When I was 27 I lived in the back of a Honda Element for a month. Yes, your wedding photographer lived in a car. Crazy, I know. It wasn't because of the lack of places to stay or the inability to live somewhere else. I was on the road!
The trip was the most formative experience of my life. I travelled from Oregon to Myrtle Beach, SC only taking back roads and avoiding the interstate as much as possible. It was a photography trip, but really became about finding myself after college and a change in paths.
As much as I wanted to I never did hit the road again after that trip. With wedding photography being so competitive and with it making for such limited free time I think I just never had the opportunity. Like so many things in life you start to push it further and further into the back of your mind and before you know it, it's disappeared.
This year was the first time since that trip four years ago that I have been able to hit the road. When I noticed a window of opportunity on the calendar I blocked out the holiday weekend and made arrangements to hit the road. I told my wife I was hitting the road and although she thought I was crazy she supported me. Who drives from Florida to California? This guy.
She actually went beyond just supporting it; she offered to join me. Unfortunately she didn't have enough time off to enjoy the road in the same way I was able to but she was able to fly in to meet me in California.
It wasn't long before I took off and was on the road expecting to meet my wife at the airport after four days of grueling driving. Not having the luxury of unlimited time I took the Interstate (I-10) the whole way and made it in an incredible two days. I left on a Monday and arrived on Wednesday night.
When you drive across country the opportunities for photography are endless. There are places you can't imagine in this country and people that will escape your ability to explain. This trip wasn't about that like my first trip was. I took few photos, but I made up for it once my wife arrived.
One of the nicest parts about this trip was turning off my email, putting down the 5D, and getting back to what photography is about. Clients, don't get me wrong, I love you. Shooting a ton of weddings though you sometimes need to break out, do something creative, and get back to your roots. There were no LCD screens to look at on this trip. The photography was all on my terms which felt good. In my bag was my Hassy, Leica, and yes, my iPhone, which was the only digital camera on the trip.
Once Candice arrived there was so much to show her. I am "from" California, well, I am "from" a lot of places, but I guess California is where my story starts. With that said I realized that there were a number of things that I had never done in my own "hometown". Most notably hiking up Mt. Rubidoux.
Mt. Rubidoux is a small mountain located in Riverside, CA. According to my family it catches fire every year on the fourth of July so Candice and I were lucky enough to make it there on the second of July. Candice is such a good sport; the temperature had to be closing in on 100 degrees and she was wearing some sort of torturous flats. Her blisters were unbelievable.
We made it to the top after maybe 45 minutes or an hour. Candice was a great sport about it even though her feet were killing her she kept quiet about it and went the distance. Her feet suffered greatly as I mentioned and I felt horrible about it, but she reassured me it wasn't my fault and that she wanted to get to the top just as badly as I did.
Once we had totally ruined her chances of running a marathon or wearing cute shoes anytime in the foreseeable future we ate Mexican food and relaxed. What else would you do on a vacation? Well, since we were still in Riverside we went to the Mission in and the California Museum of Photography. What else do photo nerds do on vacation? (Note: I am the only photo nerd - she simply does her best to live with it)
The California Museum of Photography had an excellent exhibit up documenting the Santa Ana River and if you have a chance, photo nerd or not, I recommend going. Truly impressive. After the museum we got coffee and prepared to embark on another photo nerd journey.
I can't remember where we got coffee. The Leaf and Bean or Tea and Leaf or something. Either way it was good, and I snapped this cute shot of Candice. I am sure she hates being in permanent model status, but what can you do?
On our last full day in California I decided that we should head out to the Salton Sea. Candice has never seen it and I hadn't been there in four years. For a while I was making it a habit to document the sea every time I went to California. Even though it's a bit overshot it doesn't take away from the fact that it's still an interesting place.
The weather called for 111 degree temperatures the day before we went, but I think we lucked out, it was probably 106. It was as stinky as usual and as interesting as usual, but a lot of the allure has disappeared. The motel is now gone. The yacht club has been restored. Virtually everything, except the heat and smell, has changed.
After the Salton Sea we made the trip past Niland out to Slab City. I stayed there for a short while when I was living in my carpartment on my trip and enjoyed the odd nature of the place. We of course couldn't make a trip to the Salton Sea, or Slab City, without stopping at salvation mountain.
It's odd, but yet amazing that someone could devote themselves to such an immense project as Salvation Mountain. On the same token though it's not so odd that someone could devote themselves to God as much as this man has, so I guess the whole thing isn't that odd at all since this is his tribute to God's love. At any rate, it's awesome, and if you have the chance you should see it as it truly defies explanation.
We made the trip from Salvation Mountain to San Diego, which is a long haul for sure, and got to see some of Candice's friends. It made her smile and it was nice to see them so it was worth the drive. Unfortunately that was the end of the trip and she hopped on a plane the following day and I began the sprint home.
I didn't take a single photo on the way home so the last frame you get is another of Salvation Mountain. It felt good to get a vacation in this year, but it also feels good to be home and back at work. The next few weeks are going to be busy, but I figure if I keep my head down and work hard another vacation could be right around the corner.