Thursday, April 18, 2013

Have Camera.... Will Travel

Jumping For Joy ( with a camera dangling on my neck ) @ Harding icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, AK
"Have camera, will travel."- when fellow blogger Rainfield left me that comment in one of my posts, HUGE SMILE came to my lips. For it has been quite several years now that I have been enjoying the priceless happiness of having a camera toy. :) I still could remember very well the words my hubby said, " since you love taking picture so much, of flowers, of landscapes and seascapes, of nature around you....why not raise your happiness by getting a DSLR?" That was April of 2006. At that time, I thought that buying a DSLR was way too luxurious. It took me 2 months later to finally decide to get myself one. That was because I learned from Travel Channel when it featured "THE TOP TEN WONDERS OF THE WEST" that San Diego is not that far from Channel Islands National Park, the very first US National Park I've experienced.
Anacapa Island 2006, Channel Islands National Park, California
After our trip to Channel Islands National Park, my heart was held captive by National Parks that I started making plans to see all 57 US National Parks in my lifetime. Indeed, it had become.... "HAVE CAMERA, WILL TRAVEL". And may I add, HAVE CAMERA, WILL HIKE!!
Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California, June 2006
Soon after our Channel Islands visit, I found myself planning for thanksgiving trip to Grand Canyon National Park  in that same year. 
Hiking The Grand Canyon 2006 ( my first hike outside of California )
**Notice I wore jeans then, not hiking pants. Obviously, I still had not learned about the ultra comfort of light and breathable hiking pants then**
Summer of 2007, we flew to Chicago. After several days of wandering in Illinois, instead of flying back, we took a road trip from Illinois to Los Angeles. We planned for hiking and nature exploring stops at Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. 
Zion (left), Arches ( top right) and Bryce ( bottom right) National Parks
After that trip, I was so "National Park" inspired that I told myself our travels will mostly explore Earth's "NATURAL MUSEUMS" preserved in State Parks and National Parks.

Our Illinois-Los Angeles road trip was my eye opener to so many travel planning lessons. Let me share with you some:

1. Planning for travel, does not only involve planning for places to see, but most of all, planning for "BEST TIME TO VISIT".

In that summer of 2007 trip, though we loved what we saw, BUT, we were not able to enjoy fully! We hardly took any hike in Arches National Park. I could just not handle the desert's summer heat! :( I was starting to feel nauseated and sick. We had to cut short our exploration of Arches so I could get rested and my conditions would not turn to worse to seek ER care. Though we have health insurance, but going to the ER is always the last resort. A friend of mine shared her experience that same year how she was hospitalized three times during her out of the country vacation where she said it was the most financially draining vacation of her life since her health insurance did not cover fully the medical cost outside of network, much more, outside of country.  It was then that we started looking into travel insurance that includes emergency medical coverage especially for our "outside of the country" trips, so we could still be 100% covered. Thankfully, finding an emergency medical travel insurance policy, such as KANETIX, was not difficult to find. You can visit the website to learn more about getting full health coverage during travel.

Despite getting heat exhaustion in Arches National Park during our first trip, it did not stop us from exploring that park at some other time. We scheduled several trips back to Arches National Park and its neighbor, Canyonlands National Park during the cooler months of late fall (thanksgiving break) or early spring (spring break). 
Delicate Arch @ Arches National Park, Utah (can you see how small hubby is compared to the Arch?)

2. Aside from searching for "Best time to visit", we also search for "best place and best time to shoot". Our trip itinerary is always very detailed, with mileage of hike and elevation change ( so we could prepare physically) and where we should be at a given time frame during the hike. 
Example 1, @Yosemite National Park: be at Bridalveil Falls by 5:00 pm
Rainbow and Waterfall, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA
Before leaving for our Yosemite vacation, I wanted to see rainbow on a waterfall. It is not an impossibility, so I searched for the time when the sun is behind us and the Yosemite waterfalls. The picture above was not our only rainbow and waterfall shot at Yosemite, we had several more when we hiked Vernal and Nevada Falls. 

Example 2, Sunrise @ Mono Lake South Tufa State Reserve, Lee Vining, California
Tufa and Grebe, Mono Lake @ Dawn
Like the rainbow and waterfall shot above, we also had to plan ahead for Mono Lake shoots. First, we had to set our alarm clock. Yes, ALARM CLOCK on a vacation, haha! Somehow, vacation for us pays most if we see nature at its best, which means waking up early before sunrise and being there after sunset. Aside from alarm clock, we had to gear up for this shoot since the dawn temperature was way below freezing at 13 degrees Fahrenheit (-11C) .
Sunrise @ Mono Lake, Lee Vining, California
How do we endure hours of exposure to sub freezing temperature but still enjoy the beauty of outdoors? The answer is in travel trip #3.
Gearing Up For Cold @ Mono Lake, November 2011 ( we were out here more than one hour, dawn and after sunrise  at a temperature of  13 Fahrenheit or -10.5 Celsius, and it was not winter yet)

3. Prior to every trip, we check the weather. If situation requires us to brave sub-freezing temperatures, we search for performance hiking gears that are as light, waterproof, windproof and breathable as possible, yet providing us thermal comfort at negative temperatures.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, November 2011 ( @ -17 F or -27 Celsius )
When hiking,  regardless of the cold temperature, eventually, we find ourselves sweating from physical activity. Those overly thick and heavy fashionable warm jackets would be a curse as they trap moisture thereby freezing you from the inside, plus they become very uncomfortable when the day gets warmer.

