Home · Register · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

  

CA: Photography based Overlanding

  
 
msoomro
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


I have a few days I can spend for photography this year. I'd like to explore the backcountry of CA (and maybe OR) photographing landscapes while also overlanding and offroading easy trails. I'd also like to try me hand on drone/aerial photography.

There is TON of location knowledge on this forum and I'd love some recommendations on locations / general areas I should consider, based on following criteria

Drone friendly
Easy off road tracks
Overlanding / boondocking friendly


thx




Sep 14, 2023 at 12:05 PM
Craig Gillette
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Any preferences on seasons or subject matter times of year? Although not every year is a super bloom, there are some areas which generally have impressive spring flower displays. As mentioned in the other thread, the area from about Bishop to Tahoe/Donner, the aspens can be spectacular in fall. It may be broader than that but that's the region I'm somewhat familiar with.

My impression is, and this may be just "terminology" but most places except designated off road vehicle areas, want you on existing roads. But, quite a few unpaved roads so that should be fine. With National forests, BLM land and National (and state parks, etc.), the agencies will have the info on roads and dispersed camping requirements. And drone operations, aside from general FAA requirements, may be controlled in various areas.




Sep 14, 2023 at 04:43 PM
Rajan Parrikar
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Drones are not allowed in National Parks or in National Preserves in California such as the Mojave. They are generally allowed on BLM land unless it is a designated Wilderness area. There are also FAA regulations to be aware of. (I left the state in 2018 when new rules for drone pilots were just being formulated.) A Google search will spring much information on the subject. For instance, see -

https://pilotinstitute.com/blm-land-drones/





Sep 14, 2023 at 05:44 PM
gdanmitchell
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


msoomro wrote:
I have a few days I can spend for photography this year. I'd like to explore the backcountry of CA (and maybe OR) photographing landscapes while also overlanding and offroading easy trails. I'd also like to try me hand on drone/aerial photography.

There is TON of location knowledge on this forum and I'd love some recommendations on locations / general areas I should consider, based on following criteria

Drone friendly
Easy off road tracks
Overlanding / boondocking friendly

thx



Given "a few days" and your interet in "the backcountry of CA," can you shed a bit of light on a few things?

- I wonder what you mean when you write backcountry? Gravel an 4WD roads? Hiking trails? Country roads?

2. The landscape is pretty diverse including wild places with such things as ocean coast, desert, mountains, sparsely. populated areas that are more like Oregon than California, and so forth. Any of those in particular that interest you?

3. What time of the year? Some places are better choices in a particular season and a poor or even nearly impossible choice in other seasons.

There are, for example, places with fine "easy off road tracks" that might make sense in one season but be a less attractive choice in others. The same holds true for the remote vehicle camping opportunities.

Good luck.

Dan



Sep 14, 2023 at 11:16 PM
Charlie San
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Peter Figen has a nice current post about US395 on FM, https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1824593, along some back country in CA. I spent time there and found nice places to photograph too, like some old mining towns (Randsburg), Alabama Hills, Devil’s Postpile, White Mountains, Sierra Nevada, to say a few. Probably more to see and shoot than you have time.


Sep 15, 2023 at 08:32 AM
msoomro
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Thanks all who responded.

Intended trip is a week including drive time from Seattle either last week or Sept. or 2nd week of October

My focus is fall colors and panoramic landscapes. I have been to, and reasonably familiar with the OR/CA coast. However this time around I'd be avoiding the coastal areas and be inland like Mountains, desert, fall colors.

I am keeping my locations / destination open to suggestions (hence the post) so that I don't confine myself to "a area" without considering all options.

Logistics: I will be living out of my SUV turned camper. The vehicle is off road capable however, I'd like to stay upto gravel roads and avoid venturing on technical off road trails needing High clearance.


Ay thoughts :-) ?



Sep 18, 2023 at 01:27 PM
elkhornsun
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


With a few days I would explore the area around Portland Oregon with its many waterfalls and available boat trips offshore or on the Columbia River. Distances are much less than in California and so much less time spend driving and more time taking pictures.


Sep 18, 2023 at 06:28 PM
msoomro
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


@elkhornsun I agree with your suggestions but I've done those many times over. Looking for some change


Sep 18, 2023 at 07:03 PM
gdanmitchell
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


msoomro wrote:
Thanks all who responded.

