Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 photo year in review

2013 was a great year for my photography. I feel like I learned a lot; from shooting techniques all the way down to processing techniques. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit a lot of new places, and head back to some familiar places that we love.  It was a year that we pretty much stayed around the west coast, only traveling outside of Cali to head up to the Pacific Northwest again. I also forced myself to get out more and explore the local areas for some good spots. Here is a recap:

1.  February: Up to Santa Barbara to visit the old stomping grounds....and mainly just to go eat at all of our favorite college joints. The picture is from campus point, where I used to bodyboard/surf throughout the years living there.

Last light at campus point, Santa Barbara, California

2. March: Mammoth Lakes. The lakes were still frozen which provided a different perspective from what I normally see. This was when I also first tried my hand at night photography. The Milky Way is best visible pre-dawn in March, so I pretty much woke up at 4am every day to head out to Convict lake and Alkali lake to get some shots. The shot below is a 3-image vertical stitched pano of the Milky Way over Alkali lake.

Milky Way panorama over the Eastern Sierras, Inyo National Forest, California

3. April: Camping in Red Rock Canyon state park. We ALWAYS pass by this place on the way to Mammoth so we finally decided to camp here. Hiked a bit, but it was hot so mostly just relaxed. Since its a bit inland, and the closest town is Mojave, the light pollution is minimal and good for viewing the Milky Way. I took the below picture pre-dawn when J was still sleeping in the tent.

Milky Way over the Red Rock Canyon campsite, Cantil, California

4. May: Camping in Anza Borrego. Always wanted to check this place out as it is part of the dark sky community. We went on a weekend with a new moon, but for some reason it never really got that dark and the Milky Way wasn't that visible. It was also way too hot to hike so we visited the town and the sculptures. We'll be back in March 2014 for a second try at some night shots. The shot below was from the Culp Valley trail where we camped.

culp valley loop trail anza borrego state park

5. June: Camping at Wheeler Gorge. This was the first time we brought Georgie camping. She did well, and Nixon had someone to play with. Didn't take many pictures here so here is a random.

6. July: Olympic National Park. This was an awesome park, very diverse with mountains, beaches, rivers, and rain forests all in 1 park. Still, I think if we had a choice, I'd go back to Mt. Rainier instead.

Two of my favorites from Olympic:

Hurricane Ridge

sunrise point hurricane ridge olympic national park

Second Beach

Foggy morning at La Push Second Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

7. August: Some local shooting around the area:

Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles and the 110 freeway

Palos Verdes

Palos Verdes Drive car light trails

8. October: Solo trip up to Mammoth to capture the fall colors. Love this place in the fall and it's not too far of a drive. I try to make it out here every year. The two below are from Silver lake in the June Loop.

Fall on Silver Lake with Fog

Silver lake Fishing

Even had a chance to get back out for some night shots:

Milky Way over Convict Lake

9. November: More local shooting

San Pedro tidepools

Sea Urchins at the San Pedro Tidepools Sunset

Manhattan Beach pier

Fiery sunset Manhattan Beach Pier

10. November: Camping trip to Montana De Oro. We only stopped by this place previously on the way up to Big Sur. Such a beautiful place along the coast with some crazy rock formations and huge crashing waves. Bit far out but well worth it. The picture below is from the Bluff Trail which is right next to the campground.

That pretty much sums up the year in pictures. hopefully 2014 will allow for some more memorable trips and great photos to look back on.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Montana De Oro Camping

We took off the day after Thanksgiving and headed up to coast to Montana De Oro near Morro Bay. Forecast said clear weather the night before, but we woke up to rain. Luckily the forecast said it would clear by Friday. It was about a 4 hour drive, and we brought Georgie so we decided to break up the drive by stopping off at places to eat. We stopped off in Isla Vista to get some Cantina but they were closed (even though they said they were going to be open) so we headed straight to SLO for some tri tip at Firestone Grill.

We found a seat outside and ordered a bunch of food. J and I got the tri tip and pulled pork sandwich with a basket of fries.

The JJ's got the tri tip sandwich, cobb salad with tri tip and onion rings.

Everything was good, but the tri tip (what they are known for) was bomb.

Nixon grubbin

We headed to the campground after lunch, which was only about 20 mins away. The sites weren't all that great, mostly just pull-off sites but it was nice because it was situated right across from Spooner's cove, one of the only places dogs are allowed in the park.

We hung around for a bit and got situated. The JJ's rented a big camper van that had a bed, sink and grill. We brought our tent as usual.

By this time the storm had already cleared but I was hoping for some clouds to hang around for sunset. The JJ's came out with me while J hung back with Georgie. Unfortunately, most of the clouds blew away which made for a pretty uneventful sunset. Tide was coming in as well, so I moved from my spot I was setup at....didn't want to get wet.

The JJ's

Watching the sunset

We headed back to the site for dinner. We got the ribs and the Cajun sausage from Firestone and heated them back up on the fire.

Ribs and sausage were pretty good. Would probably only go back for the tri tip.
I woke up for sunrise the next day only to unzip my tent and see clear skies. Perfect weather for camping, not so much for pictures.

I spent both days for sunrise on the Bluff trail, a 2 mile trail that hugs the cliffs of the ocean and has some amazing rock formations.

I headed back to the campsite and we cooked up some breakfast. Eggs, bacon and pancakes....we ate it all before J could get around to taking pics.

We spent the day at Spooner's cove since Georgie isn't allowed on the trails.

Vulture eating a dead rock fish while a seagull looks on

We headed back to the site afternoon and just hung out and watched Nixon and Georgie play.

Dinner for the night was burgers. Raccoons or something got into our buns so we used bagels and left over bread from Firestone. We also used up the leftover tri tip and pork sandwich meat.

The next morning, we had bagel + hash brown, Portuguese sausage and eggs for breakfast.

We packed up and headed out. J and I stopped by Santa Barbara on the way home to get some Freebirds and let Georgie out to pee.

JJ driving the big green mean machine

Georgie enjoying the ride

Freebirds! Wouldn't have been a complete trip without it.

No other trips planned for the year, but I'll be heading out locally to get some cityscapes when the sunset looks promising.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography