Why a BLM over a regular camp ground

If you don’t feel like reading, this post is summarised by the 20 sec video at the end. A picture speaks a thousand words a 20 sec video says even more in this case!

I spent the last three nights staying in Joshua Tree park at the Indian Cove campground for $20/night. I was fortunate enough to be able to chose my campsite in person versus reserving the unseen online.

I don’t know if all the National Parks are arranged like this but basically the plan is to pack you all in as close to your neighbour as possible. After paying $30 entrance fee to the park and then $20/night for a camping spot that sports the amenities of a fire ring and a picnic table – no electricity or showers and imaginary privacy well I have to wonder if this actually makes sense. I only had neighbours one night and they seemed like nice enough people but I couldn’t relax outside and enjoy the stars and silence because their party included music and loud talking till late into the night.


It was a beautiful park don’t get me wrong, but I guess when I’m paying for a campsite I’d like a better sense of privacy so I can enjoy nature and the experience.


The main benefit to a campground over the BLM land is the ability to leave a table and chair out and have a decent sense that it will be there when you return. It is the ability to have a space to call your own for as long as you have the campground reserved. That’s the only real benefit though unless the campground offers showers and electricity too. The BLM style of camping is open space camping. The freedom to set up where you chose. Overall there is a general common consideration to net setup camp right next to someone else. So far I have had very good experiences in the BLM arena and tonight has been no different.

My idea of a vacation/camping on these trips i have been doing is to get away from people and plans and commitments of the working type. My commitment is to my dogs so being somewhere where a leash isn’t required for Zulu and where I can enjoy the sunset and the stars in silence if I chose is my preference.

Using the app iOverlander I found my interest peaked by the site referred to as Giant Rock. My initial plan was to stop by and check it out and continue on my day. It wasn’t only about 20 miles off my path but once I started down the dirt roads I quickly decided that to venture this far meant I would probably stay.

Giant Rock is actually very cool and so are the surrounding rocks as you venture just past ‘Giant Rock’. I had thought I might go ahead and camp in the vicinity but there were just too many people coming and going in the area and the possibility of night time rowdiness by locals was a risk to consider. I started winding my way down dirt roads headed to an unknown hoping to find the perfect parking spot. I passed one RV – a giant one that had already made himself comfortable for the night and just hoped I wasn’t getting in over my head by continuing to drive the unknown. Here is a link on the map to my camping location for the night.


The sunset this evening was spectacular!!

I do need to get better at judging what direction to park my RV. I thought I had it set up ideally based on the morning sun but this evening has seen an onslought of wind. Lots of wind gusts and broadsiding me pretty good. When I set up the winds were coming from the South but they have changed and are coming from the Northwest. It kind of feels like I’m back on my boat!!!


Headed south…

I’m not good at schedules besides that of holding my job and keeping appointments that might be scheduled.

In my off time, I don’t want time schedules. I’m headed to Southern California this trip. No definite plans but trying to get in a couple of family visits.

Driving in traffic is monotonous and there is nothing particularly intriguing in the scenery. The time is going slow at the moment.

Gas Buddy, the app, is my resource for gas prices and it brought me to Tulare for a decent gas price. Nearby is a sports complex so it’s made a good rest stop for the pooches and myself.

I spent last night in Merced, dropping off some tools and books for a good friend and it made a good starting point for the rest of my trip.

As usual, I have no specific plans after family just the one day at a time mantra and living in the now!!

Photo101: Day Twelve: Architecture & Monochrome

From geometric patterns on skyscrapers to the ironwork on historical buildings, there are many opportunities to capture the beauty and complexity of architecture.

San Fran Skyline
San Fran Skyline
Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge


Today’s Tip: As we explored yesterday, color is a powerful element in photography. But let’s not forget black and white, or monochrome, which can be very dramatic! Black, white, gray, and shades in between interact in the frame in dynamic ways.

When we talk about monochrome in photography, we’re referring to images developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one color.

Train your eye to look for architectural elements that translate in black and white: sharp lines and patterns, defined shapes, large surface areas, and a mix of very light and very dark colors.

Photo101: Day Eleven: A Pop of Color

clouds with a pop of sun!
clouds with a pop of sun!


clouds with a pop of sun 2!
clouds with a pop of sun 2!


Today’s Tip: As you train your eye to look for color, keep it simple:

Choose one bold color against a neutral background, instead of several colors competing for attention in a scene.
Look for a strong color within a basic composition of uncomplicated lines — your pop of color will stand out more.
Continue to experiment with light and POV as you shoot color-as-subject — the color may transform as you move.
Don’t ignore soft, pastel shades — colors like mint and pink can make statements, too.
Juxtapose pastels with black and darker shades.
When in doubt, pair an accent color with white — you’ll see its impact immediately.

Photo101: Day Ten: Mystery & Lighting Effects

Sky Silhouette
Sky Silhouette

Today, share an image that creates a sense of mystery. A lone mitten on the sidewalk. A trail leading off into the distance. Your dog’s deep brown eyes. Intrigue us with uncertainty.

Today’s Tip: To stretch yourself, manipulate the light available to you to create a particular effect — use it to cast shadows and highlights to create a moody image. Work with natural light, or find an artificial light source like the stage lights above.

The direction of light has a big impact on your photos. Things lit from the front have few shadows, and are evenly lit. When the light comes from the side, shadows and highlights are introduced, creating more texture and complexity. Lighting from behind throws things into sharp relief, silhouetting your subject.