road

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This was captured on the same day after this image. Probably just 1 or 2 hours after the sunrise image was captured,

You know it’s so funny when you visit a place for the first time before the sun actually rises, everything is so dark and you can barely make out what’s in front of you. Neither Andrew or I had ever been to Joshua Tree and we had no idea what’s was really going on. But once the sun came out and you can actually see, it’s always so shocking and beautiful. Like, “I missed out on all this?”

So this image was taken on our way out of the park. I know we drove down this road during sunrise, but didn’t really know what it looked like. It just took my breath away once I could actually see it. I love the way the shadows are crossing the road. I believe they were created by some Joshua Trees but I am not completely sure. It mimics the clouds in the sky so well, almost as if it were a reflection. And nothing more says the American Southwest to me than those huge wide open spaces. I made Andrew pull over so I could capture it really quickly. Luckily we visited during the government shutdown and in the middle of winter when there weren’t as many people around. It made it really easy to just pull over and hop out real quick for the picture. Looking at this image definitely makes me want to go back soon but I’m not sure which is better, the extreme cold (wind) or the extreme heat that Joshua Tree experiences.

My camera settings for this image is F 4.0 at 1/5000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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This image was taken on my way out of the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park at early morning just after sunrise. The sunrise was particularly colorful but unfortunately we weren’t able to capture it from the Cactus garden. The sky was starting to explode with color while we were on our way over there and ended up taking pictures somewhere along the side of the road to capture the Joshua Trees as foreground instead.

Its funny to me that all my recent trips and memories of Southern California has been in the winter time. I feel like it’s a totally different experience than if you visited in the summer. I bring that up because I was actually talking to Andrew this morning and we were trying to recall if California had a lot of mosquitos or not. To be honest, I don’t even remember seeing a lot of bugs in general. I’m sure if they did, there would be a lot in the summertime but because we have been there in the winter, I can’t even remember. Can anyone shine some light on this question?

Anyways, I got side tracked. Joshua Tree is an amazing place to visit if you’re ever planning a trip. I hope to go back sometime soon and see more of the park cuz it’s huge. Maybe in the summertime so I can see for myself about the bug situation? LOL. But I know the temperature difference is going to be extreme. While we were there it was super windy and so cold that at times it was difficult to be outside. I imagine it to be the same in the summer but with the heat.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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Driving in Norway was an experience all in itself. Initially everything about it seemed pretty normal to me. They drive on the right side of the road, car works the same as they do in America, etc. No big deal. But actually driving in Norway is super different. First road signs are so hard to see. In the cities, Bergen and Ålesund, they were just little signs on the side of a building. I may be getting older but they are so small that you really had to be the first person at the stoplight to see them. Otherwise, we were just guessing if we were turning on the right street or not.

Second, there aren’t many stop lights but there are so many roundabouts. I guess this is there way of making turns easier but we also noticed that not a lot of people don’t use turn signals at these roundabouts either. I swear at one point there was like 3 in a row within 2 miles of each other.

Third, Norway is a very mountainous country. Well, at least on the west coast. So driving up and down these mountains can be a little difficult, especially when you have hairpin turns like this! I showed this image to my brother and he was saying how there’s a lot of car advertisements who film on this road, but I will have to say that this isn’t the only road that’s like there. The whole country is full of them! This is probably just the easiest to capture on camera. While we were driving into Geiranger it was so foggy I could barely see 10 feet ahead of me. It was an experience that would be hard to forget.

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/80th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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The last night in New Mexico and we tried to visit Taos Pueblo. I say ‘tried’ because there was road construction and we weren’t actually able to make it in to the vicinity! So 2 hours of driving basically went down the drain. It’s all good though. I always try to make the best of the situation and luckily the town outside of the Pueblo had some amazing Tex  Mex. So we stopped for a little bit to stretch out legs and got some food. And I’m talking about cheese on top of cheese with a little bit of cheese sprinkled on top plus some of the best bites of elote corn I’ve ever had. YUMMMM.

With our bellies full we made the drive back to Santa Fe. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks which were all very beautiful but it wasn’t until about 30 minutes before sunset did the sky really start changing. A storm was about to come through and I had no idea where we could stop to take pics. I was totally prepared to take sunset pictures at the Taos but didn’t know where I could do it along the road. Soon enough we drove right by this huge intersection and I quickly pulled into the parking lot of a Ohkay Casino. It was probably the most random place to pull over considering there bus loads of people and cars there but it didn’t matter, I was there for the backdrop of the casino. I mean how amazing is this backyard? Absolutely nuts. The mountain range seemed like it was out of a movie but we had no idea who or what was inside the shack. We kept our distance and I decided to just use it as a foreground.

Moral of the story: everything will be ok as long as cheese is involved.

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Would I go on a road trip like this again? Absolutely. It was such an amazing time but really hard to describe. Everyday was packed with adventure and new things to do. Yes, it was exhausting but it was so much fun.

Since I’ve been back, a lot of friends have asked me how Sue and I didn’t kill each other after being in a car together for 10 days. I told them that it wasn’t bad because we just listened to a lot of audiobooks. We listened to ‘Modern Romance’ by Aziz Ansari  and ‘I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons’ by Kevin Hart. Both are read by the author and both are hilarious. Although, I’m partial to the Kevin Hart book because it was more about his life and how he became such a positive person with a humongous work ethic. To be honest, I wasn’t that big of a Kevin Hart fan before, but now I am. So much respect for him.

And while Sue was sleeping in the car and I had full control over the radio, I’d listen to the classic book: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Its probably my 3rd or 4th time listening to it but it never gets old. I always learn something new whenever I listen to it. I think its because every time I listen to it, I’m at a new stage in my life and new principles apply to me. So if you’re looking for book recommendations, check out the Secret. If you’ve already read that or not interested, check out ‘I Can’t Make This Up’. It’s hilarious and the stories are really entertaining. You won’t be disappointed.

Also along the drive, we made stops in the middle of the road multiple times so I could take pictures like this one. That made for some exciting times 🙂 This was on the way to Tent Rocks. A beautiful place with a scenic drive.

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I drive a coupe and those tires are horrible in the snow. I’m slippin’ and sliding all through my neighborhood so getting to DC would be terrible. So on snow days like this, I take the metro. It’s super convient because I live walking distance to a stop. But I never ride it more than when it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t know it’s just so much easier to hop in my car and drive myself. No waiting, no worrying about metro delays (cuz theres a lot!). This is the view you get when you get off of Foggy Bottom and walk towards the Lincoln Memorial.