This past weekend, my family took our second camping trip of the year. For this one, we returned to Table Mountain Campground outside of Wrightwood, CA; it was here we first camped as a family last year. Located in the mountains of the Los Angeles National Forest, just east of Los Angeles, Table Mountain provides some great views and hiking trails, with the added benefit of being on a couple hours from San Diego.
One of things I like about the Table Mountain Campground is the number of camp sites to choose from, and that each has a fair amount of space. Perfect for letting the kid and dog roam around and play in, and perfect for getting some great nature shots. The other thing I like about the Table Mountain Campground is the 2.5 mile hiking trail that goes around the campground. The trail is mostly shaded, has a good mix of terrain, and opens up to some great views.
Now my son just loves to be outside exploring and playing; in fact, I think he'd spent most of his day, every day, outside if we let him. Well, he did just that on our camping trip. After helping us set up the tent, he was off to explore and play - and play he did, in the dirt, with sticks and rocks, his construction vehicle toy, a frisbee, and of course the water bucket. He played so hard in the dirt and mud that he turned a different shade of little boy, and reminded me a lot of Pigpen from Peanuts.
I absolutely loved watching and capturing him playing because it reminded me of my childhood.
My son was so dirty that despite a couple wipe downs at camp and a jaunt through the backyard sprinkler when we got home, it took a good scrubbing in the bath before all of the dirt came off. (too bad none of the orneriness came off too :-P )
Anyway, the other reason I love camping and hiking is the chance to explore and enjoy nature, and the opportunity it provides to work some personal photo projects. In this case, I wanted to work on my night sky photography, and I knew I would most likely have the opportunity to take some landscape photos, as well as hopefully one or two for my Flower Project.
You can read more about The Flower Project here:
As the sun began to set, our camp site at Table Mountain Campground provided a spectacular view of the sun through the trees as it descended behind the mountains to the west. The location was perfect for the sunlight to kiss the scraggly plant life in the area just next to our campsite.
As I watched the sunset while sipping my coffee, a little creative inspiration came to me. What's more relaxing than a nice cup of coffee and a beautiful sunset when camping? And how can I combine the two right here?
I quickly grabbed a piece of firewood that intrigued me earlier and sat it on the ground with my coffee cup right on it. And with the camera low to the ground I created a couple photographs that I hoped would combine how I felt at that moment with what I saw.
After the sun had set and the littleman was in bed, we built the fire up a bit, and enjoyed some tea and s'mores. I took this time to relax a little bit more and set up to capture some photos of the night sky. Unfortunately, the moon was against me getting some great shots of the Milky Way, and our camping trip wasn't something I could've planned around the moon's phase, so I adapted and ended up with some photos I was proud of.
The light from the moon forced me to think and compose my shots in different ways which was good. I think that learning to adapt and make the most and best of any situation is a skill that is great to have no matter the situation.
Here are the night sky photos I was created during our camping trip.
This camping trip taught me a lot about raising a kid and about photography. I love the photos I was able to create during the trip, and the memories that they depict are even more important to me. I can't wait until our next camping adventure. Until then though, there are a ton of other photographs to create and adventures to have.