was on the winding canyon road, I was wished a happy birthday by my two favorite people; my grandfather and my best friend Ricardo. With chills running down my spine and tears in my eyes, I took this photograph.
I made a pit-stop in Jenner, CA because of the beautiful coastline complimented by the fog (which we don't get too much of in Southern California). I also wanted to get wifi to get my navigation to the Redwoods but I couldn't find any. Here is an image from Jenner.
I stopped for coffee and some quick edits just outside of Jenner. Once I was finished it was a straight shot to the Redwoods; 286 miles on the 101-north.
The Redwoods was a truly majestic place and was something that I have never experienced. Being surrounded by enormous Redwood trees does something special to a person like me; it really made me feel small compared to everything in the world. It helped remind me that my problems are so minimal and unnecessary because they are such a small part of my long adventure ahead of me that is life.
I stopped at a small campsite on the De Norte Coast just shy of Crescent City. There were about 25 Westfalia and VW vans, which is a photographers dream.
I adventured around the campsite a bit was feeling too tired to take any of the hike trails. My photos from the Yosemite National Park were being featured on CBS news so I walked up the road a bit to see if I could connect to the wifi at the campground HQ but apparently they turn it off at night. As I was walking I saw beautiful light through the trees and decided to stop for a photograph. I was by myself and didn't have anyone to stand in as a subject so I took advantage of my self-timer and took a selfie.
After my night at the Redwoods, it was time for the long stretch; 7 hrs to Oregon. I was planning on shooting at Detroit Lake just below Portland, but was recommended by a friend (IG @BayleyJunes) that I should shoot at Lost Lake underneath Mt. Hood instead, and we ended up meeting up there at about 10:30 pm. We had a short walk to the lake and I set up my camera for some astrophotography. There was a fire in the Portland area, causing smoke to cover the Milky Way core. Although you couldn't see the core, I was still content with the outcome of the photograph and was anxious to shoot this scene in the morning for sunrise.
This photo is available for sale in print here.
After some astrophotography and getting to know Bayley a bit, I prepared for my next nights sleep. I had high hopes for the next morning's scenery.
I woke up and got my equipment together and went to the same location as the night before but with a different composition in mind. I noticed the nearby trees and shrubs which allowed for an opportunity to express the depth of the view in front of me, from the opposite side of the lake to the beautiful Mount Hood being lit up by the rising sun. Here is the outcome.
The next day we did some adventuring and shot around a bit and had to wrap it up because Bayley had work the next day. I had heard of a location under the name of Silver Falls, so I decided to drive there at about 10:00 PM. After a long 2 1/2 hour drive and almost falling asleep at the wheel, I finally made it to my amazing 5-star roadside campsite (sarcasm). Once I was finished fighting a bumblebee out of the cab of my truck it was time for some long overdue sleep. I woke up at 5:30 AM and drove to the trailhead of the North Falls at Silver Falls and got myself ready for this 8-mile long solo hike. At first I was skeptical but it didn't take long until I was resembling a little child going to an amusement park for his first time. Here are the photos to prove it:
I was absolutely beat. I don't do much hiking when I am at home, so this was a serious struggle for me. For some reason, I thought it would be okay that I didn't eat anything before heading on the trail and I was terribly mistaken. Although I was sore for the next few days, it was more than worth the experience.
After doing some beach camping with some newly found friends for a few days, Bayley and I decided to head up the coast farther than I had planned to. We decided to head up to Washington, where I was planning to pick up a friend of mine, Nolan Easley. I was blown aweay by the scenery.
Just when I thought I had seen it all, Washington surprised me with epic light and absolutely amazing nature landscapes filled with trees and beautiful creek, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls.
After watching the sunset, we knew we had to pick up Nolan the next so we camped in Seattle. We decided to take my truck up a logging road with loose gravel to get to a view spot for sunrise and ended up getting stuck on an uphill slope that I couldn't get out of. Our hopes of shooting the sunrise were shot, and we had little cellular reception and nobody to get a hold of at 2 AM. We were literally in the middle of nowhere with no way out; at least we had a beautiful night sky to watch as we wondered how the f..... you get the point.
We threw up an ad on craigslist, and thankfully enough a man contacted us and was willing to come to our rescue. We got pulled out of the road and got out of there (FINALLY).
The time had come; it was time to pick up my buddy Nolan. I knew this would be awesome because Nolan is my partner-in-crime when it came to photography, and I knew the inspiration would be rampant when him, Bayley, and I were all together creating. We headed straight to Mount Rainier National Park to shoot the sunset, camp, and shoot the sunrise at Tipsoo Lake. I was in awe as we drove down the National Park road. Mount Rainier absolutely blew me away; making me feel small as did the Redwood National Forest.
Full of inspiration and good vibes, we spent the next 12 hours sharing music and creating art. Here are some of my images from Mount Rainier National Park:
On our way out, we decided to stop at our next location; Smith Rock. Smith Rock View was a short but very uphill hike. Still sore from my Silver Falls hike, I was struggling (not to mention my camera bag weighs a metric ton, and I also forgot to take my laptop out of it).
The sunset was unbelievable. I'm not sure what it is, but it seemed as though fire was everywhere. There was a fire in the distance, casting a red hue setting sun which illuminated the sky. I sat there, breathing the fresh air, and enjoyed the view; thankful for living such a beautiful life and for my health and well being.
After a long 2 weeks, my journey was finally coming to an end.
We camped at Sparks Lake before our long trek down to the very bottom of Oregon where we would shoot at Samuel H. Boardman for the sunset and continue to enjoy our last night in the Pacific Northwest. Although I didn't want to leave, I was looking forward to being with family and friends again.
6 1/2 hours to the tip of the Redwood National Park to book our campsite at the same location as at the beginning of my journey. Thankfully we got a walk-in site; once it was booked, we were back up north 30 minutes in Oregon to capture one of my favorite images from the whole trip. I will let it speak for itself
This photo is available for sale in print here.
There was beautiful light being casted between the beautiful rocks of Samuel H. Boardman, which provided leading lines to the distant lonely tree at the edge of the rock, surrounded by many other trees behind it. This tree reminded me of myself before I left for my trip, which led me to composing this image as I did. The tree is balanced at the edge, as was I. This tree has many trees behind it, which to me resembled my support system; family. friends, and fans of my work. It was the perfect way to end my trip; it helped me realize how lucky I am to have the support behind me that I do, even though sometimes it is hard to recognize.
This trip changed my life. It was my first long journey, and it sparked a fire inside of me that will forever burn. My inspiration was sent into an all time high, and I will not stop from here on out until I have what is I want in life in the palm of my hand. The sights that I saw will forever be etched in my memory, and the photos will forever remind me of the beginning of a story that I will be writing until the day that I die. A story that I plan on living forever; the story of a kid with a dream, chasing it no matter what emotions or demons are trying to hold him back. A story of a kid trusting nothing but his own gut instinct and passion.
If you read all the way through this blog, I applaud and thank you for supporting me and enjoying my work. You people mean the world to me. I know there aren't many of you, if any, but if you are out there, just know you can do whatever you want to do. The only person that is holding you back is yourself. Go out and do whatever your heart desires; I promise you, it will pay off.
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