As I was processing and uploading photos last night I realized that the most populated gallery on my website is now "Offroad Adventures." I've been shooting faster than I can process lately, let alone catch up on the older stuff, but I've been having a lot of fun with my jeep!
We had to skip the Project-JK run to the Panamint Mountains last weekend because Bill had to work Friday. Fortunately ctimrun was also in town for the weekend. We had a lift party to put a 4.5" Currie lift on his jeep the prior weekend and he was itching to try it out. But he was missing his front drive shaft while he waiting for the upgrade to come in. It was a perfect opportunity to head up to Main Divide to play around on the side trails and since I let Bill wheel, it gave me the opportunity to play around with the camera.
Cleveland National Forest was closed after the wildfires last month, but portions in the unburned areas reopened on November 10. Main Divide was open from the trailhead off of Ortega Highway up to where it meets Indian Truck Trail just short of Modjeska Peak. We took Indian out to the 15. Saturday's weather was perfect - bright and sunny with temperatures in the high 60's at an elevation of 4200 feet. The Santa Ana winds only provided a gentle breeze, but they had cleared the air down below and the views were spectacular.
The guys had so much fun playing on the side trails, climbing the hills and showing off their flex that what was planned as a half day run turned into a whole day and gave me plenty of photos ops. Every time they found a hill that they wanted to climb I would run to the top so I could photograph them on their way up, then run/slide down to the bottom to photograph them coming down.
Most of the time when we're out on a trail I'm too busy concentrating on my driving to give enough attention to my camera. I take some quick grab shots and don't have time to worry about if the lighting is right. I can deal with it somewhat in post, but nothing comes close to a photo taken with the proper exposure and lighting at the time of capture! This time I had willing participants that would move and pose the jeeps at my request, so it was a great opportunity to experiment and learn what works and what doesn't. The biggest disappointment was that most of the obstacles required an angle that had me shooting directly into the sun, and there wasn't much that could be done about that. I did use fillflash successfully when photographing the undercarriage of ctimrun's jeep, but I didn't think my 580EX alone would be powerful enough on its own to overpower the sunlight when shooting directly into it at a distance from the jeeps. I will try have to play around with it some more though, since setting up light stands on the trail is not practical (and noisy considering I'd need a generator!)
Since ctimrun's jeep is dark and mine is light, I did learn a lot about what light is more flattering for which color. Frequently, light that was perfect for my silver jeep was too dark for his redrock, and light that was perfect for his jeep was just too bright for mine. Trying to photograph the two of them side by side is akin to photographing a bride in a white dress next to a groom in a black tux, except the wedding photographer gets to use lights and I had to work with only the sun.
All in all, a great learning experience and really fun day. ctimrun is a great guy with a good looking jeep!
You can view the rest of the photos in the gallery here.