Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Drive (Sturgis or Bust!)

So, it's crunch time.

We've started looking at routes, and have decided to take the most direct route there is. We could've taken I-10 out to Dallas and then made a right, but we've opted to head north on I-75 off I-10. We'll take that through Atlanta and Chattanooga and up into Nashville.

From Nashville we'll hop onto I-57 and stay on that until St. Louis. There we'll hop onto I-70 into Kansas City, which is where we'll pick up I-29. We'll follow that through Sioux City, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. When we hit Sioux Falls, South Dakota we'll head west on I-90 and follow that until we hit Rapid City, South Dakota.

Despite it being somewhat late in the game as far as planning goes, we were able to get a campsite, with full RV hook-ups, at the Lake Park Campground in Rapid City. Our other option was a primitive site at the Buffalo Chip and, to be honest, there's going to be a lot going on there. But "a lot going on" also equates to "a lot" of noise at all hours.

Lake Park is roughly 30 miles from downtown Sturgis, but they offer wi-wfi, a shower house and a laundry. There are shuttles which run from all of the area campgrounds into Sturgis and, while they don't originate rides in Sturgis, I can take an Uber from Rapid City into Sturgis. I also have the option of toolin' around in the camper, because it's not so big that it can't be used for day trips.

Ah, yes, the camper. 

 It's a Mercedes-Benz "Sprinter" type camper, although I'm not certain of the exact model. Seeing as it's Greg's, he'll get the king size bed in the back. I'll figure something out, as the captain's chairs behind the driver's seat and the passenger seat don't fold out into a bed. They do, however, swivel, so I'm sure I'll be able to make due.

And, if worse comes to worse, we'll be packing a huge tent that I can always crash in, as well. The reality of it all is that I've fallen asleep in my desk chair so often that I'm not really concerned with where I end up sleeping on this trip.

Greg and I plan on leaving around 1:00pm on Tuesday. That way, hopefully, we'll avoid the rush hour nightmare that is weekday Atlanta traffic. We'll take turns driving; probably five hours at a shot, so that we can drive straight through.

Our total drive time, assuming we make gas and sanity stops along the way, should take us right around 32 hours. That'll put us rolling into Rapid City Wednesday evening. Otherwise, we'll stop along the way to decompress and and roll into town during the day on Thursday.

Either way it's gonna' be a fun trip!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Just A Week Out...

So, for Sturgis, I want to make sure I'm ready for whatever shooting scenario I find myself in.

The primary rig I'll be using for photographing around downtown Sturgis and the madness there will be the Canon 5D MKIV and the Tamron 24-70mm f/28 VC. I bought the Tamron lens after my Canon version died. I was looking at a repair bill of around a grand for the Canon, and it just didn't make sense to me to send it in.

I recently shot the Mecum Summer Special with this lens, and I'm impressed. The vibration control is, according to Tamron, good for five stops. I thought that was a bit enthusiastic of a claim but, man, I gotta' tell you, I was shooting at 1/30 of a second and getting razor sharp images. So, yeah, call me a convert.

So, I'll have that wonderful "downtown rig", but I don't plan on staying in downtown Sturgis for the entire 12 days. There's a lot to see and do. Badlands National Park is just over an hour away. Devil's Tower, in Wyoming, is 90 minutes away. I've been to both of those already, but I wouldn't mind going back So, for that reason, I'm packing up the ol' Pelican case (which has been empty for far too long):


The gear...


In addition to the aforementioned rig, I'll also have my Canon 6D, my 100-400mm, the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 17-40mm. I'm hoping to be able to convince some people to let me shoot their portrait. For this, I'll be bringing the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART lens. I was on the fence but, since space isn't an issue, I figured I'd bring it along.It can be a tricky lens to use, but the results are stellar. This is a photograph I took of my friend with the Sigma lens:


The image quality produced by this lens is... it's just different. It's not necessarily "better", per se, but there's something about it which makes me want to use this lens more. I'm just hoping I can get some willing participants!

And, as if all of that wasn't enough, I'm also bringing my Fuji X100F. It'll be great for shooting in the camper and during those pit stops we'll make along the way:


So, now that the gear is all inventoried and packed, it's time to start in on the more mundane things; laundry, packing, yadayadada. The reality is that the next week is going to fly by and I don't want to get caught short.

I likely won't make another entry until, the earliest, a day or two before we depart. Thankfully the camper has wi-fi, so I'll be able to do updates from the road here on the blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc. during the trip, and I'll definitely be checking in from Sturgis after we arrive...

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Sturgis, Baby!

Well, after having not posted anything for quite a while, the traveling bug has bitten down once again, this time putting me on the road the South Dakota and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.


I was actually in the process of planning a trip to Colorado Springs to photograph the Garden of the Gods. It's been a kind of bucket list shoot for me, and I'm excited to finally get the chance to head out there. I got a really good price on a flight, so the end of August was looking like a perfect time to schedule my next photo excursion.

And then my buddy Greg bought a camper: 


Mercedes Benz Sprinter Camper

So, after a few beers and "what if" scenarios, we're leaving for Sturgis on August 2nd, and we're planning to return to St. Augustine no later than August 14.

Now, I don't ride, but Greg does, and we'll be dragging a trailer with his bike in it. He'll ride his bike whjle we're there and, due to its relatively compact size, I'll drive the camper to get around. Greg assures me that there will be parking areas in Sturgis where I can park the camper, which will be good. That way we can have the camper more local for those times when we want to take a load off for a while. It'll also be good in that I won't have to carry all of my photo gear with me all day long.

While I expect Sturgis to be a target rich environment, photo-wise, there will also be those stops along the way where I'm sure I'll be breaking out a camera.

I'll have my Canon 5D MKIV and 6D, my Fuji X100F, my tripod, my iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone tripod (with remote!), assorted lenses (including the new Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC (vibration control) and a comfy camp chair.

I'll be banging out a packing list, and I'll confer with my brother, who rode to Sturgis on his Street Glide back in 2014. I'll have a bit more room to pack things, but it'll be good to get his input for those "must have" items.

So, there it is! If you know me, you know I love an impromptu road trip and, given the scope of this one, I think a two week lead time qualifies as "impromptu"!

The Drive (Sturgis or Bust!)

So, it's crunch time. We've started looking at routes, and have decided to take the most direct route there is. We could've take...