Lori Carey Photography

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


It might surprise you to learn that I am a ham radio operator, as in full-on geek! It started with getting my Technician license so I could use a dual-band radio out on the trail. CB radio just doesn't cut it in some of the areas I travel, more Jeep clubs are moving to ham radio, and I wanted to be able to call for help if I ran into trouble when traveling in a remote area. After getting licensed I became fascinated with the technology, and I'm an autodidact; I can't stop learning new things, and when I decide to learn something I'm driven to learn it to a certain level of competency. I decided to study for my General license, which would give me HF privileges, and I joined the local ham radio club.

Somewhere along the way I found myself "involved"; I got certified by the National Weather Service as a SkyWarn Weather Spotter, and then I became a VE (Volunteer Examiner), which allows me to be a part of the team that administers licensing exams. Then it was just natural to go all the way while the information was still fresh in my head and prepare for my Extra exam. I haven't sat for it yet, but I plan on taking the exam in the month or so. I now know more electrical engineering, circuitry and antenna theory than I ever thought possible, as well as some pretty cool stuff like space weather.

Many people think only grumpy old men enjoy ham radio, but the South Orange Amateur Radio Association has nearly 250 members of all ages and about half of them are younger than I am! It's a great group of people and they are very helpful to new comers.

Setting up a tower for ARRL Field Day with SOARA
Every year the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) hosts Field Day at the end of June. Amateur radio operators across the country make contacts for a 24 hour period under simulated emergency conditions. It's part practice to keep up with skills, and part demonstration to the community how amateur radio is used to provide communications when the grid is down. Of course since I live in earthquake and wildfire country, this event got my interest on many levels, and since I spend so much time off the grid I knew I would learn skills that I might need in the future.

Setting up the tower for SOARA's ARRL Field Day

We set up operations at Gilleran Park in Mission Viejo, California. We were allowed to take 3 hours on Friday for set up, and the time was used to set up our portable towers and communications tent.
Entry classes are determined for the event by how many radios are used and their source of power. We were 3A, which meant we would have 3 radios operational for the duration of the event. One was dedicated to voice contacts, one was dedicated to CW (Morse Code), and the third was for whichever the operator preferred.

Field Day comms tent at night

We took turns in shifts working the radios and assisting with logging. We also had a GOTA, or Get On the Air station, for newly licensed operators and members of the public to make radio contacts under the supervision of a mentor.

Mission Viejo RACES was there demonstrating their radio technology, including television and mesh networks. They also had a table of emergency preparedness information for the community. We had a food tent to keep people fed throughout the 24 hour event. We had an educational session led by MV RACES, and we held an exam session for 20 people, including a 12 year old girl who passed her Extra exam!


The turnout was fantastic. I have seen so many clubs complain about how few members show up for Field Day but we had over 100 people participate, a real testament to how well SOARA is run. It got a little hectic for me trying to work the event, attend the test session, and take photos. I was glad for some down time when most people left for the night and only a few of us stayed to work the overnight shift. I put the camera down and got to spend some time on the radio. And then our comms tent started flooding around 2:30am. The park forgot to turn off the sprinkler system for the night and we had to shut everything down while locating the sprinkler controls and turning them off. We had close to an inch of water on the concrete slab where our tent was located by the time we managed to get all of the sprinklers turned off. Water and electricity is not a good combination! There is no better way to practice operating under emergency conditions than to handle a real situation. We found a broom in someone's motorhome and swept out most of the water, set up the big fans to dry it out, and dried off all of the equipment. We were back up and running in an hour and half, not bad considering. I laid my head on a table to close my eyes for "just a minute" and was out cold until 5:30am.

I was absolutely exhausted the next day but I had such a great time with good people that I wish Field Day took place more than once a year.

SOARA Field Day

Wish me luck on my Extra exam, I'm hoping my head doesn't explode from trying to memorize the mathematical calculations!! I'm ready to be done with it and put the studying behind me so I can concentrate on the learning.

Many more photos of SOARA's ARRL Field Day in this gallery.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Auto Enthusiast Day at Angel Stadium

Vaughn Gitten Jr and Tanner Faust Drifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Yeah I know I've really been slacking off on the blogging. I am trying to get back on track!

