2020 was a year of opportunity. Opportunities to think, to walk, to photograph, to be grateful for the life of friends and loved ones who past and to be grateful for the lives we have. 2020 gave us a chance to take a timeout. To rest. To watch way too much Netflix. To spend time with our family and to take some time for ourselves. 2020 gave us chances everyday to think about what is really and truly important to us. And hopefully we used this opportunity to discover more about ourselves and what it is we love. Yeah, a timeout. 2020 was a timeout. I realized just how important being photography and being in nature are to me. It is who I am and how I wish to connect with the world and with you.
I used the last days of 2020 and the first months of 2021 to photograph nature outside of Kauai, in 23 states over 18,000 miles. When people ask me, "Where did you go?" I reply, "America." One place and just one state wasn't enough for this long timeout and opportunity of discovery.
Originally I had two, separate, winter photography trips planned. One to Yosemite National Park in December/January. And one to Yellowstone National Park in late February. However, when Kauai was removed from the Hawaii Safe Travels Program in November-- effectively eliminating tourism (safe or otherwise) and making any productive business activity in the gallery nearly impossible-- I decided to combine the two winter trips into one, long, photography road trip. So I put an "Open by appointment" sign on the shop window; shipped my 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser to Oakland; and from there I drove to Sonoma where Gary and his team at Mudrak Custom Cruisers installed an Alucab Expedition Rooftop Tent, Alucab Shadow Awning and an ARE rear drawer. I needed some new kit to help me camp in the winter as I knew most campsites would be closed or would have limited facilities available. And I'm getting a little old for a long road trip out of a tent. :-)
The above picture shows my FJ and Alucab tent 15,000 miles later in TX. During the trip I slept 90 nights in this tent, sleeping only two nights in a hotel after getting the Alucab tent installed at Mudrak Custom Cruisers in Sonoma, CA.
FJ and Alucab Shadow Awning in Big Cypress National Preserve. The awning wasn't that useful during the colder areas of the trip. During the cold winter days I wanted as much sunshine as I could get! However, I did use it in Zion NP and in Grand Canyon NP while cooking and eating in sleet (Zion) and snow (GCNP).
*If you have any questions about the overloading gear seen above feel free to ask in the comments section below. I may add a gear review on the Alucab roof top tent and awning one day. Let me know if you would like to see something like that. Cheers!
Sigh, Sonoma, CA
Anyway, back in Sonoma, I had a day or two to kill while the Alucab tent, awning, and overloading accessories were being installed. So I grabbed my camera and walked around town. I took a few pictures and ate a wonderful brunch at Sunflower. Of course, due to then revised COVID protocols, I had to eat my avocado sandwich in the park because just a week before I arrived all outside dining at restaurants and cafes was forbidden by the state of California! This was something that would be very challenging during the trip-- all of the different COVID rules and regulations that I would encounter from California to Florida from December to April. I knew I would need to be flexible during the trip, and I recalled what I heard often in the Marine Corps-- Semper Gumby. So yeah, I would need to be always flexible.
Tile, Sonoma, CA
Time for Reflection (The Journey Begins), Sonoma, CA
Forthcoming blog posts will feature photographs and Winter Views from
In the next post I'll share a few images from Mt. Shasta and Lassen, two of California's beautiful Cascade mountains.
I'll be in touch soon.