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f-stop Ambassador Jacob Moon is somebody that wants to live the adventure, not take pictures of somebody else's adventure. He doesn't like taking pictures of things that are staged, he likes to view his camera as a way of capturing a memory. His most valuable photos are those the captured that moment of time.
Most of his photography is a mix of adventure, mountaineering, climbing, backcountry skiing, camping. Basically, taking pictures of the van life and telling his story. This story is exactly about that. Jacob wanted to isolate himself from the world and enjoy the wondrous adventures in Baja, Mexico.
Words and images by Jacob Moon
f-stop: You recently got back from Baja California, Mexico, what was the adventure about?
Jacob: This adventure was about removing ourselves from the world basically. When you go to the Baja you hardly have any service and when you are in town you have very slow service, so you are never like sitting on the Internet and spending the entire amount of technology or doing that kind of stuff. Most of your time is spent away from the town on beautiful remote beaches with those that you love and totally disconnected from the world but reconnecting with the people that you are with. Just be in the moment not worrying about all and everything else going around you and the future. We camp on those beaches where you can have ten other people around you but still, you can find some beaches where there is absolutely nobody around. They are beautiful sandy beaches, there are lots of fishes, you can do standing paddleboarding while you are out there and watch the fishes. We also did wild tour because Sea of Cortez in Baja is a very diverse marine area. So my wife and I went out to see blue whales on the boat tour from a very tiny village that has 300 people in it, but we didn’t get to see the blue whale we ended up doing another tour on the other side in San Ignacio it’s a place where grey whales go to have birth caps and raise them. The whales are really used to the boats there so they will come to the boats and you can basically reach out and touch them. This was amazing, and my daughter certainly loved it. She almost three years old but she started to really not only look with interest but express it with her words the interest that she has for the world around her it’s really amazing watching her just take interest in the whales and in the seashells. That was the big part of what we were doing on the beaches just walking around and find seashells. She loves seashells and she would bring them back and play with them. My daughter is disconnected from watching movies and all of that and we are playing together imaginary stuff which actually ended up helping her speak a lot as she was doing her imagined play and just spending time with us and not watching movies or anything like that. Her speech got improved significantly while on the trip. We always talk about this deal world where kids aren’t going to watch movies or stuff but it’s usually on places where we are on the phones sending emails, taking care of work and everything else, so just having those two things brought our family closer together and made the whole experience special.
f-stop: Why was this adventure important to you?
Jacob: It’s because it’s being connected with those you love to have our own vision of the trip and not be distracted by anything else. But what was also amazing about the trip is that we took our van unlike other places in the world where you go you fly but we took a van and everything in it. Taking our whole lives and just disconnecting from everything and reconnect between us. It was really nice to spend some time with the locals and we went to a lot of really small towns and the local kids will just come and play with our daughter and hang out with us.
f-stop: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the adventure?
Jacob: The biggest challenge was the wind, the rain is not a concern there the weather is beautiful 70-80F, nice water and pleasant but the wind can make the wave out the water and just make it unpleasant to go other there, there are no bugs to speak about because it’s desert. Luckily, we did not have any challenges with the van this time we actually overhauled our vehicle because on our last trip when we went down there we ended up having our transmission fell on us in a really small town where we at for 10 days and we were waiting for some parts to get our vehicle drivable where we will be able to drive 700 miles back to San Diego with 30miles/hour. So, we learned our lesson on our first trip that you definitely go down there prepared for breakdowns or stuff and you better know what you’re doing when you are going in the sand and soft dirt. Last year our vehicle got stuck where I feel half of it was stuck in a hole by the time, I finally got the village help to push It out and we built a rock ramp. It was quite challenging but I learned my lesson and this time I brought sand trucks, sand boards basically a board that you put under the tires and you drive on to shake off the sand. All in all, it was a beautiful smooth trip with little delays because of the wind. Baja is very remote, and you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing because if you don’t tab a lot of recourses.
f-stop: Now, let's talk about the best moment of the adventure?
Jacob: The best moment of the trip was the bioluminescence. The bioluminescence was insane it was night and we went down there was hot and calm with is perfect for the bioluminescence plankton. It was dark and we got a new moon and by watching the window of our van we saw this twinkling in the water, and we were what the heck is that? So we got out and moved from the lights of the van and look out for a while and listen and it turns out that it was a fish jumping all throughout the bay and you could see as the fish jumping land back to the water it just makes this bright and blast of blue. And the fishes were jumping everywhere I don’t know if the bioluminescence makes them more active but the whole bay was just lit up and the bay is huge so as far as you can see there were splashes of blue going like twinkling lights and down to the shore. It was calm there was a little bit of lapping wave and the glow of the bioluminescence was just super blue and bright. We got on our paddleboards and as you paddle it looks like you have blue LED lights underneath your paddleboard and the water was shallow enough in most of the areas so you can see all the way to the bottom of the water as you are pedaling along in the mid darkness. I brought my daughter out in to it and she just had the greatest time in her life playing with that stuff and this was probably her most magical experience.
f-stop: Can you share some tips and tricks for the people interested in going to Baja Californi with a van?
Jacob: When traveling with a van you want to make sure your vehicle is reliable and that you are prepared to deal with sand if you don’t you going to have an interesting trip so take and something to reflate your tires, another thing is having something that gets a shade because it’s a desert and it’s hot and having a place to have shade it’s gold. The most important thing to eat a lot of tacos and don’t worry!
f-stop: What gear did you use for this trip?
Jacob: Sony 7R3 camera that’s my go-to camera and bunch of navy Sony lenses that go with it, Mavic Air that I use to fly around and get some shots, GoPro Max and Hero 8. I am pushing myself to move my work a little bit in the video. To keep it all organized I have the Large Pro ICU and I have a camera compartment in my van, but I also have the Lotus pack for hikes or daily use downtown.