Lori Carey Photography

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Bench with the words A Great Love Story

Wow this summer just flew by! I've been so busy the past couple months that I haven't even had a chance to do much personal photography. I never even made it out to the desert to shoot the Milky Way which breaks my heart, but I'm still holding out hope that I'll be able to fit it in this month...if this record breaking heat wave ever breaks!

Working with clients and sponsors requires a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work that most people can't even imagine. A lot of people think it's just a matter of showing up with a camera and clicking the shutter and have no idea of the planning, coordinating, scheduling and rescheduling, researching, phone calls, e-mails, making contacts and building relationships, and trying to figure out what to do when a wildfire is actively burning the trails on which I had planned to shoot that is involved, not to mention all of the work that comes after the shoot. But I love every minute of it, even when it means I have less time for social media and my house is a disaster!

Since most of my writing (and much of my photography) about off road adventures, including trail reviews, has been published on Nitto Tire's DrivingLine instead of my own blog, I've created an index of my articles to make them easier to find. The index also includes trail reviews I've shared on my blog over the years, and you can check it out at Lori Carey - Published Articles.

Articles recently published on DrivingLine are:

Off Road in the Santa Ana Mountains
A wildfire is currently burning in the Santa Anas and the four main trails through the mountains are closed. At one point the fire was at the intersection of Main Divide and Bedford Canyon, the trails mentioned in this article. These are my close to home, "backyard" trails and I'm saddened to think that it will probably be several years before they are open again. At least I was able to get out there one last time before the fire.

Big Bear's Holcomb Creek Trail
Climbing Up Big Bear's John Bull Trail

I had an awesome time in Big Bear with 4 Wheel To Heal and the Misfits Offroad Club in July. We did two Black Diamond (most difficult) trails and I reviewed both of them. I really count on my husband as co-driver when I'm photographing trails because I end up walking most of the trail while he wheels my Jeep (a good trade off for him!). These steep rocky trails gave me a good workout!! I love my SpiderHolster when I'm doing this kind of shooting! Having the weight of my cameras on my hips make such a big difference in this terrain. I had sprained my ankle right before the trip, so even though I had it wrapped well all of the scrambling on the rocks was brutal. And to top it off I got stung by a bee! But we got some kickass wheeling shots, those Misfits really know how to have fun!

Preparing for Off Road Emergencies - Part 1
Preparing for Off Road Emergencies - Part 2

September is National Preparedness Month and I did a two-part series on being prepared for off road emergencies. This is such an important topic; every season we hear tragic stories of people who weren't prepared when something went wrong in a remote area. Even a casual day trip with the family can turn deadly if your vehicle breaks down in a remote area with no cell phone signal to call for help. If you do any technical wheeling the risks are even greater; over the past few years I've seen two deaths at off road events and came across one guy whose bike went off a cliff on a steep canyon trail where there wasn't even room for a helicopter to land. A few years ago a friend snapped an axle on a flat easy desert trail and we had to McGyver the axle well enough to be able to tow his rig out, another time a friend got two flat tires at once when we were exploring an area with sharp volcanic rocks hidden under the sand...there are too many things that can wrong out there. You need to be self sufficient and ready for anything for out there. Don't get caught off guard!

The day after Part 2 published I received this note from one of my followers:


What Would Lori Do?

I read every article you post. I even remember the story you shared where you were out on another adventure and your water pak leaked. You thought you were a gonner... I remember you mentioned something to the effect of you can never have enough water.

The Tuesday right after Labor Day weekend I decided to hike Granite Mountain Lookout up here in Snoqualmie, WA. I knew it was over eight miles roundtrip of steep, rocky, punishing terrain. This time I carried a gallon of water in my pack; I never carry anything more than two 20oz containers for shorter day hikes. Anyway, on my return I came across a 14 or 15yr old kid that was doubled over and complaining of cramps. His face looked green (remember the Mr.Yuck Mouth stickers?). He was completely out of water. He told me his friends took off without him. I really don't know if he had anything other than his iPhone... I stayed with him for about 10 minutes to assess his condition. The good news is I still had a lot of water in my reserve one gallon so I filled his empty container. I nursed that kid back to health by giving him my Tums, an energy bar, and even my crackers spread with Nutella haha.

