Tag Archives: Eastern Sierra

Panasonic FZ1000, Landscape Camera Part 2

It’s been over a year since I last wrote about using the FZ1000 as a landscape camera.  And I’m happy to report that my opinion hasn’t changed, the FZ1000 is a great landscape camera!

This year, we spent 3 weeks in the Eastern Sierra.  In addition to fishing, photography and golf were on our list of activities.  I brought my Panasonic GX8 (with various lenses) and FZ1000.  One of the advantages of this camera combination is that they share the same battery.  I carry 4 batteries and 2 chargers and have had no problem running out of power with either camera.

Almost all of my photos begin as RAW files.  Sometimes I shoot both RAW and jpeg at the same time, especially when I want to use the FZ1000’s in camera black & white function.  The reason I shoot RAW is because I post process my photos.  This is my personal choice, and is something I enjoy doing, but I understand that it’s not for everyone.  If you’re one that doesn’t want to do post processing, or very limited processing, the jpegs from both the GX8 and FZ1000 are quite nice once you tweak some of the setting to your particular style.

Another benefit of using the Panasonic gear is I can get away with a much smaller/lighter tripod.  Both cameras are equipped with image stabilizers, but when the light is low, or for using long shutter speeds a tripod is necessary.  

And now for the photos:





I’ve had my FZ1000 for almost 2 years now. It has been without a doubt one of the most versatile cameras I have ever owned. There are times when I have to remember that I have a GX8 and need to use it because I will always reach for the FZ1000 automatically. Panasonic has recently release an updated version, the FZ2000/2500, but from some reports I have seen it isn’t a huge leap forward in image quality. It seems that it’s got additional features better suited for video, but the FZ1000 is still a match for it in the still photo department. That’s good to know because I don’t have any plans to move on. The FZ1000 is not only my go-to camera, but also my favorite!

Eastern Sierra RV Trip

Warning – This is another post that isn’t only about photography!  I’m going to mix the discussion up between photography and our annual Eastern Sierra Fall Color RV trip.

Several weeks ago my wife and I packed up 3 little dogs into our Southwind Class A motorhome and headed for the Eastern Sierra.  While it isn’t a difficult drive, we have been breaking it up into smaller chunks by spending a few days in the town of Bishop, California.  Bishop is located on the eastern side of the Sierra right along its base, and within easy driving distance of several lakes and streams.

There’s a nice campground on the north side of Bishop called Highlands RV Park.  It’s a paved RV park with trees, and a nice grass area for walking dogs.  It’s not fancy, but does have full hookups including 50 amp electrical service at each space.  We’ve been staying here for many years and have always found the park clean and the staff friendly.

After a few days in Bishop, we headed up Highway 395.  The long drive up the Sherwin Summit (about 7,000 feet with 6% grades) comes up very quickly once you’ve gotten out of Bishop.  Our Southwind “Goggins” isn’t going to win any races pulling a grade like this, especially since we are towing a Honda CRV, but the Workhorse chassis and big V8 continue to impress me!  In a little under 2 hours we were at our destination, Mono Vista RV Park in the town of Lee Vining.

From the road, Mono Vista RV Park has always intrigued me.  It’s a very pretty RV park with lots of very green grass, and large mature trees.  We’ve been wanting to try something different (we usually stay at a campground on the June Lake Loop) so we booked a site with Mono Vista for 2 weeks.

As far as the park is concerned, it’s very clean.  The spaces for RVs seemed wide enough that we weren’t stacked up on top of each other.  We were in the front row, pull through spot with full hookups, including 50 amp electrical service.

It’s not all sunshine and roses.  Just before we came up, my wife decided to check out some reviews of the park, and came away with some mixed feelings.  It seems that they have a reputation for being rude when quoting their rules to their park guests, especially regarding dogs.  One of their rules says that you CAN NOT leave your dog alone in your RV, at all.  They are also adamant about keeping your dog off of the grass areas around your RV.  There is a tiny area designated for dogs off to the north side of the park, and it connects to a trail that goes off into the bushes.

