Driving Coast to Coast: Q&A with photographer Joe Sterne
The Darkroom introduces contributor Joe Sterne, who recently hit the road with a GoPro Hero2 HD on the roof of his Kia Soul, as well as a Canon 1D mark II and Canon T2i, driving from Annapolis, MD to Sunnyvale, CA, with his fiancee and two pups.
WHY WERE YOU TRAVELING FROM COAST TO COAST?
My fiancee and I were moving from Annapolis, Md. to Sunnyvale, Calif. for our new jobs in Mountain View, Calif.
HOW LONG DID THE TRIP TAKE? HOW MANY STOPS? HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP THE EXPERIENCE?
The actual road trip part took 6 days (we took the weekend off in Cleveland for Jules’ family). We stopped every night in a different city. It was a life changing experience for sure and one I’ll never forget. Very stressful but very fun trip.
WHAT WAS YOUR CAMERA/VIDEO SETUP ON THE TRIP?
We mounted a GoPro Hero2 HD with a battery BacPac on the roof. In the car we had a Canon 1D mark II with a 24-70mm f2.8 and a Canon T2i with a battery grip and 17-55mm f2.8 lens. Due to the length of the drive, we had to stop at least once a day to swap out battery and dump the contents of the memory card to a MacBook Pro. The photos that I shot will be posted on my Flickr page (Still going through them).
FAVORITE AND LEAST STATE TO DRIVE THROUGH?
My favorite state to drive through was by far Colorado. Driving through the Rocky Mountains was amazing- especially because we witnessed a wildfire before it cut off our route. The least favorite drive was probably Nebraska. Very flat and a lot of farmland.
FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF THE TRIP?
Favorite part of the trip was seeing all the incredible sights this nation has to offer and sharing that experience with my friends and family (and probably the world). Least favorite part of the trip would be driving through the desert of Utah and California (think Death Valley). Temps hit over 110 degrees at times, and leaning out the window to take a picture was like sticking your body in a blast furnace.
ANY CRAZY MOMENTS?
We had plenty. Besides narrowly getting caught by a wildfire (the Pine Ridge wildfire) before they shut down a part of I-70 (which was our route that day). We had a flat tire in Utah that I attempted to repair at a gas station. It ended up exploding in my face and temporarily deafening me in the process. Finally, my fiancee Julia suffered from a detached retina that happened right before we left. She had to undergo emergency surgery in Cleveland to fix it or she would have gone blind in that eye!
FAVORITE FOOD ON THE GO?
Beef Jerky and Wasabi Peas. The plus part of the Beef Jerky is the further west you go, the better it gets AND you can give it to the dogs as a treat too.
HOW MUCH FOOTAGE DID YOU SHOOT? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO EDIT?
For the timelapse alone, I shot a 11 megapixel photo every 10 seconds for 8+ hours a day. By the time the trip was over, I had over 100GB of photos that took me several hours to assemble as video footage (24 frames per second) and then edit that into one whole video. I will be making an “extended cut” of the film in August where I discuss on camera some of the cool parts and lend a voiceover to other parts.
ANY USEFUL TIPS FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER EMBARKING ON A LONG-DISTANCE ADVENTURE?
Buy a ton of batteries and memory cards. Rent them if you have to — you have to carefully manage your power situation on the go. Recharging can be tough on the go if you are not prepared. From the memory card front, you don’t want to not take a picture because you don’t have the space to record it. If you can afford it, definitely rent a camera or a lens — it’s a great time to test a camera/lens!
WHY DO YOU LIKE TIME-LAPSES?
As a photographer who captures moments, I’m fascinated with capturing the progression of long stretches of time. Time-lapses allow you to watch the world change in front of your eyes.
Darkroom contributor Joe Sterne is a photographer living in Sunnyvale, California. He works during the day in Marketing/Events for the Innovation Games Company out of Mountain View, California. He loves nature, macro, and portrait photography while dabbling in time-lapse photography.
(Joe Stern, self portrait)