Intended trip is a week including drive time from Seattle either last week or Sept. or 2nd week of October

My focus is fall colors and panoramic landscapes. I have been to, and reasonably familiar with the OR/CA coast. However this time around I'd be avoiding the coastal areas and be inland like Mountains, desert, fall colors.

I am keeping my locations / destination open to suggestions (hence the post) so that I don't confine myself to "a area" without considering all options.

Logistics: I will be living out of my SUV turned camper. The vehicle is off
...Show more

2nd week of October is prime aspen fall color season in the Eastern Sierra — roughly from the Carson Pass area south to around Bishop. To focus a bit more, think of Bridgeport to Bishop as likely prime areas.

Almost any road into the range heading west from US 395 has aspen color potential.

There are tons of places to camp all through here. There are many, many forest service campgrounds, including some way up back roads. (Some of these are just south of the Bridgeport area.) There's also plenty of BLM land to camp on east of 395 — my. particular experience with that is roughly between Mono Lake and Long Valley just south of the Mammoth Lakes turnoff. (There's a lot of interesting stuff to explore — including fall color stuff — _east_ of the Sierra in this area, but I'll let you explore and discover for yourself.)

Your alternative late September date is a bit early for time Eastern Sierra aspen color. There is some by then, but the real show comes a bit later.



Sep 18, 2023 at 11:29 PM
Craig Gillette
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


It looks like the better part of two days driving to get from Seattle to Redding, then to South Lake Tahoe. I'm not closely watching any of the fall color discussions/advertising, etc., this year for the eastern Sierra because I have obligations which will not allow me to travel there during the peak period. Gdanmitchell - Dan - who posted above is quite knowledgeable on the Sierra and fall color, may have more accurate/direct suggestions. My impression is the best times are usually the latest parts of September and first week or two of October. But it varies. It may require some "chasing" to find the right locations, either by north/south or elevation. One trip, quite a few years ago, we had very good conditions about the 29-30 September or so and were staying at Mammoth. Then a quick storm came in and we got heavy winds and rain/snow which was hard on the aspens. My last trip was about 10-12 October and it was wonderful. We did get a quick storm but it came and went wasn't so strong as to be too hard on the colors. I couldn't begin to guess whether the last week of September or second week of October would be best bet or whether, if possible, you could make a last minute decision based on conditions.

Edit: I see Dan was typing faster than I was. Can't argue with his post.



Sep 18, 2023 at 11:56 PM
 


Search in Used Dept. 

gdanmitchell
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Craig Gillette wrote:
It looks like the better part of two days driving to get from Seattle to Redding, then to South Lake Tahoe. I'm not closely watching any of the fall color discussions/advertising, etc., this year for the eastern Sierra because I have obligations which will not allow me to travel there during the peak period. Gdanmitchell - Dan - who posted above is quite knowledgeable on the Sierra and fall color, may have more accurate/direct suggestions. My impression is the best times are usually the latest parts of September and first week or two of October. But it varies. It
...Show more

Over many years I have learned some important things about the all color schedule in the Eastern Sierra:

1. Once it starts, the pattern of change runs roughly along rather similar lines each year. And...

2. Surprisingly, most years the color starts pretty close to the same time, though...

3. During some exceptional drought or precipitation years things can be thrown off in different ways. And...

4 This was a season of exceptional precipitation. I'm not certain how that will affect timing. Will..

5 It come earlier because the temperatures have recently been cooler? Or...

6. Will it come a little later because things were delayed earlier in the year by late snow melt? I don't know, but...

7. I regard the second week of October as the most reliable time to find good color. However...

8. There is often good color at the beginning of the month, especially up high, and...

9. If you poke around at lower elevations, there can be great color in lower elevation groves even after it is largely gone up high during the third week of October. However...

10. There's no way to totally predict all of this. Early storms with wind and snow can both bring down leaves and trigger increased color a few days later. A lot of it is imponderable. However...

... if in doubt, week II of October is the best bet.

BTW, most folks could get all the way to the Tahoe from Seattle in two days, I think. I've actually (and perhaps regrettably) done the entire Seattle-SF Bay Area in a single day more than once, though I do not recommend that. I think of it as a decent two-day drive.

