Month: April 2017
California State Highway 270
On my way down U.S. Highway 395 headed to the Alabama Hills, I decided on a whim to make a detour to see the ghost town of Bodie which is very popular among photographers because of its vintage buildings and contents kept in a picturesque state of arrested decay. Alas that whim was dashed by a gate a quarter-mile down the way saying the road was closed. Parked on a lot just at the gate was an old mobile home. I turned around there and stopped for a quick look around, wondering if there might be something picturesque about the un-arrested decay of a mobile home. Given the subject matter, I did not expect much success in that regard and it met my expectations. All it had to offer up was this rather interesting pattern of peeling wood veneer on the front door.
It’s amazing seeing all the different ways the rocks and boulders in the Alabama Hills arranged themselves and the way they responded to the changing light during the day. It’s a subject that’s been well- or even over-covered by many a photographer, but I still enjoyed adding my two-cents worth to the genre.
As I was looking around the former site of the Manzanar internment camp where the U.S. government incarcerated some 10,000 Japanese residents of our country during World War II, my first thought was that Americans can too often become an ignorantly fearful people. The injustice done to these people, besides just being morally wrong, was done at a cost to them and the United States that nowhere near offset any imagined threat they might have posed. You’d think we would have learned from that experience, but much of what you hear the Chicken Littles shouting in this country today suggests that is not the case.
Yesterday, I hiked a very unpleasant five miles up Lagomarsino Canyon to see the famous petroglyphs there. The canyon itself was not unpleasant, in fact it was beautiful. But the hike was not. There was no trail and the hike mainly comprised crashing through brush, climbing over piles of driftwood left over from resent floods, or stumbling through expanses of gravel bars where the “gravel” was actually head-size mini boulders.
But I digress, within a narrow band 1/4 mile long, there are some 2200 petroglyphs at Lagomarsino. I had barely started exploring and photographing them when I jumped up on a rock to get a better angle on this interesting looking one. I lost my balance so jumped down to a flat rock two or three feet below me. In gymnast terms, I didn’t stick the landing, my feet and head reversed positions, and I crashed into some rocks that were not so flat.
My first reaction to the crash landing was pain and panic–panic because I was alone five miles from my car in a canyon that receives few visitors, especially during the week. A quick assessment relieved the panic as I determined that while I wasn’t feeling very good, nothing was broken, sprained or twisted. (I also discovered a bit later that I actually had a weak cell-phone signal so could possibly have called for help.)
After assessing my own condition, I looked down at the camera hanging around my neck. The lens barrel of the zoom lens I was using was fulling extended and bent at an odd angle. It would not zoom and looking into the end of it revealed a big hunk of mechanical stuff blocking the view behind the front glass element (which was remarkably untouched). Thankfully the brand new camera the lens was attached to received only a couple of minor scratches.
So, I was scraped and bruised, the camera body was scraped but otherwise fine, but the lens was trash. Unfortunately that was the only lens I brought with me from the car so, other than some photos with my cell phone (e.g., the one above) I was done photographing for the day and faced with literally achingly long return hike. You might have guessed by now a replacement for that lens will cost me $899. Sigh.
Back to photo (finally). The reason I went to so much trouble, pain, and expense to try get a good photo of this particular petroglyph was because it seemed quite unique and reminded me of a Chinese script character. Was getting the photo (or trying to anyway) worth the cost? Absolutely, as in absolutely not!