A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Images at 70 miles per hour

Yesterday we made what I call a Banzai Run south to the Los Angeles area and back home to the north bay area of San Francisco in one day. We left at 4:30 AM and was home at 10:30 PM. 840 miles. The reason was to visit my grand aunt (my grandmother's younger sister) one last time. She is 100 years old and had a medical issue this week which put her into the hospital.

As we motored down Interstate 5. I took several shots of the farm and ranch lands as the sun rose yesterday morning. I was using my new 70-300 vibration reduction lens. All shots were at 70mm. I like how it performed.

This shot here I can see the sheep are not as sharp. May have moved the camera some, hit a bump or it was a matter of them being closer to the road.

These are fruit trees in blossom. The trees are much closer to the highway and I simply shot directly at them.
Thought it looked interesting in a weird sort of way.

Sunset on the return ride home. My wife shot this across from the passenger seat so part of the door frame is in it. It was either the door frame or my fat head, and she chose the door frame.

Friends think we're nuts for doing this and not staying overnight in a motel. Well, LA is just plain nasty. We just want to get in and get out of there. And then once out of southern California, why stay in a skanky overpriced motel room, lying on a bed that who knows what has occurred on or in it, watching some mindless television program in the early evening hours still wide awake thinking about "I could be home in a few hours"? Road food, diners, refueling stops, coffee drinks, listening to This American Life pod casts, all part of the adventure. This wasn't the first Banzai Run I've done and probably will not be the last. Why stop?


  1. I'm totally with you. If you can stay alert, then keep driving. I'd much rather sleep in my own bed for less hours than a 'skanky' hotel one for more hours. :)

    Those top shots are gorgeous! Lovely rounded hills! And I'm glad you included the fruit tree one! Pure art - frame-worthy!!!

  2. Great shots at 70! I agree, why stop. I just want to get home.

  3. Great images, and I think they tell the story better than if you stopped to take the shot. The occasional motion blur, the door pillar...all part of the story. I like that.

    The second to last is very dynamic, and a great abstract. I look and I can see that something is there, but I just can't quite make it out. Fun!

    Gorgeous sunset!

  4. this sounds like so much fun!!! the light in the first photo is splendid. that scenery looks so foreign to me as I've never been to California; it could be half-way around the world. I understand your not wanting to stay in L A. I once had a stopover at LAX on my way to Hawaii and I didn't leave the airport but it was big. Everything was big.
    the countryside you drove through is so beautiful I'm happy you took all these fantastic photos and shared.
    have a great weekend Johnny Lee.

  5. First off , i"m sorry about your aunt. 100 though! That's pretty great! Secondly, that last paragraph is perfect. Totally agree. We avoid going anywhere near the LA/Southern CA area. It is just gross. It's like my hell. One time we took a wrong turn and were going into the belly of the beast...we had to pull over to control ourselves. I do NOT know how people live there. 840 in one day though, that is impressive stuff- well done! Love the blurred shot!

  6. I'm exhausted just reading about your day. I cannot spend that much time in a car in one day, but totally get your reasoning. "Grab shots," I see.

  7. Good grief! and that's just a wee corner of the country. Driving diagonally across Britain from the top right corner to the bottom left is 874 miles by road, just a few miles longer than your jaunt around Califonia.
    Enjoyed the shots to illustrate your journey - hope it wasn't one hand on the wheel and another on the camera.

  8. Bizzare that you post the shot your wife accidently took of either your head or the inside of the car. Abstract catagory for sure. Southern California is not pretty indeed. Enjoyed reading your adventure.

  9. Were you driving at the time???? These did come out pretty good!

  10. That was quite a run for one day, but I'm glad you had a chance to see your grand-aunt. She would probably also appreciate your efforts and soaking in and sharing the countryside scenery on her behalf. She surely witnessed a huge amount of change in her 100 years.
    Glad you're home safely. I'm with you on avoiding those skanky motels.

  11. Whew! Fortunately we have a bed in Santa Barbara when we need it...a nice, cozy bed and great family. But we had to make a foray further on Sunday to Santa Monica. Of course, everyone was out since it was a gorgeous day. But we got to see the twins on the beach! Sometimes you just have to do it. We were back in SB by 4:30 pm.

  12. Thanks to all of you for your comments. I have to say I am surprised that every one of them agreed and understood as to how we approached this. I guess it is just those who we know think we're nutz. We did a driver switch so I could eat my fast food breakfast on the fly(that junk food stays with you long into the day), and finished eating as the sun rose. So I took the shots from the passenger seat looking off to my right, thus I was not driving. I wouldn't attempt a photo with the DSLR. That is when my little Canon point and shoot camera comes into play.

    As an added note, if you stop to figure the time to the airport, arrive hours early to check-in, the strip search, the wait, delays, added hassles, pick up rental car, check that in and out, then rinse and repeat for the return trip home, the total time involved is not much different than driving. Total costs are several times greater than if you drove to Los Angeles and back to San Francisco.

  13. Great shots from a beautiful landscape.
    The bird you saw in my last post was a bullfinch.
    Have a great weekend:)

  14. I love all the green fields in that area. What a sunset!

  15. Okay. I see the 70-300 VR. We recently added a Sigma lens of this same type. I really like it for bright sunshine, but I guess the F settings don't like hazy days much as I get a lot of wash-out with it. Still learning...

  16. Beautiful lighting that you captured here. I'm glad you like your new lens!


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