An Opportunity of a Lifetime

Just got back from our 2 day visit to Santa Rosa Island, part of Channel Islands National Park. As I mentioned in the previous post it is a 2-3 hour ferry ride. however when we got up on Wednesday morning there was an email to tell us all trips had been canceled because of the expected high winds and sea swells. I was quiet disappointed, however we found out we were still able to get out to Santa Cruz Island, a closer of the 5 islands (that we have visited before). After checking in, and now waiting for the boarding call, the owner of the company came up to us with an offer......she could get us out to Santa Rosa later that morning if we were prepared to fly out! I had to think about that offer for about 0.5 seconds! So we had an amazing flight out to the island, getting to see the islands from a unique (and usually very expensive viewpoint!).
The winds on the island were ferocious, average 60-70kms, however the weather was quite sunny most of the time and we had a great time. The 3 hours ferry ride back was also great. Only a quick aerial image to share here...many, many more to go through once we return home, we leave on Sunday night.
And to top of the trip, our friends in Los Angeles who we spend the last night and day with, have arranged for a small plane flight over the city on Sunday morning!!
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Reaching a Pinnacle

Once again I have returned from the wilds of camping, back to civilisation. Is this a good thing? I'm not so sure......!
Tonite we are in Ventura, about 70 miles up the coast from Los Angeles. We had 2 great days and nights in Pinnacles National Park, the newest addition to the 59 USA National Parks, being created in 2013. It's quite a small park so it was a good chance to see a lot of the park, with one big hike we did that went right through the park, and up and over the mountains. Attached is a shot from this mornings final short hike we did before heading south. Pinnacles has a very Australian feel to its rock formations, and made me think of the Warrambungles in northern NSW.
Tomorrow we are tackling the final leg of this National Park trip...we are taking a 2 hour ferry ride across to Santa Rosa Island, one of the 5 islands that make up Channel Islands National Park. This is one of the least visited areas we will have been to, there are only 14 camp sites on the island so the 2 nights camping should be a great experience. And then we have to think about coming home...........
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Wildflower Wonder

We spent Saturday at Point Reyes National Seashore, about 40 minutes north of San Francisco. A spectacular coastal hike amongst the abundant wildflowers was a great way to spend the day. Afterwards, fish 'n' chips on the Sausalito Harbour, followed by another visit to the Golden Gate bridge to shoot this massive structure from a totally different viewpoint to the night before.....I think I prefer this series of the bridge as the reflection really added something nice.
Off to Pinnacles National Park today, back to camping for a couple of nights...I shall return!


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No prizes.....

No prizes for guessing where this was taken. ....... I'm not the first to take this view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but like all iconic views, when you do it yourself it feels quite special. A very impressive sight when looking down on the bridge, I may even go back for a second visit as we have 2 nights in Sausalito on the north side of the bridge.
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I'll Be Back!

Well, another 2 nights have passed camping in the Redwood National and State Parks in far northern California, and its nice to be back on the coast. Whilst primarily known for the the massive redwood trees, the highest in the world, you can see from this set that this park has so much more to offer. 
First evening at the Enderts Beach overlook offered some very nice colours looking out across the Pacific. The next morning first stop heading south was at Wilson Beach where I had the chance to play around with the massive, crashing waves. The next morning some soft tendrils of mist above the fields in the Eld Prairie fields gave me my favourite in this set, though the visit to Trillium Falls later in the morning also offered many great images. And this is just a taste from the 2 days in the Redwoods...and not one  big tree in sight in this set!
We are off to Sausalito, just north of San Francisco tomorrow for 2 nights on a house boat....stay tuned!



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The Further Adventures

Back by popular demand!
Another 2 nights in the tent has kept me away from any wifi access....and with some extra time up my sleeves now her in Medford, Oregon,  I've put together a range of images since we left Yosemite. 
First stop was heading further north in California up to Lassen Volcanic National Park. At this time of the year access is very limited because of the snow pack, so we walked a mile or so up the main park road....on about 3 metres of snow!
After leaving there we spent the night at a very nice campground - Burney Falls. As you all know, waterfalls are one of my favourite subjects, and I had been looking forward to this visit. 
The next morning we headed up to Lava Beds National Monument which features many different caves to explore.
Later that day we ventured across the border into Oregon for a visit to the amazing Crater Lake National Park. ThIs image, and the many others I captured, made the sub zero temperature overnight in the campground, and the very early start to get to the park, all worthwhile. And later in the day the temperature rose to about 35!
Next, heading south again, an extra bonus was the Rogue River canyon area....a location we fell upon without any prior knowledge.
Another nice thing happened today - We have been dropping in on the Visitor Centres in all the National Parks with a small advertising postcard about the upcoming National Parks book, and response has been very positive. It's not my job to sell the book, that's what the publisher and distributor will do, however today at Crater Lake we were told the book had already been approved and they we starting to look for where on the shelves they would put it!. And earlier on in the trip at Joshua Tree NP, the lady we spoke to made mention of coming back at a later date for a book signing - all exciting stuff!




