The USA Road Trip
In 2001, after 20 plus years on the lecture circuit I decided that it was finally time to quit giving talks. Although I thoroughly enjoyed visiting camera clubs and giving the talks, secretly I hated the travelling with a vengeance. I had reached the point where I could no longer face the prospect of long winter journeys into the night, sometimes in excess of 100 miles one way, and often on motorways snarled up by ever increasing traffic. So I fulfilled my remaining engagements and in 2002, with a slight degree of regret, ceased giving talks - full stop!
So how come a new lecture?
Good question! Well several years ago, 1999 to be exact, I was sat at the window of my camper van on the Varanger Peninsula, the most northerly part of Norway and way above the Arctic Circle. I was camped out on the tundra alongside a partially frozen lake and watching a pair of Red-throated Divers putting the finishing touches to their nest. The word tundra derives from the Finnish word for barren or treeless land and it was certainly that as well as being bitterly cold. I had not seen another person for almost a week but none of this bothered me one bit – as a wildlife and nature photographer I was in paradise!
I stayed on the Varanger for about five weeks and it was during this time that I first conceived of the idea of an extended road trip in the USA, again using a camper van as a mobile home. At the time I was already running several US photo tours every year, mainly to Florida, and I loved it out there. However the reality was it was just a dream. My wife, Angie, had just gone to University to begin a three-year nursing course and financially we were not in a position to do it anyway. So the idea lay dormant, a pipe dream that would occasionally surface in my mind and then disappear back into the depths but it never went away entirely.
To cut a long story short the dream came true in 2005. It was, for me, the culmination of much planning not to mention the fulfillment of a long-term dream. As I said I had been to America many times and, in fact, had run 23 photographic tours to Florida alone so I had some idea of what to expect.
I had always found American photographers very friendly and helpful and so it proved when, during the planning stage, I approached the members of www.naturescapes.com for location information and I was literally inundated with material. For me this is undoubtedly the best nature photographer’s site on the web and you really should check it out sometime.
So, as I say, in the January of 2005 we flew to Miami, Florida and bought a Winnebago motor home (RV) and a Honda 4WD to tow behind that made our total length 52’ long. I had never driven anything even half this size especially on the wrong side of the road – to say the least it was a daunting prospect!
During the year our amazing journey took us from the Atlantic coast of Florida to the Pacific coast of California and included forays over the borders of Mexico and Canada. We passed through 29 states including Alaska and drove the infamous 1500 mile Alaskan Highway (both ways)! Angie and I were charged by a Grizzly in Yellowstone and later along with two other photographers I was charged by a Black Bear in Wyoming – both very memorable occasions! We visited 42 National and State parks, drove over 30,000 miles and for much of that time I was taking photographs virtually on a daily basis.
Before leaving for the trip I was fortunate to be commissioned by Practical Photographer Magazine to write a diary of the journey and it was published here in the UK. That was a good break and the monthly fee went some way to mitigate our massive fuel bills. But, when I was taking 100’s of pictures each month the two pages allocated by PP were woefully inadequate to do justice to our adventure. Now I can rectify that in the form of this exciting digital lecture that might just turn out to be one of the highlights in your clubs year – I hope.
New Lecture in 2013
In preparation for 2013 a new lecture entitled "Diversify for Success". Further information will follow in my newsletter in due course.
Currently my basic lecture fee is £150 plus fuel costs. For further information or to make a booking club secretaries just click on the contact button below.