A lot of my photographer friends and acquaintances have been posting fantastic and inspiring year end reviews of their stunning works. Many of them curated to show case a small portion of their favorites of the year to really exemplify their vision and artistry. I really felt that the year end marks a good evaluation point for myself to see if I have achieved two of my photography goals:
To expand subjects that I photograph. I started off photographing the coasts in California and I remember chatting with another photographer and he laid wisdom upon me. He told me that I should expand shooting different environments. I really wanted to take on this challenge as I think: A) More exploration is always better to see different view points of the world. B) A more diverse portfolio can lead to different lessons learned on shooting and processing.
How to balance my hobby with my large family? I only have so many vacation days a year and I cannot simply take it all for photography.
So for the past 2 years, I have begun to target local areas of interest during different seasons. I have shot far less on the coast and more in-land. I have planned a few big family trips that revolve around national parks. My family loves the outdoors so that’s a bonus. However it’s still tricky to manage good shooting hours and not just dragging the family along just to watch me click the shutter. I did take a few days for solo shooting and thankfully and lovingly my wife holds down the fort to the family circus.
So for an introspective review, I’ve decided to highlight a few images that are from some solo and family trips. I hope it shows more diversity in my work, growth in my vision and hopefully I am a better version of myself than I was 2 years ago, hopefully.
The Birthday Party
(or also known as my birthday/Father’s day gift)
During the heatwave in the Bay, one of the few solo photo trips I took was to Redwood National & State Parks. I wanted to see these incredible tall giants and was hoping to catch the Rhodies as well. I came a bit past peak but still some Rhodies around and the fog came to play as well.
I think the first time I’ve seen photos from this area was from Marc Adamus. His shot of Rhododendrons against the giant trees is one of my favorite photos. I was happy to get some shots with the Rhodies and the famous fog and sunbeams.
Through The Pass to Snowy Mountains
As is our annual tradition, possibly one of the few family traditions that we have started since our kids were born. We go to Yosemite at least once a year. We wanted to make sure that we raised respectful nature loving kids in this age that is technology and self-centered driven. Of course that doesn’t mean we didn’t cave and allow our kids to play games on tablets; we just made sure we balanced things out as much as we could.
Around The Shire
The next 3 photos showcase the local flavors in Northern California. As one of my goals is to explore more locally #shootlocal. People outside of California seem to think we are desert, dry, on fire, L.A and San Fran. Come spring time, we have rolling green hills.
After the green hills fade away, the sun flowers are here to greet us. The actual distance of the farms isn’t too far from my house but the bay area traffic makes the journey (on a weekday) much longer than it should be. I’ve chased after good sky conditions for sunflowers a few times and this time it’s the best I’ve gotten so far.
The Fellowship East
My 2nd goal was to involve my family in seeing new landscapes and scenes. So the journey of the 7 (we brought the grandparents along) begins to South West Utah from Bryce to Zion.
On our way to Bryce, we passed by a frozen lake, a very large frozen lake. I haven’t seen a frozen lake or have been on one since I was 12-13yrs old and back when I lived in Vancouver B.C, Canada. My kids have never seen one either nor the grandparents. We skipped rocks across the ice, the kids poked twigs at the ice. The kids slipped on the ice. Dad photographed the ice.
Then we finally got to the Bryce. The kids got a kick out of the term “Hoodoo”. My middle girl Quinlin got confused one day and asked me, “Dad, can we go find the Scooby-Doos?”. I have been to Bryce once before a few years back but this time around I was fortunate to get 2 nice sunrises and some partial snow left over.
My kids love snow and even though we came during the very tail end of the snow storm that passed a week or two, they still found ways to enjoy what I call “dollar store” snow.
After Bryce we made our way to Zion N.P. I just pulled over in random areas and the kids just love exploring, getting their hands dirty, climbing and just interacting with nature, as it was meant to be.
To Slay the Restless Giants
Now the kids are in Kindergarten, one of the greatest challenges now is what do with them during the many many public holidays and long breaks. So during one of their breaks, we drove down to Sequoia National Park. We were met with thick fog conditions, which was really cool to see and photographically speaking it was heaven. It was a bit cold for the kids as we didn’t anticipate it being this cold and didn’t pack clothing accordingly.
Once Again to a Grand Journey
This past November, the grand parents visited us and so we thought we should go on another fellowship but this time it would be a grand journey to the Grand Canyon. With a side trip to the slot canyons. We flew into Las Vegas (our usual hub point) and off we go in our faithful horsed caravan named Dodge from the isle of Alamo. The first stop, the deep impression on earth. This trip would cross off 2 items off my bucket list: Grand Canyon and Slot canyons.
The Grand Canyon was everything that I had hoped it would be. It’s really something just standing on the edge and just staring out. Everyone was impressed by the views and as we drove around the south rim, the scenery continues to change. I even got treated with some nice light
After seeing what it feels like to be on the edge staring into the earth, we now go into middle earth. We managed to book 2 slot tours. I have wanted to shoot slots for a while. After seeing many stunning shots from various photographers, I couldn’t wait. The kids enjoyed just going through the corridors and playing in what is a very large sand and rock box.
Stop in the Way Station
The first of many volumes to come has been concluded. This 2 year introspective of myself was worth reviewing for me at least. I felt I have achieved the goals I set out. I have seen myself grow and dabble into different subject matter and different artistic styles. I tried my best to balance the scales on how much photography can be done on a family trip. I find that you can’t monopolize the best shooting hours to yourself. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a sunrise or sunset so everyone gets to have to fun. The key on a trip is there should be something for everyone and that should include some shutter time for yourself. If you want to check new photos from the past year, visit this link here