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As a visual storyteller, Nick loves to just get out and try to challenge himself to get after a different perspective on capturing the moment. He says that there are so many ways to look at an individual story, but it’s all about the approach to define how that story ends up being conveyed. He actually enjoys the most going back to the same places repeatedly because it allows him to take a different approach each time. He really enjoys shooting the action sports world and he grew up shooting in the field quite a bit. Over time though, he has shot weddings, portrait work, product photography, commercial work, etc. Recently though, he has been really enjoying product / commercial photography and has been pushing himself the last couple years to capture those stories through different perspectives in that field.
Words and images by Nick Mitzenmacher
f-stop: Can you tell us what was the adventure about?
Nick: To be honest, this adventure was mainly just to get lost in the desert for the weekend.
I have been making it a mission to get out and challenge myself on some personal photo missions lately and just go get lost with camera in hand with good friends around. We really didn’t have a plan while we were out there other than shoot rad photos and find some locations we haven’t discovered out in a place we have been a few times before.
I had one of my best buddies join me for the adventure. He just bought a brand new truck and wanted to get out for some camping/shooting photos for the weekend so I agreed. I thought it is awesome to ditch the coast for a week and get lost in the desert with it being so close.
We have known each other since high school and have been learning photography together along the way so it’s always a good time to get out to shoot some photos with him. We are on the competitive side with everything it seems like too, so we definitely pushed each other to think outside the box to see who can get the best shot of the trip.
f-stop: What was your biggest challenge during the adventure, and how you overcame those challenges?
Nick: I would say the biggest challenge we faced during the adventure was timing. We only were out there less than 24 hours so we weren’t able to go a ton of places like we had originally wanted to be that we got lost quite a bit along the way. But hey, that makes it fun right?
I think half the fun is getting lost on trips like this. We went with the intent to capture photos along the way, but how you adapt to each location was what made it the most fun because we had no idea where we were going most of the time. We were getting lost deep in the desert. Once we found a spot we liked, we’d park the rig, hike up some random trail/hill/path and end up at some pretty awesome spots. If you asked me to show you where we took the photo though, definitely couldn’t remember how to get there.
I would say the biggest learning was to get lost more, it’s pretty fun because you end up some in awesome places that are unexpected.
f-stop: Can you remember some of the best moments of the adventure?
Nick: The best moment from the adventure was ending up at Hills of the Moon. It’s a snake run of washes that you 4wheel through, and as you get deeper the walls get higher and the roads get more narrow. Eventually, you can’t go any deeper into the canyons, and when you crawl up on the ridges, you look like you’re on another planet, which is why it is called Hills of the Moon. This was the one spot we had on the minds to get to but had very very minimal knowledge of even how to get there, so we just sent it and drove random routes until we ended up there where we thought it was.
f-stop: For the people that plan to visit Anza Borrego, can you share some tips and tricks?
Nick: Amidst all the chaos in life and how fast-paced everything is now and days, my biggest suggestion is to challenge yourself and just take time for personal photo adventures. Whether you are someone just learning photography or an experienced veteran, the best way to get better at your craft is to do it more!
f-stop: What gear did you use for this adventure?
Nick: I used the Tilopa pack along with the Medium Sloped ICU and Medium accessory pouch. I love the size of this pack when you want to pack all the toys and still have a bag that is light enough to hike with. I’d say it’s the perfect amount of space to gear ratio for everything you need to pack to get deep into the various vehicles won’t go.
For the camera gear side of things I had stashed in my bag:
• Nikon D810
• Nikon 35mm f/1.4 lens
• Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens
• Nikon 24-120 f/2.8-5.6 lens
• GoPro Hero7 Black
• GoPro Fusion
• Various GoPro Mounts
• Goal Zero Venture 30 Charger
• Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case
• 40oz Camelbak Chute Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
• Jackets for when it got colder later in the day
• Snacks for days for any of the longer trails we got lost on