Finally, I'm headed up that way for a few days starting this morning. I may be able to get a sense of where things are heading and, if so, I may have more to say when I return.



Sep 19, 2023 at 10:44 AM
StephenS_CP
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


I live across the Sound from you and have a timeshare in June Lake, CA. I go to annually for a week. It is 16 hours drive time from Seattle to June Lake, i.e. about the middle of Dan's prime Eastern Sierra Fall Color area. A bit longer for me than it would be for you. Since I have a targeted destination in mind, I tend to drive straight through with about 24 hours on-the road time, driving alone. But that is my travelling style. One thing I've learned is to take advantage of the Rest Areas. It is quite acceptable to pull into those for a short night's sleep in your SUV/camper.

You didn't call out Eastern Sierra Fall Color, i.e. Aspens, as a prime goal for this trip so I can suggest that if you want to reduce your driving time consider southern and southeastern Oregon and northern/northeastern California east of I-5. You might not need to go as far Bridgeport and Bishop for your wide landscape photography.

In my explorations travelling back and forth I've travelled most of the routes across the Cascades. Some that have caught my eye:

-- The Umpqua River Valley east to Crater Lake. There can be great fall color in any of those river valleys crossing the Cascades

-- On one trip I combined my June Lake trip with a week of trailer camping in the Sun River, OR area south of Bend. Lots of national forest campgrounds out towards Paulina Lake; and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and easy access to the eastern slopes of the Cascades to the west and the Deschutes River.

-- The drive from Redding/Red Bluff though Byrnie Falls and the eastern side of Mt Lassen [and presumably the Mt. Lassen volcanic fields themselves]. Great fall color in the scrub vegetation and oaks and along the rivers. Wide open spaces. It seemed to me there was a lot of boon-docking availability along there as well.

Example: Burney Creek above Burney Falls
Burney Creek by Stephen Shoff, on Flickr


I like the Eastern Sierra Fall Color, but I don't typically respond to threads about that because Dan provides such good and comprehensive information.



Sep 19, 2023 at 01:55 PM
elkhornsun
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


With only a few days you might consider flying to the Sacramento airport and then driving to Yosemite. Very nice in the park in the fall and winter months.


Sep 19, 2023 at 02:45 PM
msoomro
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Dan, Craig, Stephan and all thank you some very good pointers here. Next step for me to map it all out.

@stephanS_Cp Yea very familiar With Sequim. Nice town. I Occasionally go for lavenders and enroute to coast.

When travelling for photography, I travel in my Sequoia converted for overlanding. My driving style and trios are very near to yr style. Allow me to PM u directly and maybe we can hook up.



Sep 20, 2023 at 11:35 AM
GroovyGeek
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


I do not who maintains this treasure but year after year it is meticulously updated. Thank you to whoever you are

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?hl=en_US&mid=12FSQxbVe9CedswOvJaWaeI5vvYU

PS1 as is often the case FM redirects are very temperamental and often break. Paste the link directly into a browser

PS2 it has been an incredibly wet year. I made two attempts to get to the top of White Mountain Peak on two successive weekends and had to turn around both times right around 14,000 ft elevation due to 6ft visibility, 50 mph winds and horizontal sleet flying into my face and rapidly accumulating and obscuring the trail. Pretty unusual weather for September. EVERYTHING in the Owens Valley looks like spring, at least it did a week ago. Green and lush. And there is quite a bit of snow remaining at high elevation. If the temperatures drop sharply it may be an epic fall color year but without cold weather fall color will probably be late.

PS3 there is no "proper" overloading in the East Sierras. You will have to go to DV, JT and Anza Borrego for that. There is some BLM land with relatively easy 4x4 trails near the Buttermilks and Coyote Flats right off it. The Alabama Hills can be done in a Prius, but Whitney Portal Rd is closed due to flood damage. Moffat Ranch is absolutely spectacular during fall color but that is going to be closer to December. There is BLM land north of the Mammoth turnoff on 395 as well as the Pleasant Valley near Bishop. All of it is easily accessible and rather crowded.



Sep 21, 2023 at 02:37 AM
AmbientMike
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


Taking the direct route to Merced from Oakhurst, outside of Yosemite, is pretty interesting




Sep 21, 2023 at 12:57 PM
Craig Gillette
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


I did a bit of routing with my search engine, Bing, I guess. I like Google better when it comes to maps. Not sure how the route suggestions might differ. I did Seattle to Redding, then separately Redding to "South Lake Tahoe." Redding was a guess as I'm in SoCal and usually not up that direction too often by car.

