Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is healthy and safe today. I have finally done it. I have made the decision of what my project for 2021 will be. Last year, if you're following me, you know that I was going to visit, photograph, hike, and sometimes camp at all of the state parks in North Carolina. There were 34 of them, and with the shutdowns due to the virus, it made this project more difficult than I thought it would be. But with some good luck and planning, I got the project completed and created an end-of-year book that showed off my accomplishment. I also had two other projects. Post to Instagram every day and post a blog once a week. Both were challenging, but I completed those also. I plan to keep those two projects going through 2021.
This year I plan on (drum roll please) visiting and exploring all of the national forests in North Carolina. There are four national forests in North Carolina, covering over 1.25 million acres of land: Croatan National Forest in the eastern part of the state, Uwharrie National Forest located in the central part of the state, and Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests located in the mountains of the state. Now you may say that there are only four forests to visit. That is true, but they are so big that to "explore" them it will take many trips to each forest to get the full experience of it. That's the main theme of this project is to "explore." Last year was more of a let's complete this checklist, but this one is more fluid, not set in stone. I will take as many trips as needed to feel like I have truly explored the forest that I'm in. I'm going to do one at a time. I will camp, hike, backpack, and photograph. This will be more of the experience from that of last year which was more of a checklist feeling. I plan on taking my fishing rods, maybe even get a canoe and paddle lakes and ponds, rivers and streams. Documenting the trips will also be a big part of it. I will make a couple of videos, but photography of course will be the main medium that I will use to document this project. My camera set up will not change. I have my kit pretty much dialed in. My trusty Sony A6500 will be my main camera body. I believe that it has many years left in it. My lens selection will be the ones that I have been using. Also, my little Canon G7XmII will also be with me, especially on the backpacking trips. It's small size and versatility make it a great backpacking camera. For video, my GoPro setup will be the same with a GoPro 7 being my main camera.
I will be doing a lot of camping with this project, which is something that I wanted to incorporate. Hammock camping will be my first choice and hopefully a lot of free camping. In most national forests, dispersed camping is free, although there are established campgrounds that I will also be visiting that charge a minimum fee. I hope to have backpacking be a big part of this project also, which means I have to get back into shape! UGGH! There are many trails to hike and explore, especially in the mountains. My truck, Ole' Betsy, will be my mode of transportation and my camping and exploring vehicle. And of course Forrest, the Wonder Dog, will accompany me when possible.
So there, I have said it out loud. My project for 2021 will be exploring the national forests of North Carolina. So until next week, get outside and keep shooting!