Black Canyon Colors

(YOU CAN CLICK ON A PHOTOGRAPH TO SEE IT ENLARGED)

Some of you old time readers of my blog may remember the name, Black Canyon.  Over the years a number of short day trips there have yielded some good photographs and is a pleasant short trip just to get out of town.

The Black Canyon Road is one of the more interesting back roads in the area.  In the 1920s and ‘30s it was the main road from Warner Springs to Ramona and then on to San Diego.  It has a beautiful old concrete arch bridge built in the late 1920s that was just recently replaced by a truly ugly and plain modern one.  At least they did not tear down the original but it is largely hidden from view by the new design travesty.

The road is mostly now dirt and one lane in some places as it winds along the hill sides, sometimes on a ledge before it ultimately comes out near the old (now abandoned) Grand Mesa store.  It is amazing to see all of the hand-laid stone cribbing along the roadbed to help hold it up.  A lot of backbreaking labor went into building this road.

It passes through a small reservation and has a number of views and overlooks of a rocky creek bed that, in spring, is gorgeous with various little waterfalls and basins of water.  It would be an interesting spot for a fashion shoot.

This trip though the canyon was to catch the last of the fall color.  Along the road are lots of live oaks and the autumn display is very nearly over.  But still there are some spots worth unlimbering a camera.  The shot below shows a section of the road and you can see a stand of the golden oaks among the trees in the valley along the creek bed.

A splash of Fall color below the Black Canyon Road grade.

A splash of Fall color below the Black Canyon Road grade.  Taken with Canon 5D MkII and an 85mm f1.8 lens.

A number of spots had oaks close to the road and easy to wander around and shoot.  Here is a shot of their golden leaves against the deep blue sky.  One advantage here in southern California is that though never as brilliant as they are in more northern or higher elevations, the colors do last a lot longer.

A deep blue sky sets off the bright golden oak leavs along the Black Canyon Rd.

A deep blue sky sets off the bright golden oak leavs along the Black Canyon Rd. Taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and a 70-200mm f4L

The valleys and arroyos all channel water from rain or, if a good winter, some water from snowmelt and so often have some lush growth.  Recent rains had left even the dry road surface damp so the gullies were wet even if there was no flowing water.  Here is a tangle of undergrowth and fall colors in one of them.

A tangle of bracnhes and colors grow along the wet soild in a small gully alonf the Black Canyon Rd.  Canon 5D Mk II w/ 70-200mm f4 lens.

A tangle of bracnhes and colors grow along the wet soild in a small gully alonf the Black Canyon Rd.   Taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and a 70-200mm f4L lens.

For me, every time I’m in this area there is one thing I always want to check on and see if I can find another way to photograph it.  It is a marvelous ancient tree growing right out of a pile of boulders that now seem to anchor it as it stretches out as if to try to get away or maybe it is to shelter the younger sprouts below it.  I love this tree and the strength it exudes.  If I were younger I would have long ago climbed it just to sit in its branches and learn about it.

One of my all time favorite trees anywhere.  This ancient tree has graced this corner for years and year, growing improbably from a heavy boulder pile it proved life will find a way.  Taken with Canon 4D Mk II and 8-15mm fisheye.

One of my all time favorite trees anywhere. This ancient tree has graced this corner for years and year, growing improbably from a heavy boulder pile it proved life will find a way. Taken with Canon 4D Mk II and 8-15mm fisheye.

From the angle of this shot you can see the road as it approaches this tree.  It is right on a tight curve and the first time I drove this road I saw it while rounding the curve and came sliding to a stop almost running into a huge rock on the other side of the road.

Meantime…

Other projects are continuing smoothly if not all that rapidly.  I keep adding to the collection of newly edited datasheets and handouts that will soon be ready to collect on a DVD to offer at workshops and through the school.  I have nearly 100 to cull through and select the ones I think most interesting or useful, bring them up-to-date and a bit more design consistent.  They have been written over a nearly ten year span and all as individual pieces to be cheat sheets, tutorials, how-to, tips and techniques etc. to make available on my web site for students.

At the insistence of a friend and against my belief in any success I put some of them on a CD a couple of years ago to sell at my presentations at the San Diego Fair.  I made up 25-30 CDs, sure I was wasting my time and to my astonishment sold everything I had after only a couple of seminars.  Some people even came back to buy another copy for a friend.

Wow… I was stunned.  But did learn a lesson from it.  In addition to the collection on disk I will also take some of the datasheets and offer them individually on Kindle and/or through i-Tunes U.  I wanted to have it all together before school starts again in late January but bringing them up to date is being a bit more time-intensive than I had thought it would be.  Some are over 20 pages long including illustrations so there is a lot to do.

When they are ready I’ll announce them here and have a special page for them.

Meantime, now that I’ve had a chance to play for a day, time to get back to work.  So much for this being a vacation…!!!

 

About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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