Third Annual Camping Trip at Casini Ranch

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Every year, a small group of us always gather together for a camping trip. Interestingly enough, this all started as a beach gathering. As the years went by, the beach kept getting colder and colder so we decided to migrate inland to warmer weather by having a camping trip. Not only did we move inland, we also added an extra day to make it a weekend gathering. It does seem that as the years go by, the number of people grow…not to mention that our own children are much larger and much more active. This year, we elected to go to Casini Ranch.  Yes...this is our third annual camping trip along side with untold numbers of previous beach gatherings.

The photo above was taken with the canoes parked alongside the Russian River.  I really liked how the colors of the canoes popped out of the photo from such a wonderful nature background.  I kept everything in focus by setting it to f/8 and shot it nice and wide at 14mm with a 1/320 exposure.  

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When we got to camp, we opted to set everything up in a ‘local community’ style. The tents were set up in a half-moon crescent around the food and entertainment. The wind was starting to pick up a bit at the time since the sun was setting so once the tents were set, the fire pit started. Everything we could do to minimize the cold was done and the rest of the night, we just let our minds wander into the sunset and stared at the flames dance in the dark night.  Getting away from the concrete jungle…getting away from the crowd of strangers….and just being around friends who just wants to have a relaxing time.

The photo above was taken with a slightly longer exposure as it was normally much darker.  However, even though it was dark, it did not prevent people from entertaining themselves as you can see in the photo.  Using a 24mm focal length, I fired this shot at f/4 with a 5 second exposure in an effort to grab some of the "spot light effect" from the left side of the photo and hoping to grab some of the stars in the sky.

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The very next morning, many of us trekked a short distance to the Russian River. The camping facility had rentals so some of the friends rented out a plastic canoe. I elected to spend most of my time in the knee deep waters and take photographs of my friends paddling away. They created random games that included racing another canoe and to see how fast they would be able to cover a specific distance. My dog Maddie decided to take a dip in the waters. She spent the first 20 minutes jumping and romping around the little ripples of the river. Once she was exhausted, she just laid out in the sun to dry out and started falling asleep in the warmth.

In reference to fast action photos, I always try to stay above 1/1000 of a second to capture those little details, especially when it comes to something as dynamic as water droplets being splashed around, or in this case, my dog flinging the water off of her body. 

Shake shake shake. #WetDog
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Once we returned back to camp, nothing but food and fun waited for us. As the pluck of the strings of an acoustic guitar played in the background, I laid there on a reclining chair and watched my children play and dance with other children in the group. As a father, that was the most satisfying feeling I have ever felt in a very long time. Watching the joy and the laughter take over the camp became the theme of the weekend.