Basically it was I5 south to Sacramento then east on US 50. (I don't know how they prioritize things but believe it's almost all based on fastest routing, not most scenic, or most sensible. I did a quick check one time from my home to South Rim Grand Canyon and because there was some sort of issue somewhere on I15 or I40 it recommended some of the most remote, lonely, isolated and services-less roads through the desert, saving something like 10 minutes. which is to suggest research the suggested routes!) I think that's a fair suggestion. Alternatively you could consider going east on Ca 20 before you get to Sacramento and take it eventually through the gold country and to I80 to Truckee. This is just north of Tahoe and there may be color in the area and around the lake. I'd expect some time lost, don't know how much, but surely more scenic.

From South Lake Tahoe, there are highways 88 and 89 which get you into Hope Valley and then can get to 395. those are areas to look up for color opportunities. I do agree that Bridgeport south to Bishop working from 395 is the best concentrated area. Between US 50 and 120, the Tioga road through Yosemite, there are a couple of cross Sierra highways. Quite scenic. Worth considering but not "fast," so choosing them might depend on current reporting on conditions and time concerns.



Sep 21, 2023 at 03:08 PM
OregonSun
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


A more remote and solitary alternative to the usual CA suspects would be to check out eastern Oregon.

In the northeast you have the Wallowa Mtns and Hell's Canyon. The area around the Painted Hills is full of interesting places to explore. Further south and east is Oregon's small portion of the Great Basin, with unique locations like Fort Rock, Steens Mt. and the Alvord Desert. If you're that far south, Sheldon Antelope Refuge just over the border in Nevada is pretty cool.

Most of these areas have tons of backcountry roads and camping.


Near Joseph, OR







Painted Hills area











Around Steens Mt.











Fort Rock area











Sheldon Antelope Refuge










Sep 21, 2023 at 10:02 PM
gdanmitchell
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · CA: Photography based Overlanding


elkhornsun wrote:
With only a few days you might consider flying to the Sacramento airport and then driving to Yosemite. Very nice in the park in the fall and winter months.


Flying and then renting a car is a fine idea, and it gives more time on location — but it might not fit the OP's idea about boondocking and going off the main roads. (BTW, agree with an earlier poster that most of the off-road opportunities in Eastern California tend to be, in my experience, not so much big through routes. Thought there are a ton of fascinating back routes to explore. I just wandered off a new one (to me) near Mono Lake this morning...

Regarding Yosemite, a few important things to keep in mind:

- It is very definitely NOT drone-friendly. In fact, it is illegal to fly drones in the park.

- The OP didn't mention it specifically, but if fall color is on the agenda, the Valley is not the same schedule as the annual aspen show. Theater is (speaking generally) and early October thing. Color in the Valley comes later, right around the 1st of November most years.

- Of course, the "boondocking" prospects can become more, uh "interesting" later in the season when real snow begins.

I'm just back from the Sierra and the East Side — literally at hour ago. There are people camping off-grid in lots of places east of US 395. Lots of opportunities for that, and not all are east of the highway.

Crazy trip I had by the way. I was camped at about 9500' just east of Yosemite. I had wind, rain, hail, graupel, snow.

Before I went I mentioned somewhere in this forum that I'd have something to say. about the prospects for fall color. I have to say that I'm no clearer on that now than I was before. It is an unusual year. There's still snow from last winter in the high country, and there's lots of water everywhere. Meadows area still partially green and there are a lot of wildflowers in wet areas. So that might argue for a later color change. On the other hand, it has been cooler and wetter than many years... and that suggests earlier.

Speaking of "cooler and wetter," a short video clip from Thursday (9/21) at close to 10,000 near the eastern boundary of Yosemite NP:

https://youtu.be/QLeDmm6MYRY?si=O3afvvckHHhXTBtn

I saw the tiniest bit of aspen color, mostly on distressed trees and "scrub aspen" at high elevations. But nothing at all like a wholesale start of the change.

Your guess is as good as mine.



Sep 21, 2023 at 10:09 PM







FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username       Or Reset password



This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.