Lori Carey Photography

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jeepers Creepers

October is the start of the desert off road season here in Southern California and what a busy month it has been! Between covering events for clients, shooting for articles (and writing the articles), volunteering with 4 Wheel To Heal at event booths and in camp and fitting in a couple trail runs, October was packed with nothing but Jeeps and off roading for me.

The month started off with the Lucas Oil Off Road Expo in Pomona. You can check out those photos in my 2013 Lucas Oil Offroad Expo gallery.

Peterson's 4Wheel and Offroad Magazine's 2013 Ford F-250 Project Truck: The Ultimate Super Dirty
Peterson's 4Wheel and Offroad Magazine's 2013 Ford F-250 Project Truck: The Ultimate Super Dirty

Next I spent three days at Cal4Wheel's Operation Desert Fun in Ocotillo Wells. This event is a benefit for the CalDiego Paralyzed Vets Association. They offer trail runs of various difficulty levels throughout the Borrego Badlands, even one for stock SUVs. The event finishes off with an amazingly large raffle with incredible prizes like a set of tires, bikes for the kids, electronics and other goodies. The raffle went on for hours. There were about 250 registered attendees and 65 vehicles out on the trails. It would be great to see better support from the off road community for this charity event.

Jeep Lineup, ODF, Ocotillo Wells
Jeep lineup, Operation Desert Fun, Ocotillo Wells

See more photos in the Operation Desert Fun gallery.

Last weekend was OMC Offroad's 3rd Annual Holiday Food and Toy Drive with a trail run hosted by 4 Wheel To Heal through the beautiful San Jacinto mountains.

OMC Offroad 3rd Annual Holiday Food and Toy Drive4W2H Train Run26 October 2013
4 Wheel To Heal leading the trail run at OMC Offroad's 3rd Annual Food and Toy Drive

More photos from that trail run are in my OMC 3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive gallery.

You can read two of my articles on DrivingLine this month:

6 Hot Off Road Vehicle Trends contains highlights of the Lucas Oil Off Road Expo

Beginners Off Road Basics is the first article in a series for people interested in learning more about getting off the beaten track and exploring trails.

After all of that, of course I broke something on my Jeep the week before SEMA when everyone is getting ready for the big show. My rear passenger coil spring failed and collapsed on itself. Having your rear end bottom out on a trail is not fun, ouch! She's fine to drive on the road but now I'm waiting on replacement coils to get her back on the trail again.

I love off roading in beautiful places with good people and I especially love photographing Jeeps on the trail but I'm ready for a day or two of quiet time out in the desert to enjoy the landscape and do more landscape photography.

Friday, October 11, 2013

4 Wheel to Heal at the Lucas Oil Offroad Expo

4 Wheel To Heal at Offroad ExpoPomona, California 06-07 October 2013

I think that every photographer should choose a charitable organization to support and 4 Wheel To Heal is mine. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that takes wounded veterans from all branches of service out on the trail for wheeling and camping. I had originally contacted the founders about doing a story on them and was so impressed with them and the way that the organization is run that I decided to officially volunteer as a driver, photographer and general event help.

They were out at the Lucas Oil Offroad Expo in Pomona last weekend so I made sure to find some time to volunteer at the booth for a few hours each day in-between shooting the event.

4 Wheel To Heal at Offroad ExpoPomona, California 06-07 October 2013

We had steady crowds throughout the event and we met some fantastic people. We had a few raffles, were selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, survival bracelets and hats and of course were accepting donations. All money raised goes to pay for the expenses of taking vets and their care-givers out on the trail. Marketing is solely through word-of-mouth and social media.

4 Wheel to Heal will be at two events in Southern California this month; Cal 4WD's Operation Desert Fun in Ocotillo Wells to benefit the Cal-Diego Paralyzed Veterans Association on October 18-19th and the OMC Offroad 3RD Annual Holiday Season Food & Toy Drive in Banning on October 26th where we'll be participating in the toy drive and then taking some wounded vets out on the local trails before heading to camp at Bogart Park.

4 Wheel To Heal is a national organization but just getting started out here on the West Coast. If you have a Jeep and want to get involved check out their website at 4W2H.org or feel free to contact me directly. If you don't have an offroad rig but still want to help we are always in need of donations and sponsors. It's a great way to help make a difference in the life of a wounded vet. If you are a vet who would like to have a fun-filled weekend wheeling and camping please get in touch with Jen Schultz at jennifer.schultz@4w2h.org

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sunset at Font's Point

Borrego Badlands at SunsetFont's PointAnza-Borrego Desert State Park
Last Light

If you ask the park rangers at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where to head for sunset they will invariably tell you that Font's Point is a must if you have the right vehicle to get there. It is a rough four mile drive down a sandy wash that is horribly rutted most of the way and has very deep sand along the rest. It's doable in a 2WD passenger car if you have some experience driving in deep sand and don't mind beating up your suspension. The bone-shaking ride that has you wondering if your vehicle is losing parts takes you to an overlook that has a spectacular view of the Borrego Badlands. The Badlands are a wasteland that has been eroded into unusual shapes by wind and water and they really are quite beautiful. But in all the times I've been there, and there have been many times over the years, sunset has always been a bust. The badlands are wonderful and I love doing detail shots, the colors are amazing and for a short a period when the sun is low there are fantastic shadows, but true to form the desert sky has always been cloudless and sunset a disappointment. The one sunrise I caught at the Badlands from nearby Vista del Malpais gave similar boring results.

Until my September visit. We were heading there to shoot the Milky Way and didn't really intend to make it for sunset. We had stopped by "the" Black Oak and then Clark Dry Lake on our way out and only wanted to get to Font's Point before it was completely dark for the hike out to the point. As soon as we got there and saw the unbelievable sky we grabbed our gear and went running. We were finally rewarded with an amazing sunset and we were shooting as fast as we could because the sun was already down and the light wouldn't last long.

The Borrego Badlands viewed from Font's Point, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

It was hard to take it all in and decide which way to point the camera, every direction was more beautiful than the last and had a completely different look. I have really come to love shooting in the desert during the summer and I am so glad that I made the decision to brave it out this year. The rewards have been uncountable.

Badlands Sunset at Font's Point, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
A Different Point of View

Since the sun was already down and the foreground was fairly dark, I decided to use a graduated neutral density filter AND bracket for HDR. I think that overall it gave it more a natural look, which is what I am after, so I intend to try that method again. Nothing against those who appreciate the hyper-realistic super saturated HDR look, it's very popular but it's just not my style. I'll leave it to those who appreciate it more than I do.

Sunset at Font's Point, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Look the Other Way

It was hot, hot, hot. Miserably hot with a hot wind that I called the Winds of Hell. I was drenched with sweat. The light didn't last long and all too soon it was too dark to shoot and all we could do was wait for the Milky Way to make its appearance.

I sat there for a few minutes just enjoying the peace. The change from day to night still takes my breath away every time. If you ever go shooting with me you'll probably catch me just sitting still doing nothing as if meditating. It's partly because I want to take it all in and let the location speak to me, but it's mainly because I don't ever want to get so caught up in what I am doing that I fail to appreciate it and be thankful.