Last weekend I attended the Nitto Tire Auto Enthusiasts Day at Angel Stadium. The event was presented by DrivingLine, the automotive enthusiast magazine I shoot and write for. I spent most of the day in the DrivingLine booth handing out copies of the magazine (it was crazy hot and the crowds were unbelievable!) but I managed to sneak away to shoot some of the drifting demos that were going on all day.

Vaughn Gitten Jr.putting on a show for the crowds at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Whenever you shoot something new you should always spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish and what shots you want to get. Since I had never photographed Formula Drift, I gave myself two goals. The first was to capture as much tire smoke as possible while still keeping the sponsor logos visible, which is much harder than you can imagine if you've never shot it before. All of the best track action occurs when you can hardly see through all of the smoke. I love this shot of Vaughn Gitten Jr. completely engulfed in tire smoke.

Vaughn Gitten Jr., Tanner Faust, Odi Bakchis, Mad Mike Whiddett, and Matt Power sDrifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

The second was to get an action shot with all five cars in it. I was shooting from elevated position, so I had the luxury of being able to see and shoot the entire track. It was wild trying to constantly zoom in and out to compose shots as I was panning with the cars as they drifted around the track, but I managed to get the shot I wanted. Vaughn Gitten Jr., Tanner Faust, Mad Mike Whiddett, Odi Bakchis and Matt Powers drifting together as a group around a pole.

I would have loved to be the one lone cameraman I spotted inside the track to get the shots showing how close the cars come to each other and the wall, but after my close call at King of the Hammers last February I was probably better off shooting from the platform this time!

All the rest was gravy, enjoy!

Vaughn Gitten Jr Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Mad Mike Whiddet, Tanner Foust and Odi Bakchis Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Vaughn Gitten JrDrifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLineAngel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Tanner Faust Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Odi Bakchis leads the drift around the pole, followed by Mad Mike Whiddett, Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gitten Jr,Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine,Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Drifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Vaughn Gitten Jr Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Mad Mike Whiddett Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Drifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

I'm not sure who was driving the Ford Mustang RTR-X that made a few appearances out on the track. I know that Vauggn Gitten Jr. owns the RTR (Ready To Rock) brand, but the driver was wearing a different helmet than the one Gitten was wearing while in his race Mustang. It sure is a gorgeous vehicle!

Ford Mustang RTR-X Drifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by Driving Line Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Ford Mustang RTR-X Drifting Demo at Nitto Tire's Auto Enthusiast Day, presented by DrivingLine Angel Stadium, CA 1 August 2015

Bigger versions can be seen in this gallery.

The toughest thing about shooting drifting is dodging the smoke and debris. Even on an elevated platform I had to often turn my back when the cars drifted right in front of me because the smoke was so thick and filled with bits of rubber from the tires, and I still managed to get a piece of debris in one eye. The track I was shooting had no dirt, which would make things even messier. For a good look at what it's like from a photographer's perspective to shoot an actual race with smoke and debris plumes heading directly at you, take a look at this video!

Friday, May 15, 2015

R.I.P. B.B. King

BB King at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, California on May 21, 2006

Rest in Peace, B.B. King and thank you for all of your wonderful music!

I had the pleasure of photographing and watching B.B. King perform at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, California back in 2006. It was a few months before his 80th birthday and he was celebrating by going on tour, with Lucille of course! He was an amazing performer. I'm a huge blues fan and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to see the legend perform live.

Blues legend B.B. King performing at the 2006 Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, CA

There are more photos from that performance in the 2006 Doheny Blues gallery on my website.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Exploring California's Mining History in the El Paso Mountains

Jeep on trail in El Paso Mountains, Mojave Desert, California

We camped with some friends at Dove Springs in January and couldn't pass up the chance to hit the beautifully scenic El Paso Mountains. This wilderness area in the Mojave Desert is located at the far southeastern end of the Sierra Nevada Range and has a wealth of mining history. Several old mines, cabins and mining camps can be found. Seeing the Burro Schmidt Tunnel and learning the story behind it alone is enough to justify the trip (I've visited the tunnel many times just because it's so cool!). We tried to convince our friends, who all had Jeeps of their own, to join us on the trail, but they weren't motivated.

