Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Santa Rosa Plateau

I just realized that out of all the locations I have written about, I've so far passed over this one, which is pretty much right in my back yard (well, 60 miles from home, but this is California).. and I have a number of interesting images that I have made here over the past few years.
The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is a 9000 acre area about half way between Mt. San Jacinto where I live and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Many thousands of people pass by here every day on the major north-south freeway, I-15, just a few miles to the east and probably don't even know about this place... I didn't myself until a couple of years ago.
As you can see, it's a beautiful, wide open area of rolling hills, grass and oak groves; in the spring when it's green, as in this shot, it reminds you more of the English countryside than southern California. The Englemann Oaks that grow here are unique to southern California and northern Baja Mexico... and are great subject matter for photography, both in color and monochrome. I thought I'd start a series with this wide-open shot as a scene setter.

Monday, May 28, 2012


A few posts back, I wrote about this incredible old manzanita that I came across while hiking several months ago; at the time, I just took a few quick, hand held shots of it in the existing harsh light and then noted the location so that I could go back and do it properly under better conditions.  So, here is the result of my recent return.. I think everyone would agree that it is quite an improvement when done under the softer light of a partly cloudy day and with more thought given to how to handle the subject..
Nature can be notoriously uncooperative, often it seems especially so when you take time to travel hundreds of miles just to photograph a spot and don't have the luxury of simply going back anytime… that's when you really have to be flexible and try to adapt to the existing conditions, whatever they may be.  In that situation, I've been lucky at times and frustrated at others.. but always try to consider it part of the fun and the challenge. Since this one was local, I was able to go back at an opportune time and work as long as I wanted, so I now have several print-worthy shots in the can, and I think I will cross this one off my "to do" list:)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Exploring the Angles

A free afternoon a couple of weekends ago gave me the chance to head out to the desert and scout up some new scenes. I spent probably close to an hour trying different angles all around this really interesting formation.. just hand-held snapping, since it was mid afternoon and the sky was totally uninteresting.. but this little puff of cloud did finally show up to add a touch of contrast among the solid blue. Evening light and an interesting sky would make for a pretty worthy scene. I moved on to another location later to shoot some film in the better light, but haven't even processed it yet so I'll have to wait to see if anything else interesting shows up.