Travel photography is not about F-stops, HDR or the size of camera-sensor pixels. Travel photography is about the experience. My first visit to the Eastern Sierra region was in the summer of 2004 when my friend and I took a three-day camping trip to Mono Lake / Bodie and Bishop. It was quite the trip, as we got the most amazing sunsets I had ever seen and the scenery certainly lived up to expectations. However it’s not the photography that I most remember about this trip. It was the camping experience itself.
On one of the days, we stayed at a campground just outside of Bishop. Soon after pulling in, we went to the trailer where the campground manager lived. Then out comes this curmudgeonly fellow with an eye patch. Ok. Rough life, who knows. So we follow him inside of the trailer to make payment when I immediately notice a large caged bird in the corner which normally wouldn’t look out of place but what caught my eye was that there was nothing below the bird to catch it’s poop so you can probably imagine where it goes from there. Let’s just say that it didn’t look nor smell like the trailer had been cleaned for some time… I had to fight myself from busting out laughing in his face for fear of being disrespectful but that image has long since stuck with me.
The night was even crazier as a large group of campground patrons next to our campsite didn’t seem to know the definition of curfew and kept their stereos and loud talking going until the late hours of the night despite repeated visits from the authorities. Some of the other patrons were ticked off as well but it didn’t deter those people. Since my friend and I had a sunrise shoot planned (the photo above) we made no attempt to keep quiet at the early hours and shined the high beams into a few tents for good measure. Those people had probably just gone to sleep not long before so neither of us felt any sense of guilt about it.
Though the camping experience was less than ideal, it is experiences like this during a trip that add to the experience. If everything were always fine and dandy then it would be a boring planet. If looking back at the trip six years later can bring a smile to my face then it was probably worth suffering through a night of hell for.
See more of my Eastern Sierra pictures.