Goodbye Ridgecrest

Well here it is. Tomorrow we leave Ridgecrest. 

Honestly, when we moved here I couldn't wait to leave. This dry and dusty land is such a far cry from the bigger, green and rainy city of Seattle that I had grown to call home. I had quit my corporate job, been married just over a year, had three dogs, two stepkids entering their teens and absolutely ZERO idea what the Lord had in store for us in this place. It was a difficult transition to say the least. 

The first six months were tough. Isolated and swallowed up by a life that was completely foreign to me, I found myself having feelings I never experienced before. Introverted as I am, I craved connection. I needed community. Joining our church and starting my business soon after that, I began to see the beauty that is this town. Granted there are many positives and negatives about any city, but it didn't take too terribly long before we started to feel more comfortable here and I started to feel more like myself. 

As we roll out of this place and on to another adventure, there are many things I will not miss. "Off roading" through much of the city streets, the incessant and unforgiving winds, the dust, the dust, the DUST, the suffocating wall of 110 degree heat that greets you when you walk outside, the yearlong (and seemingly pointless) road construction projects, that sense of lack of privacy because someone always knows someone who knows that person who knows someone else who knows you. 

But there are many things that I will miss. Including the ability to get anywhere in town in basically 10 minutes, our church community, running into people everywhere you go (well, I might not miss that!) and most importantly I will miss the Sinclairs, the Smiths, the Gages, the Deardons, the Logans, the Wetzels, the Harris's, the Sherouses, the Hendersons, the Christmans, the Schwerins, the Bennetts, the Ostroms, the Gillilands, the Williams, the Withams, the Ellwells, the McGees, the Webbs, the Ochoas, the Chatmans, the McClellands, the Barkers, the Hopkins, the Pollocks, the Fowlers and the many, many more that I am sure that I missed. 

When it comes down to it, it's not the city that matters, is the people in that city. And we have been blessed beyond measure knowing the people in this city. 

I chose this photo to include in this post because it really sums up my feeling about Ridgecrest. When thinking about this town, this is not an image you would likely conjure up as representative. My guess is that most people might be shocked that this image was taken right smack dab in the middle of the town. But that is exactly why I chose it. This town is not always what it seems. 

5 tips for traveling with your DSLR

traveling with your dslr

ONE lens

I contemplated what gear to bring for quite a while before we headed to Italy. I knew I wanted good glass that would provide great results during our trip, but I didn't want to lug lots of lenses around with me for a couple of reasons. 1) more gear = more weight (who wants to carry lots of weight especially when we would be doing lots and lots of walking and sightseeing) and 2) risk of loss/damage/theft. 

In the end I decided to bring one main lens (24-105mm f/4.0) and one portrait lens (50mm f/1.4). I was planning on taking some portraits of my friends while there but that didn't really happen so the 50mm barely got used during the trip. In hindsight only bringing the 24-105 would have been fine. It stayed on my camera the entire trip, I didn't have to worry about switching lenses and leaving it somewhere, or it getting snagged out of my bag. It is a really decent zoom lens and I knew that most of the shots I would be taking would be outside in the daylight so the 4.0 f-stop wasn't limiting to me. Even on indoor shots it worked great since my 6D handles high ISO really well. I definitely recommend a zoom lens such as this one if you are planning to take a mostly sightseeing trip. Leave all the other gear at home, safe and sound! 

Multiple batteries/SD or CF cards

In order to save room (and my back since I didn't check any of my camera gear onto the plane) I didn't want to bring a lot of chargers, hard drives etc...I recently purchased these handy little Think Thank cases for batteries and CD/SD cards so I loaded both of them up and brought only these with me on the trip. 

The battery case (black) holds up to four batteries. I only have three so I fully charged up all of them, put one in the camera and the other two in here. I only used up one and a half of the batteries the entire time I was there! I also brought multiple SD cards (red) so I could just keep the images on the cards and wait to download all of them until I got home. I know most people might not recommend this because if you loose the case, you loose all of your images! I totally understood this risk, but I made sure to keep really close tabs on this case and had it on me at all times. 

traveling with your dslr


If you are traveling to Europe or anywhere with grand architecture or fascinating landscapes, I highly recommend a wide angle lens. Even if you don't have a wide zoom like the 24-105 or a 17-35, a 35mm prime would do great as well. Being able to take in the whole scene (especially inside the ornate basilicas and churches) you need something really wide since you often have limited room. This is another reason I am glad I brought the 24-105, it handled those wide shots perfectly! 

traveling with your dslr

Strap it

Initially I was planning on just carrying my camera strap free in my Kelly Moore Kelly Boy bag. I was somewhat worried with the possibility of it getting snatched so I thought keeping it in the bag as much as possible would be a better idea. Boy am I glad I changed my mind at the last minute! I brought my Peak Design camera strap and could not be happier that I decided to bring it. The bag got heavy with the camera in it and it was a chore to take it out every time inspiration hit. Paul ended up carrying the bag and I carried the camera cross body and that system worked out perfectly! 

Put it down! 

You are in a new place. You are with loved ones. You are experiencing something for the first time. Take time to just soak it all in and EXPERIENCE it all without a camera in front of your face. Make sure you have a balance of capturing moments and relishing and marinating IN those moments with your loved ones. You will be immensely blessed by both! 

Other posts from my trip to Italy:
The Best Travel Buddy | The food!NaplesAmalfi Coast | Venice | Capri | Rome | Ercolano

All images (with the exception of random iPhone images) taken with:
Canon 6D | 24-105mm f/4.0 lens