Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb 26 - Joshuas And Chollas (SToIC Day 8)

This is basically the end of my Solo Tour of Inner California. The park rangers were right; it snowed in the morning. It was a nice little surprise and gave me something else to try and capture.

A closeup of one of the Joshua trees.

On my way out toward Interstate 10, I started seeing what I thought were baby Joshua trees. It turns out they are Cholla Cactus. There is even a Cholla Garden, which is where I stopped to capture the next two photos.

A macro of a Cholla Cactus flower. I had to be careful not to get too close. Apparently, the Cholla needles really dig into your skin.

Feb 25 - Where The Trees Have No Name (SToIC Day 7)

Joshua Tree. The last National Park on my little solo trip. If I haven't explained yet, I bought the annual pass last December and my goal this year is to visit as many national parks as I can. I arrived just in time to set up my tent and grab a few sunset photos.

Some say that Joshua Trees are ugly. I can't really argue, but I think they are beautiful in the right setting.

My last night of camping (for this trip anyway). I ended up at the Jumbo Rocks campground. My site was nestled in some big rock formations. I think this night was the coldest of all, mainly due to the breeze.

Feb 25 - Forest Lawn (SToIC Day 7)

It's been a while since I've visited my Mom's, Aunt's, and Grandparents' graves. I knew I needed to stop by on the way to Joshua Tree. And get a photo, of course.

Feb 24 - America's Pastime (SToIC Day 6)

In between Sequoia and Joshua Tree, I took a break from nature. I stopped by Valencia again to watch Gavin play his fourth game of baseball. Strangely enough, I felt colder at the baseball park than during most of my stay in Yosemite.

Feb 24 - Hospital Rock (SToIC Day 6)

I made a very superficial visit to Sequoia National Park. I really wanted to see the biggest tree in the world, but two reasons kept me from bothering: (1) There is road construction and they only let traffic through every two hours and (2) I was too lazy and didn't want to put on tire chains.

So I stopped at Hospital Rock and did some quick hikes. I've been using my 10-stop neutral density filter quite a bit on this trip. If you didn't notice in my Yosemite photos, it should be pretty obvious in these.

Feb 23 - Upper Yosemite Fall (SToIC Day 5)

My last day in Yosemite. I spent three nights at Camp 4 and it took me to this day to realize that Camp 4 doubles as the trailhead for the Upper Yosemite Fall hike. At the same time, I didn't think the trail would be accessible with all the snow and ice. Long story short, I did the fairly strenuous hike up about 1000 feet to what people call "Oh My Gosh Rock." With all the snow and icy conditions up there, it's more like "Oh $h!t Rock" because the descent to the viewpoint (from the main trail) was pretty scary. But it does have a pretty nice view of the falls.

Feb 22 - Fire Fall Fizzle (SToIC Day 4)

It was such a beautiful and sunny day. The warm afternoon sun had plenty of time to melt some snow on top of El Capitan. I had high hopes for capturing the fire fall. Unfortunately, there was another storm system coming in off the California coast. So by the time the sun was setting, it was obscured by clouds. There were moments where the sun would peek through and we were treated to a sneak preview.

I guess I'm just going to have to come back next year!

Feb 22 - Reflections And Stuff (SToIC Day 4)

Second full day in Yosemite. I got up earlier and was able to visit more places. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean more better pictures. Yes, I said more better. I became a little obsessed with water reflections on this day, but I weeded a lot of them out. The one below is probably the best I captured.

Another photo from Valley View.

I paid another visit to Tunnel View. This is a model of Yosemite Valley. Looks pretty accurate to me.

Some icicles on the side of the road next to the tunnel.

Half dome! I'll be back in June to hopefully make it to the top.

Feb 21 - I'm No Ansel Adams (SToIC Day 3)

My first full day in Yosemite. Being a noob, I didn't really know where to go, but you inevitably spot people with tripods off the side of the snow-plowed roads. The photo below, looking toward Bridal Veil Fall, was the first such stop.

Another popular spot is aptly known as Valley View.

The Tunnel View viewpoint gives you the classic Yosemite valley shot.

I wanted to do an all black and white post, but I like this photo better in color. This is a closer look at Bridal Veil Fall. It was a short and very icy (read: slippery) walk to the viewpoint.

I figured I might as well go half and half on black and white versus color. This is downstream of Bridal Veil Fall.

Finally, here is a shot of Lower Yosemite Fall.

Feb 20 - Deer Parade (SToIC Day 2)

This is the day that SToIC (Solo Tour of Inner California) really began. I drove from Valencia to Yosemite and just as I entered the park, I was greeted by some deer on the side of the road.

I got there later than I planned, so I went straight to the stakeout area and found my spot in the snow. Unfortunately, no fire falls occurred on this night, but you can see the basic view I had of El Capitan.

It was pretty dark by the time I reached Camp 4. Luckily, the REI Half Dome 2 is insanely easy to set up. Yes, I love this tent. My new Columbia interchange jacket also worked well. For the most part, it kept me nice and warm.

Feb 19 - Agricola Fail (SToIC Day 1)

I'm being lazy and don't really want to start on the photos from my trip. So I figured I'd try to get the ball rolling with a photo from day 1. It was a pretty uneventful day at my cousin's place in Valencia. We played a lot of Kinect and later fit in a game of Agricola. This game is noteworthy because it's the first time I've ever lost. I'm losing my touch.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb 17 - SToIC Prep

This photo is pretty boring, but I wanted to mark the beginning of my road trip. For those that know me, I'm now in the habit of naming my excursions. This one is called SToIC - Solo Tour of Inner California. I plan on hitting Yosemite, Sequoia, and Joshua Tree.

I'm overpacking because Yosemite is getting pounded by snow right now. Hopefully, all these sleeping bags and blankets will be overkill. I'm calling it the Inception of sleeping bags. I'll use my sleeping bag liner inside my new sleeping bag inside my old sleeping bag. I'm also bringing an even older bag plus some blankets to help separate me as much as possible from the ground (I've also got my sleeping pad of course).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feb 14 - Hole In The Wall Gang

A bunch of us Yelpers decided to go get some LUV on Valentine's Day in the form of Luv-It Frozen Custard. It's in a not-so-great area by the Stratosphere and I think this photo captures that fairly well.

Feb 12 - Hot Air

Not a whole lot going on here. I was going for simplicity. And I don't like going too long without posting something. (That's three "going" sentences in a row).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feb 6 - Lingerie Foosball

I didn't get any amazing photos, but this was definitely an interesting experience. The whole "Lingerie Bowl" thing may have started as a gimmick, but these girls play hard and hit hard. The LA Temptation defeated the Philadelphia Passion by one point. It was an entertaining alternative to the Super Bowl.

They actually showed the first half of SB XLV on the screens and then started the Lingerie Bowl at half time. They only play two 12-minute halves, so I was able to make it to my cousins' place by the start of the fourth quarter of the bowl.

Feb 6 - Snow Ono Sisters

I met Marianne and Roxanne a few months ago at a little sushi get-together. I had never heard of Snow Ono at the time, but I've been wanting to try it ever since. I finally had my chance at the Fresh52 Farmer's Market in Henderson. Even with all the amazing things I had heard about their shave ice, it still managed to obliterate my expectations. Seriously. Marianne's shave ice is that ridiculously good. Photos would never do it justice, so I decided to capture the sisters in action instead.