We love our dogs, and take them with us for rides and walks quite often.  But, we have left them in the RV (with the air/fans set and tv on) when we go fishing or out to dinner.  They don’t make any noise and have never been a problem.  In fact, they are better behaved than most peoples kids!  To be fair, I’m sure others have abused this rule and created problems.  What I don’t like is blanket rules for everyone because of a few idiots.  I didn’t like the feeling that I had to sneak around with my dogs for fear of getting caught on the grass or that I couldn’t go away for a few minutes without them.

Now don’t get the wrong impression.  Our 2 weeks at Mono Vista ended up being ok.  We worked within (and around) the rules and didn’t have any problems.  We were able to go fishing with and without the dogs, and it worked out quite well! Almost all of our fishing was done at Lundy Lake, which is within a relatively short drive from our camp. I think we will keep Mono Vista RV Park open as an option for future stays, but limit our time there to no more than 1 week.

And now let’s talk about photography!  Yes, I did actually spend some time trying to capture a few images.  There are a lot of options for fall colors in the area.  We were also much closer to Mono Lake than we had been in previous years so I was able to make a couple of visits to the Tufa.  I was also able to sit in on a Fall Color Photography presentation by Jeff Sullivan, a photographer that I follow on Google+, Flickr, and Facebook.  Jeff had his book “Photographing Southern California, Vol. 2” available and I picked up a copy.

I’m going to limit this discussion on photography to photos that I took with my LG-G4 phone.  There will be future posts where I share photos and info where I used my Panasonic GX8 and FZ1000, so please check back for updates.

I’ve been pleased with the quality of images coming from my phone.  When the light is good, the phone does quite well.  For post processing, I use an app called Snapseed.  Here are some examples:



After 2 weeks at Mono Vista, it was time to come down from the mountains for the final leg of our journey. One of our favorite campgrounds along the Scenic Byway of Highway 395 is near the little town of Lone Pine. The campground is called Boulder Creek, and is just a couple of miles south of Lone Pine, and sits at the base of the Eastern Sierra, Mt. Whitney, and the Alabama Hills. This campground has full hooks ups, a great store, club house, pool, etc…, along with a very friendly staff. They are also very dog friendly with lots of options for walking (with poopie-bags located throughout the park). What is really nice for your dogs is the completely gated dog park area, equipped with water, tables, and of course poopie-bags! And if you like military aircraft, the F-18’s from China Lake are usually buzzing about. This is a great RV park and definitely worth a look if you are in the area!

I didn’t do much in the way of photography for the 3 days we were camped at Boulder Creek, but there is a great little golf course nearby, the Mt. Whitney Golf Club. With wonderful views of the Eastern Sierra and Mt. Whitney, and almost always having the course to ourselves, we played 2 days in a row. We are much better at fishing than golf, but had fun (no need to add up the score and ruin the day).

That’s it for this post! Check back soon to see what kind of photos I was able to capture with my Panasonic GX8 and FZ1000!

Something Different, An RV Adventure!

This post is going to be a little different because I’m going to talk about our recent RV trip (with just a little photography thrown in).

Our usual June schedule is to get in the RV and go to Prescott, Arizona to visit family.  We spend a few days there, and then return home.  This year we also had family spending a few days in Mammoth Lakes, California within a couple of days of our planned Arizona departure.  So, we decided to connect the two trips together to make it one grand adventure!

Another difference between our 2015 Arizona trip and this year’s trip was we got a new motorhome.  Our previous motorhome was a 29 foot Class C, and this year we have a 33 foot Class A.


Maverick, 2006 29ft Class C Motorhome by Georgie Boy/Coachman


Goggins, 2006 33ft Class A Motorhome by Fleetwood

There are quite a few differences between the two motorhomes, including size.  Goggins (a name we borrowed from our Grandson) is built on a W22 Workhorse chassis, is 33 feet long, has 2 slideouts and has much more storage than Maverick.  Maverick was built on a Ford E-450 Truck/Van chassis and didn’t have any slideouts.

Driving Goggins is a much different experience than driving Maverick.  At almost 13 feet high, Goggins presents quite a large flat surface going down the road, kind of like a billboard.  So, when it gets windy or large trucks pass me, I can really feel it.  Nothing unsafe, but it can really get your attention and keep you on your toes!