So thanks for your tips. Thank you for reminding me to plan for the unexpected.

That note made my day! The story he is referring to is one I posted on GooglePlus last summer, The Day I Almost Died, when I talked about the time my hydration sprang a leak on a long desert hike and I fought a dangerous battle against dehydration and heat exhaustion. It is scary how quickly things go downhill without water in the desert. Many others chimed in on that post sharing similar experiences and their stories are worth reading.

There's so much more going on but I don't want this blog post to become a novel (and I need to get busy!) so I will save the rest for next time!

The first and last photos on this post are from Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County. Not my typical place, it was very crowded and I'm not big on organized campgrounds but I was up there to shoot for the SURTHRIVE+THRIVE article. I managed to sneak away on my own one night and one morning. During my scouting in the evening I had decided that the best shots were going to be in the morning and I had my locations all picked out. It's always fun heading out in the dark, never knowing exactly what you'll see when the sun rises. I wasn't expecting the heavy fog that didn't burn off until midday but it wasn't a complete disappointment as I loved the way the earl morning sunlight broke through the fog and reflected on the lake.

Lake Cachuma at Dawn

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Article in July CORVA newsletter

It was a great honor to have CORVA (California Off Road Vehicle Association) request permission to reprint my Off Road Basics: Trail Etiquette article in their July newsletter Off Roaders in Action because it gives me credibility in the off road community, especially when I see an article written by Tom Severin, who I hope to profile later this year, in the same issue. The article was originally published in DrivingLine (thank you to Nitto Tire for allowing the reprint) where it caught the attention of Kim Carpenter, CORVA's VP of Education. CORVA is a non-profit organization that works with land managers throughout California such as the BLM and the NFS for responsible off-highway vehicular access and recreation opportunities, as well as educating members on rules and regulations, promoting cleanups and trail maintenance projects. Just about everyone in the California off road community is a member of CORVA.

But I have to admit that it feels strange to see one of my articles without the photos. After all, I am a first and foremost a photographer. I enjoy writing the stories that accompany my photos and I never honestly thought about writing as a stand alone pursuit. At times I've even wondered if Lori the writer/author/journalist was detracting from Lori the photographer, especially when I'm busy chasing photos for a story instead of photos for the sake of art. So I wasn't quite sure what to think about having an article published without the accompanying photos. But on the same day my article was published in the CORVA publication I happened to listen to an interview with David DuChemin on Faded and Blurred. Jeffrey Saddoris asked DuChemin about how he felt when he realized that he was becoming as well known for his books as he was for his photography and the effect of adding the title of Author to his C.V. on his career trajectory. DuChemin responded that "I sometimes think that people can peg that about us before we're willing to say so about ourselves."

Listening to the DuChemin interview made me realize how insanely blessed I am that people are willing to pay me to share my experiences and stories about something I enjoy so much, whether in photos or in words. If sometimes it is in words only, that's perfectly fine with me. It's an endeavor that I hope will continue to evolve.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Big Wik of SURTHRIV.com

Had a fun shoot last night with Big Wik of SURTHRIV. The word is a combination of Survive and Thrive and the site has articles and a forum about preparedness, wilderness survival, camping and other outdoor activities. Check it out if you're into those kinds of things (and most Jeep/off road people are).

We were doing the shoot for an upcoming article I'll be doing on off road trailers because Dan has a really cool off road trailer he custom built. Since it's too hot in the desert this time of year we went to one of the local foothill canyons so we could get the trailer off camber and show off its capabilities. In the canyons you lose daylight long before actual sunset when the sun dips behind the mountains. As soon I noticed that we were about to lose the light I convinced Dan to let me get a shot of him in front of his Jeep. I didn't want to ask him to re-position his Jeep and trailer yet again because he had already done so many times for me, and anyone who tows a trailer knows that turning it around isn't the most fun thing to do. So I had to balance some tricky light, with Dan and his Jeep in the shade and the hills brightly lit him. I was using my quick-and-dirty one light set up. It took a few tries to get it dialed in but in the end I managed to pull off the slightly edgy hard look I wanted. It's not a lighting situation that I recommend though!

