road trip

2 months, 10,000 miles, 11 states and 4 cars

I've spent quite a bit of time on the road these last 2 months. I drove 10,000 miles across 11 states, using 4 different rental cars. It wasn't cheap, but it was so worth it.

We like to name our cars, even if they are rentals. These are the 4 vehicles that powered my most recent road trip.

 
 

Sonora

This was my first car of the trip. I had it for 24 days and put more than 6,000 miles on it. From LA to Portland, stopping by Phoenix, Santa Fe and Salt Lake City in between.

It brought me to beautiful places like Saguaro National Park, Arizona, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, a lot of Pueblo towns in New Mexico or Moab, Utah.

 

Sonora II

I know, I wasn't very original with this name but I mean, same car and same color...

I only had Sonora II for a couple of days, enought to drive more than 500 miles to beautiful spots of the Oregon and Washington Coast and, of course, the stunning Mt St Helens.

 

Big Bertha

This one was as big as a boat! A very smooth drive and awesome choice for more than 3,000 miles. I took it to Mt Hood, then down to the Bay Area where I explored the Sonoma Coast and San Francisco, and even to a wedding in Nevada City (east of Sacramento).

It was an old model (it had an iPod -that's an O- connector), but I really liked this car.

 
 
 

Rafael

We flew to Detroit from the West Coast, and there's really no other easy way to get from there to our final destination here in Indiana other than driving.

It was a short drive and just a few hours, but Rafael still deserves to be mentioned as part of this story.

Winter photography: travel before the storm, photograph the storm

 

One of the most beautiful drives I’ve done.

 

Winter is my favorite season for photography. There's just one problem, though: the weather.

Over the years, I've gotten caught in several snowstorms (and even worse, ice storms) all over British Columbia, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, California, South Dakota and of course, in the Midwest.

The trip through Northern California was the scariest one, I lost control of the car twice due to ice. That was the last time I drove through a snowstorm, putting yourself in danger for an image is not worth it. How do we do it, then?

This day, I had to drive 40 miles on frozen dirt roads to get to the closest town.

Travel before the storm.

That's what I did in South Dakota: I drove more than 1,000 miles in between two big storms and once the second one hit, I was ready and on location.

Photograph the storm.

It was mid-April when the blizzard came. Temperatures dropped to single digits (F) and the storm dumped almost a foot of snow. There was no one else around and no way to get to the Badlands after they closed the highway.

Winter wonderland.

I got one of my favorite images ever that day, and I had a winter wonderland waiting for me the next morning. Best of all, I was able to drive in and out of the park safely.

That's my advice for winter photography: avoid the road on severe weather conditions, be on location beforehand. If that's not possible and you still insist on making the drive, please make sure that you and your car are ready for the worst conditions.

Evora and the Alentejo

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Evora, city I'll be leaving shortly to head towards the Algarve.

This was my second time in this beautiful town, and I already regret not having spent a few more days in the area. Not only there's so much more to explore on these charming and mysterious streets, but I really want to photograph the landscapes of the Alentejo.

There's still hope, though. Where I'm going is not too far from here so I could always do a day trip, and I'm also hoping to find similar landscapes down there.

For now, these are some of the images that I made during these short two days here in the capital of the Alentejo, Evora.

PS: I made a video about our time in Evora, and I also talk about being a photographer in a foreign country.

Biarritz: last hours in France

The French Road Trip is over.

Biarritz was my last stop after 40 days on the road. I wasn't planning on making any images there since I only had a few hours, but I liked the town so much that I couldn't not try.

Vlogging with a GoPro Hero 7 Black in beautiful Andorra

I have a new camera, and I put it to the test during a full day of driving and hiking in the beautiful country of Andorra.

I recorded the whole episode on the GoPro Hero 7 Black, using just the built-in microphone for the audio. The footage has been color graded, though.

There's a full review of this little guy coming soon.

Of course, I'm not affiliated with GoPro in any way. I wish. You can still help me buying it (or anything else, it doesn't have to be the GoPro) through this affiliate Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2J4pVma

Uploading videos to YouTube while on the road

One the biggest challenges when you are on the road and have a YouTube channel to update is how to upload the videos.

Sometimes, you get lucky: the place we stayed at in Andorra last week had a pretty decent connection so uploading movies and backing stuff up to the cloud wasn't a problem at all.

We didn't get as lucky with this week's AirBnB, though: uploading a new video using this connection would take forever, and there are no cafes around that I know of.

I wish apps like AirBnB or Booking could tell you how fast the WiFi will be on your next stay.

The obvious solution for this problem is to use my phone. I've published videos using the YouTube app before, and while it works just fine, it doesn't let you upload 4k videos. Instead, it will convert them to 1080 and then proceed with the upload.

The best option I've found is to use my computer, tethering from my phone. If I have 4G coverage, of course.

This isn't perfect, though: I "only" have 25GB a month and my average video weighs in at about 3GB. This means I'd be able to upload 7-8 videos a month using my phone exclusively. I usually publish 2-3 a week, or 8-12 a month, making me effectively dependent on things I can't control.

Maintaining a YouTube channel while on the road is not an easy task, but it can be done. You just need a little bit of luck when it comes to your hotel / Airbnb's WiFi, and a phone with a lot of data as a backup.

American Road Trip Journal #30: Zion National Park

The series American Road Trip is coming to an end: only 2 more episodes left!

This time we visit Zion National Park, in SW Utah.

I spent a few days in the area but I was only able to visit the park a couple times, due to a snowstorm that covered it with ice and snow. This ruined my plans of hiking to Angel's Landing, but gave me some more unique images in exchange.

American Road Trip Journal #27: Grand Canyon

American Road Trip Journal #27: Grand Canyon

The adventure continues! This time, I visit the Grand Canyon National Park for the first time.

Even after seeing the Redwoods and being at places like Death Valley and the Canadian Rockies, this place made me feel really, really small. An impressive sight, worth a visit.

Open the post to watch the video.

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American Road Trip Journal #26: Baby Bell Rock

New episode of the American Road Trip Journal.

Still in Sedona, Arizona, Luna and I go on a hike to Baby Bell Rock. It is an easy, short and beautiful hike to great views of the amazing rocks and colors of the area.

I try to shoot some photos with my Bronica SQ-Ai and Ilford HP5+, but once again, I struggle to get good compositions in black and white. Color is just too hard to get out of your mind when shooting here.