4. After searching for places, I use google maps to arrange the places in logical order of exploration to save on travel time and also on gas. After establishing our itinerary path, I then search for scenic and wonderful places to shoot in the places we would pass by. It is always not by luck that we stumbled upon the place in our travel, they were always the result of searching before the trip. For after all, I.....

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  1. and may I add, have blog, will travel! haha! waiving back to you wanderwoman! until now, it still feels surreal to have met you in person.

  2. Nice photography, like your techniques. Do you have more pictures like these?

  3. Such a beautiful post! I loved all those captures, especially the rainbow one! Your photography is really very good. I still hope you may be able to participate in the contest on my blog. Scout for the old photo albums, some of them might be lying with you :)

  4. It took you 2 months to own a DSLR.

    But I took 3 decades after leaving high school, to buy my first DSLR.

    We meet at an intersection point of different timeline, somehow, to show off our imagination through pictures.

  5. I agree with planning the best time to visit. That makes a whole lot of difference! : )

  6. I was thankful hubby bought one during our first anniversary and photoshop software though I did not ask for it.He told me DSLR is the best camera that I should carry because I love to take photos. I really agree with you timing and proper planning where we go is important. We have had a road trip late september last year and the weather is perfect for us.This gives me a good idea considering we plan a road trip on July. I have to talk to hubby about it.

  7. hi there Betchai!!!!! You waving your hand with one hand holding the camera is that traveler who inspired me to capture nature in all its glory! needless to say you inspired me to buy a dslr too hahaha to fully enjoy nature trips though just near! I was breathless from top to bottom of this post....gee you really are wonderwoman and I am so proud to be your friend! love yah...keep hiking!!! I am such a fan! :)

  8. Tufa and Grebe, Mono Lake looks so enigmatic in your shot. :D

  9. Yupe. Timing is everything. :D You need to time your trip so that you can capture all those priceless photos.

  10. Wow! So amazing photos, I am so envious..wishing i would also be able to see such wonders by my eyes... and DSLR wish to have you too someday. :)

  11. Anyone can bring meto Grand Canyon right now. I will vote for you. LOL Another set of amazing photos specially yun Jump for joy photo mo Betchai.

  12. Yes you are correct, everyone needs a camera when they travel . Otherwise we can’t capture nice photos for the remembrance.

  13. i'll up also: shoot and blog :) you have achieved a great skill in shooting the most awesome photos in your travels. so, i'd say, enjoy more travels and continue to share the adventures through your blog.

    awesome. awesome photos.

  14. Great captures and your DSLR camera is worth the value. These photos are absolutely priceless.

  15. Beautiful captured moment with the ultimate travel partner, the camera! I love your watching your photos.

  16. hi there again wonderwoman! have camera will travel too....I wish haha...gee I just purchased another toy for the sake of taking photos and blogging on the go hahahaha sshhhh.....gosh this capturing and sharing our lives and joys is kinda addicting hahaha, but happy truly that I have you for a friend...also still cannot believe I met you in person one sweet day! that used to be just a you are back inside the computer and I am here viewing your awesome, magnificent shots from across the miles....keep traveling and taking you with us virtually sharing immense joy with mother nature's best :) love yah!

  17. holy molly! that first picture is stunning...super like it!

  18. That's one good thing about having a blog, you get to share your travels so we, as readers get to travel as well through your photos. Thanks for sharing Ate Beth!

  19. That camera is certainly not wasted in your hands. I know that beautiful pictures do not rely solely on the camera but more on the one handling it.

  20. The jump for joy shot is incredibly beautiful! It simply reflected your love for the outdoors, Te Betchai. I so envy your skills in photography. I have a DSLR but it is such a waste! I never learned the basics of photography since the time I bought it. Sigh!

  21. you have got the most amazing captures... i hope i get to have the chance to visit these places... such wonders.. :)

    thanks for sharing! :)

  22. The Bridalveil Falls is so amazing. If I'm there I will ask God to freeze the time. I can feel your great passion on photography with all these lovely captures.

  23. What a site to look at, amazing pictures and look how beautiful the nature is :) You amazes me with those pictures and love it :)

  24. wow, another batch of awesome pictures...i can see happiness in you and in photographer's eyes! thanks for sharing these beauty on your side...:)