I love the fact that my 7D can wirelessly trigger my flashes because it makes it easy to use off-camera lighting in the field (or my studio lights) whenever I want with minimal set up, it's perfect for the fast-paced shooting I typically do. But truthfully the whole line of sight thing with IR triggering is getting old, especially when I'm shooting things like the interior of a vehicle and I don't have an assistant. I really need to get radio triggers. A few years back I was using the (cheap) Cactus triggers in studio, and while I never had any reliability problems with them, they just aren't sturdy enough for the type of abuse my gear is put through out on the road (jammed in the back of the Jeep). I've seen good reviews of the Yongnuo triggers, but I'll probably end up going straight to Pocket Wizards unless someone/something convinces me there is an acceptable reliable substitute. I don't care about E-TTL because I always use manual flash settings, it needs to work with a mix of different strobes as well as my Broncolor studio lights, and I sure don't want something like the Photix Strato Multi a friend has which requires her to put the strobe on her camera first to start the communication process, then remove the strobe and attach the transmitter, and repeat the process any time they stop communicating (which according to her, they do often). I do not have the patience for that!

Anyone have any input on recommended radio triggers besides Pocket Wizards?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Abandoned Car, Carrizo Plain National Monument

Abandoned automobile, Carrizo Plain National Monument

What photographer doesn't love to shoot old abandoned cars? This beauty was in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, not far from some old farming equipment. There is no badging left on it so I'm not even 100% sure what it is, but someone on G+ had mentioned that it would make a great rat rod and I agree.

I took so many photographs while I was at Carrizo Plain at the end of April (was it really that long ago?? May and June have flown by!) that I'm just slowly working my way through them whenever I get a chance and I've hardly made a dent. My story about that three day off road trip kicked off the Ultimate Road Trip monthly series at DrivingLine and can be read here The Ultimate Road Trip: Off-Roading at Carrizo Plain. I know that rain, wind, and sand storms isn't exactly everyone's idea of the ultimate road trip, but for an adventurer who loves to explore like I do, this was definitely one of my all-time favorite trips and I can't wait to go back. Not to mention that stormy skies are great for photography! It's a lot of fun if you do it with others who have a great attitude. Like my favorite saying goes, "The only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is your attitude.".

My other recent photos and stories on DrivingLine are two more articles in my series of Off Road 101 for beginners Off Road Basics: Trail Etiquette and Off Road Basics: Post Trail Vehicle Maintenance, and photos and a summary of the 2nd Annual Asuza Canyon Family Fun Day which featured some insane rock crawling competitions.

July is shaping up to be a busy month of shooting for me and I find myself already wondering how to fit it all in, but I have some really fun stuff coming up (even if it is work). I think I'm due for another escapist weekend soon so I can shoot merely for pleasure, just need to find time to fit it in.

Abandoned car, Carrizo Plain National Monument

Monday, June 9, 2014

Carrizo Plain - I come to speak for your dead mouth

Abandoned farmstead, Carrizo Plain National Monument

Whenever a writer I like quotes another writer, I always try to find some time to check out their work. I think it was Edward Abbey who led me to the powerful words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, which perfectly expresses the feeling I have as I wander around these old places...

"Rise up to be born with me, brother...
Tell me, “Here I was punished,
Because the jewel didn't shine or the earth
Didn't yield grain or stones on time.”
Show me the stone you fell over
And the wood on which they crucified you,
Make a spark from the old flints for me...

I come to speak for your dead mouth. "

~From the Heights of Maccho Picchu
Pablo Neruda, as translated by Jodey Bateman

Prints available here