You can read about it, and they can see what they missed, by reading my latest article on DrivingLine - Exploring El Paso Mountains: Mojave Off-Road Trail Review
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to integrate my work on other sites with own website and blog. I realized that I've been so focused on getting photos and stories to clients that I've hardly even bothered to upload photos to my own site for far too long, let alone keep my blog updated. Kind of makes it looks like I haven't been doing anything, when the truth is the exact opposite. I've been trying to keep the list of my published articles updated on a regular basis, but if I don't tell anyone that the page has been updated, you don't know to look. So I hope you'll click through and read the story on DrivingLine and leave me a comment either here or there!

Some of my Milky Way photos were done at the Holly Cleanser Mine mentioned in the article. The mine is a very cool place to visit after dark and it was a lot of fun to play around with lighting the old mining equipment to create an alien-looking landscape.

I previously wrote about three other trails in the El Paso Mountains many years ago here on my own blog - Last Chance Canyon, Sheep Springs and Nightmare Gulch. Nightmare Gulch has since been closed on a temporary permanent basis, so I feel fortunate that I was able to visit this area while it was still open. We had hoped it would re-open some day, but it doesn't appear that it will happen any time soon.

Have you done any of the trails in the El Paso Mountains? Which one is your favorite? Any good ones that I have't hit yet?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hazards of the Job

If you follow my other social media accounts you probably know that I was just a few feet away from Mel Wade III, owner of Off Road Evolution and EVO Mfg, when he rolled his #4451 EVO1 Jeep JK during the qualify round at the 2015 Ultra4 King of the Hammers race in February. He miraculously landed on four tires and got the vehicle back under control to finish the run. I knew that I was close enough that I had to be in footage somewhere, and here it is. Watch closely at the end for the blonde in the hideous neon green vest! My husband decided that he needs to increase my life insurance after seeing this video.

There's a very good reason event organizers make media sign those liability forms! When a vehicle is moving that fast, one little misstep can cause it to fly through the air and you are not going to win that battle. Even photographing slow rock crawling can be dangerous, especially if you don't know what you're doing. It's important to understand where a vehicle might run into a problem and to know which direction a vehicle will roll/fall/flop/slide on a obstacle so you don't put yourself in harm's way, while still trying to get the best angle and light. I've been photographing off road long enough that I believe I have a very good understanding of what and where the problems can be, and how the vehicle will move if it finds trouble, but I still remember Kevin Sacalas of Big Ugly Racing doing cartwheels across the course in 2014 and how I had been shooting in that very location earlier in the day. This is also why I prefer to use my Canon 7D for shooting off road; the crop sensor allows me to keep a reasonably safe distance while using my Canon 70-200mm lens. A full frame sensor would require me to carry a much bigger and heavier lens, which would reduce my mobility.

Mel is a personal friend so my first thought as it happened was to pray that he would be okay. As I watched his vehicle fly up in the air and do a barrel roll, crashing into boulders as it bounced and rolled down the hill, my mind went back and forth between worrying about his safety, worrying about getting the shot, and worrying about when I needed to move to a safer spot. As you see in the video, the vehicle didn't just roll to the bottom and stay there, it kept moving. After seeing this video a couple people mentioned to me how casually I appear to stroll away. Make no mistake, I was watching every move that EVO1 made as it rolled down the hill, I could see the exact second that Mel had it back under control, and I could envision the arc the rig would take as he circled back around to complete his run.

Mel Wade III in EVO1 midair doing a barrel roll during the Qualifying round at the 2015 Ultra4 King of the Hammers, Johnson Valley, California

There were a few gaps in my sequence because I had to remove the camera from my face to mentally calculate speed and distance of the vehicle, but I got some great shots. One of airborne shots is going to be used in the new EVO Manufacturing catalog.

Dave Cole yelled at me when I moved back to the same spot for the next vehicle, "You just almost got *#&*@ killed, why the *#&*@ would you go right back to the same spot?!!". I told him I figured what were the odds it would happen again? I guess I gave him a good scare, and he made all media move back another 20 feet for the rest of the Qualifying round.

When I caught up with EVO1 at the recent Tierra del Sol Desert Safari, I loved seeing the badass stitches holding it together!

Mel Wade's EVO1 stitches