An Exploration of 10 Million Revolutions

Revolutions is the story of the Scenic Traverse Photography Road Trip - a month spent living in a van and driving through the American southwest. The journey took us across 3,682 miles of the American landscape.

Revolutions will be published as a fine art photography book and travel novel in Spring 2017! Stay tuned to purchase your copy.

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One morning I was laying in the van looking up at the ceiling and pondering possible titles. My mind drifted onto the topics I would cover and how so much of the trip was cyclical: every day I looked up the sunrise and sunset times, every day we built a bed at night and converted it back into a table in the morning, every day we drove and explored someplace new….. I hesitate to say it was repetitive, as that may imply dull, but humans are creatures of habit, and with a change in habitat from house to van, we had adopted some new behaviors. As those habits repeated over and over, and given the number of other naturally cyclical descriptors for our trip, I decided to describe the adventure in terms of revolutions.

Naturally the easiest revolution to define is the number of rotations completed by the tires on our camper van….. a total of over 10 million tire revolutions for the 3,862 miles completed on our journey. Other revolutions include the thirty sunrises and sunsets, the seven trips to a grocery store, the fourteen state border crossings (through four different states), the four time zone changes, the dozens of drastic elevation changes (-300ft to 8,000ft in one day, and then down again!), and the movement between daytime and nighttime van configuration twenty-seven times. Through and between each of these revolutions, the story of the road trip really comes to life.
— Kristen Meister, Excerpt from "Revolutions" Book

The Basics

We are flying round trip to LAX, renting a camper van (see below) and visiting a minimum of 19 parks and stops along the way. The trip is precisely 30 days.... a month living out of a van and photographing the USA. Itinerary below...

Trip of a Lifetime

Who hasn't dreamt of packing up their life into the back of their car and driving aimlessly toward the horizon? Yep, that's what we're doing (ish). We've got a set of objectives and time-hacks to meet, but otherwise, I'm free to follow my photography nose and see what we discover. 

Image via Escape Campervans.

Image via Escape Campervans.

The Van

We aren't just road trippin'.... we're spending a month living in a modified passenger van that has a small kitchenette and bed. We'll drive from campsite-to-campsite, stopping along the way for groceries and laundry. 

Our van is rented from Escape Campervans.

With one of my many cameras.

With one of my many cameras.

Camera Gear

We can't overlook the all important camera gear! I'll be using my Leica SL, Leica M Monochrom, and 120mm medium format film Hasselblad 503CX.

See more about the equipment I used in the video at the bottom of this page.


UPDATES FROM THE ROAD


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STOP 1: London >>> Los Angeles, California

 

Welcome to LAX. It's going to be a long (non-stop from London) flight, so we're crash landing into a hotel, stocking up on some groceries, picking up the van, and hittin' the road!

 

STOP 2: Joshua Tree National Park

 

Our first real stop of the trip will be a quick one, with a day in Joshua Tree National Park. We'll spend the day amongst the famous cacti (hopefully not too close) and then test our first night camping in the van. Did I mention that we're doing this trip in December / January, so it's going to be a touch cold in the van at night?

 

 

STOP 3: Grand Canyon National Park

 

How much of the Grand Canyon we get to see will be somewhat dictated by the weather. Hoping for warm(er) temps, so the roads and trails will be open. And should be great for sunrise and sunset photo opportunities.

 

STOP 4: Antelope Canyon / Horseshoe Bend

 

Taking a full day to explore the various canyons that are on the Navajo Tribal Park, including Antelope Canyon. We won't have the famous beams of light, but I still expect plenty of photographic opportunities.

 

STOP 5: Monument Valley

 

A full day drive from Arizona to Utah, with an abundance of stops to photograph monument valley. Hello mittens!

 

STOP 6: Arches National Park

 

Time to (temporarily) say good-bye to big holes in the ground and now admire big rock arches. It's America, and we've got rocks of all shapes and sizes!

 

STOP 7: Canyonlands

 

So much for those above ground rocks, back to underground rocks! Canyonlands is often forgotten and overlooked in the famous parks of the Southwest USA.

 

STOP 8: Bryce Canyon National Park

 

Is Bryce at the bottom of this canyon? I'll look and let you know. Hoping for snow to dust the red jagged rocks of Bryce.... I mean is it selfish to want the weather to cooperate?

 

STOP 9: Zion National Park

 

At this point, red rocks will be getting a touch repetitive, so we're taking a day to hike through the narrows on a river photography hike.

 

STOP 10: Valley of the Fire State Park

 

One of the few state parks we'll see along the way.... either the Google pictures lied, or this will be a secret gem of the trip.... I want the later.

 

STOP 11: Hoover Dam

 

Why not? We will probably need to charge camera batteries, and I hear they have electricity there.

 

STOP 12: Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Find me a more God-less place to spend the holidays... because much as I like Denny's, I was hoping for something slightly more interesting for Christmas. And Vegas will certainly be interesting.

 

STOP 13: Death Valley National Park

 

Thankfully it's the cold season, so we can actually enjoy the scenery of Death Valley without suffering instant heat exhaustion and dehydration.

 

STOP 14: Lake Tahoe

 

We were supposed to go to Yosemite, but weather and roads didn't cooperate - so off to plan 2: Lake Tahoe!

 

STOP 15: Napa Valley, California

 

A day spent sipping wine seems like a perfectly legitimate addition to this trip. We can't rough it the *whole* time! So this will raise the overall "posh factor" of the #ST_RoadTrip to like 0.01%

 

STOP 16: San Francisco, California

 

I hear they opened a new Leica Store here? Time to start our multi-day drive down the famous Pacific Coastal Highway with a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

STOP 17: Coastal Highway Route 1

 

We are going to spend several days driving down Highway 1 - stopping at Big Sur, Monterey, and anything else photogenic along the way.

 

STOP 18: Santa Barbara, California

 

Our last stop.... nooo! Time to have some delicious seafood and enjoy the last days of sunshine.

 

STOP 19: Los Angeles, California >>>> London

Sadly it will come to an end. Time to return to the UK and start working on a book capturing our trip!


Gearing Up