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Yosemite Glory

After 2 great days and nights in Yosemite National Park camping, I'm back in a motel in Yuba City, with some wifi access. We arrived mid afternoon into the park, and my main aim for that first evening was to shoot the view from Tunnel View. This is one of the most iconic views in all of the 59 US National Parks, and I was treated to a very special late evening light show across the Yosemite Valley.   I was pleased to spend well over an hour with another photographer sharing stories abut our exploits - this was Bill's 4th night in a row at this spot and he commented a number of times on it being the best of the lot. I think he was as pleased with the conditions as I was!
Once again I have many, many images to go through, so I'll leave you with this one view....wow!
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The Aftermath

Spent yesterday visiting Kings Canyon National Park, a sister park to Sequoia. They are basically side by side with a few areas of National Forest mixed in as well, and once again a spectacular location. This image shows the aftermath of last years massive fire, and the charred landscapes create a unique vista. I was planning on posting some more images, however last night we spent the evening talking to the local newspaper who are doing an article about us and the National Park book! So duty called.....
Off to Yosemite NP today for 2 nights camping....I shall return soon!
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The Hottest and the Largest

Whilst we have a few nights in civilisation with good internet access, its a great chance to post a couple more images. First here from yesterday is a surprising find in the hottest place on earth - Death Valley National Park. Darwin Falls is around 20 feet high and is spring fed, and a really lovely spot in amongst the arid landscape.
And from today, we visited Sequoia National Park and viewed the biggest tree in the world - the General Sherman Sequoiadendron. Its hard to comprehend the size of this tree...its not the tallest tree in the world (thats for later in the trip), however it is the largest by volume.....its around 275 feet high, and over 100 feet diameter at the base. Nice conditions for shooting tall trees, too!


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I'm Back Online....3

We had 2 great nights camping in Death Valley, and though the conditions the first day were a bit overcast, the next day, and the following morning really made up for it. Its pretty hard working on the laptop so I'll post just the one image from this morning. I went out to the Eureka Dunes around 4am, and played around with a few ideas that worked out quite nicely...this is one of them.

I will try and get more images posted, however I know that as the days tick by and I collect more and more images, many get left behind until I return home. We are now in Three Rivers, just outside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We have 3 nights here in absolute luxury...though I must say I'm enjoying the camping as in the first 7 days over here we have spent 5 nights in the tent (though I have to find a new air mattress as it looks like mine has spring a leak!}
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I'm Back Online...2

After another nights camping we are back to civilisation, currently in Mesquite Nevada where we just had one of the best buffets I've had!
We have been to Zion National Park around 6 times now, and its still as amazing as ever. After spending all day Wednesday with some friends we met in Alaska, today, Thursday, we did the Observation Point Trail....a 13km, 2200 feet elevation gain hike thats took us over 5 hours. It takes you right up above the canyon for some eye dropping views....yes that's me trying not to fall over the edge. There was also a couple of great canyons the trail goes through that also gave me a some nice almost abstract images. 
So off to Death Valley National Park tomorrow. One of my favourite parks, for another 2 nights camping....so back in a few days time!


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I'm Back......Online!

Well, we've been over here 3 days now, and as the first 2 nights were spent camping, this is my first chance to grab some internet access here in St George Utah. Our first location was Anza Borrego Desert State Park, about 3 hours south east of Los Angeles......drove straight here after the 14 hour flight! This is a State Park, not a National Park, however it is the biggest state park in the US, and the last thing I expected to find in such a harsh, arid environment was a waterfall. This was at the end of the Palm Canyon Trail that takes you up into the mountains where you suddenly come across this green, wet oasis. A really lovely 5km hike, and its hot here, too. We cracked 100 (38) degrees yesterday.....and 97  today. 
Our second night was spent in Joshua Tree National Park, I'll post from there soon....I had some great fun shooting the milky way at 4.20am! Now in St George Utah for the night before heading off to Zion National Park in the morning for another night camping, and also catching up on some friends we met in Alaska last August.
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Breathtaking at Mt Buninyong

Here's an image to carry you over til we get internet access, which might not be for a few days.  A great morning last Thursday at Mt Buninyong when I captured some fantastic early morning light from up high. I still haven't had time to go through all the images...something to look forward to when I return!
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Last Morning

Last chance sunrise on Saturday before we head off to the USA...first stop Anza Borrego State Park in California. But before all that, a nice sunrise at Lake Wendoure with a range of different images. There is always something to capture in a location I have been to many, many times before. Lately the sunrises have snuck out to past 7.30am, though that will all change tonight with the end of Daylight Saving.



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Some Exciting News......

As a lot of you know, I have been on a quest to visit and photograph all 59 USA National Parks. Debbie and I achieved this last August, and the plan after that was to put a large coffee-table book together to do justice to the fantastic range of images I’ve amassed. Every photographers dream, I guess. After initially looking into the challenges of self-publishing, I quickly realised the biggest challenge was in the distribution...it’s a hard ask from the other side of the world! The other option, of course, was to find a publisher to take it on and do all that for you. Not an easy thing to accomplish these days. However, I am very excited to announce that that is exactly what has happened. A publisher from Canada has acquired the rights to the book, and we have just this past week, finalised everything and the book is off to the printers. They have an excellent distribution network throughout North America with direct links into the National Parks, so its going to be a very exciting time, especially as the US National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial throughout the year, with August 25 the actual date of the anniversary - I’m sure we will be over there at that time, too. It’s going to be an unreal experience to walk into bookstores across the USA and to see my book on the shelves! You will also be able to buy it through Amazon and other online retailers. So we leave for the USA tomorrow on another trip, one that I’m sure will be very relaxed knowing what the rest of the year promises. Look forward to the trip here as we will be re-visiting 11 parks on this trip.
A couple of images showing the front and back covers......

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A Few Views

I haven't been venturing too far from home this week as I'm preparing to hit the road again on Sunday as we head off to the USA again for another great trip. That's why it's great to have Lake Wendouree so close to home, especially when you get sunrises like this one. The sun has moved dramatically north on the horizon in what seems a very short time, opening up new angles on the judges box at the end of the rowing course.



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Magic

The forecast for Sunday morning was calm and freezing cold and that's exactly how it turned out (minus 3.4, in fact!). I had a fantastic...