Jeep

20,000 Miles in Year one with the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

20,000 Miles in Year one with the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

1-year Jeep Anniversary

I have now had my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk for one year. It has become as integral a part of my photography business as anything in my camera bag. I put almost exactly 20,000 miles on it in that year’s time! I regularly travel to all corners of New Mexico for photography work, often with the last few miles of each of those trips being off road. Switching from a compact sedan to a Jeep has allowed me to do more photo work without having to rush to get a rental vehicle back so when I am at these remote places, I can add on a visit to places like City of Rocks. In this past year the Jeep has also taken me through Monument Valley, Durango, Colorado, Phoenix, Arizona, and more! No matter where I have driven it, and what I have driven it over and through, the Renegade has not let me down!

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New Mexico Jeep Renegade Trailhawk real off roader

New Mexico Jeep Renegade Trailhawk real off roader

Not a shopping mall Jeep!

Those that know me, know that I love cars, well, special cars.  Not all have to be as special as my beloved Aston Martin Vanquish (some day!), but even just the ability to go anywhere, do anything is enough.  Getting serious speed in a car is not that affordable, especially for newer models.  However, getting serious offroad ability is.  When I traded in my faithful and much loved Mazda3 sedan in March for the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk you see here, I was giving up great, affordable on road driving dynamics for the ability to drive offroad anywhere a stock vehicle could.  

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Driving off road in a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk in New Mexico respectfully

Driving off road in a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk in New Mexico respectfully

I have only put 1,500 miles on my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk since I got it last month and have not taken it more than an hour outside of Albuquerque, but I have been offroad a lot already.  Nothing crazy like Moab-like trails or anything, but I have been using it as the Jeep, especially the Trailhawk version, was intended.  I really like knowing I can go anywhere, do anything with this vehicle.  However, I would not do everything you see in Jeep and other offroad vehicle commercials like driving down and across streams!  Or causing tumult by trying to "crawl" over big rocks.  To me this is destroying Nature.  I do want the Jeep to help me reach places just not possible on foot, but by staying on established fire roads and unmaintained roads.  

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4K Drone Video Jeep Renegade Trailhawk in Rio Rancho New Mexico

4K Drone Video Jeep Renegade Trailhawk in Rio Rancho New Mexico

In full disclosure this is my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk I just got three weeks ago that is featured in this 4K drone video made in the Rio Rancho, New Mexico area on remote fire roads in the Southern Blvd area.  Jessica was in the passenger seat and the pilot for this video, though I used the intelligent flight mode Active Tracking in the DJI Go 4 app, so all she had to do was to make sure the Mavic Pro kept the Jeep in frame.  It was a lot of fun being out in the desert having an adventure and being able to make a unique home movie of sorts of this exploring!

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Jason gets a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk!

Jason gets a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk!

In my life a lot of rather big things happen rather suddenly.  For example, two weeks before I landed in Seoul, South Korea, I had never been abroad before, I was about to attend Claremont Graduate University's PhD program in California, and it had never crossed my mind to work overseas.  Not quite as dramatic as that, but in a similar fashion, getting a SUV to better match my work and personal lifestyle here in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a professional photographer and certified drone pilot, had only fluttered across my mind a few times.  I was not even sure if it would be possible as I still had payments left on my 2013 Mazda3 sedan, which I totally loved and had zero problems with in owning it for 42,000 miles.  

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Photography Tip - creating motion blur for car photography

Example of motion blue with main subject frozon - SETUP: Nikon D300 with Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D @ f/2.8 ISO 800 1/10thIf you have never manually controlled the shutter speed on your DSLR to create motion blur, then you are missing out on a lot of fun!  Using a slow shutter speed and a steady panning technique can transform a mundane photo of a car driving down a road into an image showing a vehicle seemingly cruising at warp speed.  

SETUP FOR THE ABOVE NIGHT SHOT: 

  • Nikon D300
  • Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D
  • manual exposure mode
  • f/2.8  ISO 800  1/10th  AF-C (AI Servo)  single focus point 

TECHNIQUE FOR CREATING MOTION BLUR: 

  • find a car driving towards you (driving away just produces a rear end shot)
  • start tracking it through your view finder while it is still some distance away
  • twist your body at the hips panning at the exact same speed as the vehicle
  • wait for the vehicle to pass in front of a background with the most lights possible
  • press the shutter all the way, but still keep panning (like follow through in a tennis swing) 

If you can maintain a focus lock and match the car's speed with your panning speed the car will appear sharp while the background elements will all be blurred.  The shutter speed needed will depend on the time of day and ambient light.  The suggested settings above can be a starting point for night shots.