Location Scout for Field Trip Part 4

Last day and loose ends from the coast location scout…

The day of a photo trek that I always hate to see arrive… arrived… the day to head back.  We headed out fairly early though at least it was not another 3:30 morning.

I assumed we would stop for breakfast somewhere in the area but I forgot who was driving.  We avoided the restaurants in Cayucos by driving straight to the highway.  Then we drove past Morro Bay and turned inland.  But, I told myself, stifling a growl in my stomach, there were more towns along the way.

And indeed we went through — and past — Atascadero and every one of the several thousand roadside eateries… each one with a sign on the window to the effect that Lee and David should come on in for a sumptuous and delightful day-starting meal.   I could just see the sad, tear-stained faces of the restaurant chefs crying over how summarily we had dismissed them and their offerings.

It was the photographer’s version of the Bataan march. In my mind I could see the cruel taskmasters, hear the vicious crack of their whips as we were driven ever onward, fearful of falling behind and left as carrion for the crows and buzzards… Well, OK, that might be a slight exaggeration… but only a slight one…

To be fair, we did stop at the barn in the Corrizo valley we had shot on the way in… I thought it was perhaps to ask at the ranch house for spare cookies or perhaps a sandwich.  But no, this time Lee had stopped because the light was better than it was back on Tuesday morning.  He was right about that.  It was now creating an interesting pattern on the front façade  so I re-did the shot I had taken then and the new version is the one shown in Part One.  But I also took some shots of the texture and patterns in the tumbleweed itself.  This was shot using the Lenssbaby Velvet 58mm.

Detail of the tumbleweeds along the fence in front of the barn shown in Part 1 of this series

Detail of the tumbleweeds along the fence in front of the barn shown in Part 1 of this series

…and of the tumbleweed-filled arroyo leading to another ranch in the valley (and wondered if they might have some cookies to spare…).

Dry creek filled with tumbleweeds on the Corizzo Valley.

Dry creek filled with tumbleweeds on the Corizzo Valley.

We also stopped by a beautiful grove of trees along the rolling golden hill sides.  Here are a couple.

Rolling golden hills at the edge of the Carizzo Valley.

Rolling golden hills at the edge of the Carizzo Valley.

Lone tree on the hillsides near Carizzo Valley. The area was desperately dry but some of these old guardians were still hanging on.

Lone tree on the hillsides near Carizzo Valley. The area was desperately dry but some of these old guardians were still hanging on.

We then drove on to Taft… past several hundred normal and fast food restaurants.  The old business section, now mostly abandoned, would itself make for a great shoot.  But we drove on to the Kern County Oil Field Museum.  There were lots of cool pieces of old equipment, but I was so hungry I was feeling a slight bit queasy and was having a hard time concentrating so decided to just focus on some details — and there were plenty of those! I long ago started a body of work called “Rust Never Sleeps” and here was arrayed lots of additional images for that.

Cracked paont and rust on old oil field truck at Kern Oil Field Museum

Cracked paont and rust on old oil field truck at Kern Oil Field Museum

Louvers on old truck hood in Kern County Oil Field Museum.

Louvers on old truck hood in Kern County Oil Field Museum.

Panel on oil field equipment, Kern County Oil Field Museum

Panel on oil field equipment, Kern County Oil Field Museum

Tire cords from old truck solid rubber tire. When it gets to this point one might well consider new tires...

Tire cords from old truck solid rubber tire. When it gets to this point one might well consider new tires…

I did notice that independently Lee and I were often drawn to the same subjects and on his blog (see link in right hand column) he has a great collection of shots from here you should check out.

Then it was right back on the highway.  I knew we would have to get fuel sooner or later and truth to tell, I could live off the “fat of the land” for days, sad to say, but sure enough close to the north end of the infamous “Pipeline” we got gas… and a sandwich…

Then almost immediately we were into full blown L.A. traffic even that far north, the Friday rush starts early but these were cars headed, bumper to bumper, toward L.A..  What had taken under an hour at about 4:30 Tuesday morning driving through L.A. between Irvine and Burbank now took nearly FIVE HOURS of stop and go –mostly stop — traffic!

And I’ll end with some loose ends shot during the trip that didn’t fit neatly onto the narrative…

Detail along the San Simeon are ciffs

Detail along the San Simeon are ciffs

Well worn and weathered planking on the Morro Bay pier

Well worn and weathered planking on the Morro Bay pier

This plant was everywhere but the yellow was best on the cliffs over the ocean

This plant was everywhere but the yellow was best on the cliffs over the ocean

So what did I think about the location?  The final conclusion is that the area  is certainly workable as a fieldtrip location, but planning and structure are more critical than in more constrained locations.  This would be much easier as a smaller “for pay” workshop but I’ll see if a good fieldtrip plan and itinerary can be worked out.

Overall, this was a great little trip!  I always look forward to photo-road trips like these.  I learned more about the limitations and strengths of my new camera and also unfortunately that I need a new lens if I want to do really good deep sky shots with it.  Darn… I was thinking I would first try to get  a 90mm tilt-Shift for product shooting.  Hmmmm… what to do…???   Oh well, it will make another interesting test/review entry.  Oh, and I learned to bring snacks if Lee is driving…  Here is a shot I took of him photographing the Elephant Seals near San Simeon.

Lee Peterson photographing Elephant Seals at San Simeon Park

Lee Peterson photographing Elephant Seals at San Simeon Park

But alas, back to reality…  we have a serious situation brewing at school; enrollment numbers for Fall Semester are dismal and for the first time since I have been there we may need to cancel some major 3-unit classes.  If that happens, Dave and I will have some very unpleasant decisions to make, and not just for adjuncts, but also for ourselves.

I knew there were reasons to want to stay on the photo shoot and not come back.  To help remind me of the trip I’ll include and close with a final shot, my obligatory shot of Johnathon Livingston Seagull…

Johnathon Livingston for blog

About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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