Test-la: 1-day road trip from Tacoma to California with Tesla Autopilot

The plan was sound - get a good night’s rest, leave the house by 5 am, and drive to California. I wanted to see if Tesla’s autopilot really did remove the majority of driving stress on long road trips. What better way to do this than by driving down 101 and seeing some beautiful scenery on the way to Cali in one day?  

Truth be told, it didn’t start as I had expected. The night before, our tabletop game night went longer than anticipated, but guess what? My character went through some heavy life things, came out the other side a rank higher, obtained a flame bone klaive and was declared the alpha of our pack. Totes worth the missed sleep. 👍

We left home at 5:30 am, and got to our first supercharger stop at 7:30, in Vancouver. I must say, the first leg was not bad at all. I didn’t feel groggy, or like I had been driving for two hours already. We listened to our audiobook, my fiancé took a quick nap and after a charge up we were on our way, this time with Oregon as our next stop.  

 

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We got back in the spaceship and launched. After a short 2 hour drive, we were in Lincoln City, Oregon! Plugged into a supercharger, set a 1 hour timer and got some grub at a delicious Thai restaurant. A little skeptical due to our last Oregonian Asian cuisine run-in which granted us a +5 food poisoning debuff, we will continue to monitor our health. I was worried that we were not going to have enough available in our nearby area, but Tesla has done well to inject chargers in places of business and food. Go Elon! 

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Our last non-destination supercharger - right next to the cleanest Dollar Tree I had ever seen (Bandon, OR; props). I still didn’t feel like I’d driven for seven hours! Aside from a handful of manual driving takeovers, the Autopilot was the star of the show as I was hoping it would be. It’s outperformed many winding roads and multiple times I drummed the steering wheel gleefully while saying “good girl!” We left for last last two-hour leg of driving, with California in our sights. 

Before we got to our hotel, we had to stop and get some beach photos. No, seriously; Dorothy was drooling over the sunset so obviously we stopped to capture it. Look at these.

After our pit stop, we checked in at our hotel and got some grub at Pizza King, as exemplified by our very serious photos below. 

We finished up our food and turned in for the night. 

The road home was quicker (we took I-5 home) but still had some stuff to see before we left the winding roads of the mountain.  

And at the end of the 9 hours driving home, I didn’t feel drained or tired. It was the first time that I had been on a trip where the drive itself was the reason for going. Where have you traveled to where the adventure itself was the purpose of your travel?

Adventure time in Tacoma

Had some fun today with my good friend Marc downtown. We grabbed a coffee and talked all about shooting, composition and light manipulation, settings and how they help shape what you shoot, and a whole lot more. It was a blast nerding out about it!

We started at by the water and got nice shadow shots. Then we went to the city for a more industrial feel. 

Walking around and snapping some shots ha always been a reliable way for me to unwind and relax. Where are some places I should check out in the Tacoma / Lakewood area? I’d love to check out some more places and see what you guys have got to show!

Holiday 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Apologies for my extended absence; 2018 has been quite a year!

Let’s see:

  • I got engaged to my beautiful fiancé Dorothy
  • new role at my job that I love  
  • we got a house  
  • new camera (Nikon Z6) 
  • new car (Tesla Model 3)

I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, it’s been crazy! It took a long time to save for all of these things, and it was completely worth it.  

I know that I said I was going to post more regularly. I didn’t, and I’m sorry. 😐 

I know it’s early, but my New Year’s resolution will be to post at least once a month. Let me know what you’d be interested in hearing about or learning about in the comments below!

 

Growing Pains... Money and All That Stuff

Hi everyone! Welcome back :) Sorry for the delayed post, there was some crazy stuff this weekend and I didn't have time to get this out by Sunday like I would have preferred... But anyway, here we are! 

Last week I was talking about how growth usually takes the form of failing at something before finding ways in which to excel. Or, as the saying goes: 

 

Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.

-Jake, the dog

 

This week, the area I have been addressing is how for a business to grow, more often than not there is money that needs to be spent. It can be on lots of things, and the biggest thing that is new for me is investing in customer acquisition, or finding new customers. It's not as easy as messaging someone and being like, "Hey! Do you need some pictures taken?" Or, rather, it CAN be that easy, but it isn't always.

There is something I have been using off and on for the last couple years called Thumbtack. It basically matches customers with local professionals to get tasks completed. So, people go on this site, say "I need a ___ photographer" and the site sends out a notification to photographers in the area saying "so-and-so needs a ____ photographer". Then up to five photographers send a quote and the customer picks who to work with. Pretty easy, right?

That's what I thought. Things I didn't take into account:

  1. The sheer number of requests there are
  2. The number of qualified people sending quotes
  3. Coming at each new client with a fresh set of eyes
  4. Assuming positive intent sometimes being difficult
  5. Trusting complete strangers
  6. Navigating legal situations with contracts
  7. People canceling at the very last minute

I have been able to work through many of these with minor roadblocks, and in fact we just finished a wedding! The images have just been delivered to the clients and they really liked them. :)

Thanks for bearing with me and this longer "wall of text" post. You all are the best!

Humble Beginnings; Before and After Some Tough Lessons

We've all been bad at stuff. 

We've all been less than stellar at something that we desperately wanted to be better at, and we have all longed for it to be an instantaneous overnight transition. I wish that it was that easy to become better at things.  If that were the case, I would be the best at kayaking across all of the world and the greatest bubble gum bubble blower the planet has ever seen. 

Alas, it takes dedication, time, practice, and mistakes - yes, mistakes - to learn what you actually want and how you want to get there. 

For me, the thing I have always wanted to be awesome at is photography. To this day, I know there are at least 42 things that I can do to improve, but it is also important to look back and see how far you have progressed. Without reflection there can be no comparison... Not only that, but it should be YOU you compare yourself to. I think it is extremely helpful to look to others that are skilled in an area to see what makes them great. In terms of growth, I feel that it is essential that you are your own measuring stick. In this way, you are most relevantly and accurately logging how much you have changed, developed, and progressed.

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”
— Jack Burton, 'Big Trouble in Little China'

This is tough for me to do. I am going to post some of my very first photos, right next to a similar photo that I feel shows how I have grown in an area. I invite you all to leave your thoughts in the comments below; were the first photos better? Am I trying too hard to make things look better? I appreciate any words you've got and I don't get offended easily. ...That is not an invitation to try and offend me, though. ;) 

 

Right off the bat, things that come to mind:

  • I am not afraid to get closer to my subjects; whether that be a light, a face, or a mountain.
  • Overall the "after" photos are brighter (except for one).
  • Things seem much more composed and thought out

It takes a lot to admit that you could be better at something, but that is where improvement begins. We have to be willing to say "I am not as good at this as I could be". Once that happens, I think that growth happens more quickly than we would want it to. Remember to ask for help, and remember that there are people in your life that want you to develop and level up your skills. If I can help, please tell me so I can assist in getting you to your next level as so many have done for me. :) 

Thoughts?