Here’s a look at our route:

Our adventure started in Fontana, California, across the desert (during a heatwave) to Prescott, Arizona. From Prescott, we continued on for an overnight stay in Boulder City, Nevada. It was still very hot in Boulder City, and we had the longest leg of our journey across the Nevada desert to Mammoth Lakes, California. Before we headed home, we spent a couple of days in Lone Pine, California.

Just before we got under way, I was able to purchase an RV specific GPS, the Garmin RV 760LMT. The Garmin 760 is a decent GPS, and it’s larger size makes it easy to see on the large dashboard of Goggins. I was able to connect it to my Mac using the supplied software and download all of my routes and waypoints. I could have included the route as well, but opted not to, and let the GPS do that from waypoint to waypoint. There’s not much else to say about it, except that I didn’t rely solely on it for planning our trip. There are a lot of trip planning tools out there, but I found Good Sam’s Trip Planner does a very good job. The other tool that I used a lot was Google Maps. For each leg of the trip, I used Google Maps to locate gas stations, and shifted to Street View to verify that it was suitable for an RV the size of Goggins.

The grand total in milage was just over 1,200. This was by far our longest RV trip to date. As I already mentioned, we crossed many miles of desert. We also had the opportunity to do quite a bit of climbing up some very steep grades. At 33 feet long, Goggins is quite heavy at approximately 20,000 pounds, not to mention that we also tow our Honda CR-V. I have to say that I’m very impressed with the Workhorse Chassis. Goggins is powered by a Chevy Vortec 8.1 liter engine and has an Allison transmission, and the combination worked quite well. The only downside that I can think of is that at times there is quite a bit of noise. It doesn’t help that we are sitting right on top of the engine and transmission, but the main noise maker is when the clutch fan kicks in. And, since we were in the middle of a heat wave and doing a fair amount of climbing mountains, the fan kicked on a lot!

As the temperature rose outside, I started off by using the dash air. It worked adequately for awhile, but as we got further into the desert, between Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona the thermometer climbed to 120. In order to keep the inside of the coach somewhat comfortable, I started the generator and turned on both of the roof air conditioners. This strategy actually worked well, that is until we got onto some rough roads. Once we got off of Interstate 10 and on some two lane secondary roads heading to Congress, Arizona, we pitched and bounced around enough that the carburetor on the generator flooded out. I pulled over and was able to get it running again, but the road didn’t change and it just stopped again. Luckily we were gaining elevation and the temperature was slowly dropping from 120 down to 100. I know, that still seems very hot, but the drop was enough for the dash air alone to keep us comfortable.

Moving from a Maverick (Class C) to Goggins (Class A) with its 2 slide outs was a huge difference when we are parked. We have quite a bit more storage, both inside and a lot more leg room! We can stretch out, the dogs can play, and we aren’t bumping into each other constantly. It’s amazing what a couple of slide outs will do! One of the other little luxuries we now enjoy is a powered awning. In the past, Maverick’s manual awning did provide shade, but it was always a pain to put it up when a sudden wind came up. There were plenty of times during our 9 years with Maverick that a pleasant day turned to night, and we went to bed with the awning out (but tied down). Then, seemingly out of nowhere a heavy wind came up and started pulling on the awning and shaking us awake. So, I pulled on my clothes, jumped outside in the dark and worked to get the awning put away before the wind did any damage. Now, with Goggins I simply push a button, and the awning rolls up without a fuss!



From my ramblings above, you’d think the trip was only about driving Goggins. As I mentioned, we did visit with family, both in Prescott and Mammoth Lakes. We saw some beautiful scenery, drove through some very interesting little towns like Goldfield, Nevada, and had some fun hiking and playing golf! I was also able to sneak in some photography now and then.






So, I know this website is dedicated to photography, and you’re probably wondering what this post has to do with that. Actually, not much! RV’ing, spending time with family, spending time in nature are also passions of mine. I did mention that I was able to sneak in some photography time, and I’ll cover that in another post. The only thing I will say is that I used my LG-G4 cell phone’s camera for all of the photos in this post. Yes, I did have my other cameras with me, but there were many times when all I had was the cell phone. The LG-G4 did a pretty good job overall. I used Snapseed to edit my photos once they were on the phone, and I have Google Photos set up to automatically back up every shot I take. It works great and is something you should consider.

That’s it for this post. I’ll get back to photography next time. In the meantime, get out there and make some memories!