Sunday on the Sunrise Highway

Friday was the last day of the Fall semester.  On Saturday I wrapped presents then had lunch with the photo group in Solana Beach at Chiefs (a GREAT place for lunch and burgers by the way).  Then on Sunday, I went to the local idea of mountains with Cynthia Sinclair.  Mostly I just wanted to get out of town and into some fresh air and wide vistas and did not expect much in the way of images leaping out in front of my cameras.  Just being there would be enough.

But there were some images that must have missed me.  We went along the Sunrise Highway and very soon a nice little overlook to the southeast opened up through the trees and shouted for my attention.

Vista from Sunrise Highway

A view to the southeast from the southern end of the Sunrise Highway in the Cleveland National Forest.  The sunlight through a broken sky picked out various areas to highlight.  The clouds were moving along but quickly the highlights seemed to work for me.

I will be teaching a basic Black and White Film class next semester so also wanted to practice “seeing” in monochrome.   I also wanted to work with duotone and tritone versions of the monochrome images.  I like color, but to be effective the color has to make a major contribution to the “story” of the shot.  If it does not then the color is simply superfluous and possibly even distracting.

And literally straight across the road from the vista above was an embankment where erosion had exposed the ancient boulders revealing an interesting textural pattern.  It was all in earth tones; no color component stood out or contributed to the story.

Rockwall Sunrise Highway

Rocky embankment along the Sunrise Highway in the Cleveland National Forest, California provided a tonal palet, perfect for monochrome and a tritone treatment.

Also laying alongside the roadway was this coyote skeleton, another natural for a monochrome image.

Coyote Bones

The remains of a coyote alongside the Sunrise Highway in the Cleveland National Forest, CA

So I assumed monochrome was going to now be the approach du jour. Those sneaky images, however, have a way of making their own demands on a photographer.  Some backlit leaves, bravely hanging on against winter’s icy blasts jumped out at me.  But the color seemed important.  I tried a B&W version but it did not really work like the warm leaves against the background snowy hillside.


Despite cold winds, a few leaves refuse to succumb to the winter’s assault such as these Oaks along the Sunrise Highway, in the Cleveland National Forest, California

And then we stopped at a little side road ostensibly to photograph some burned out trees. But what captured my attention most was on the forest floor.  The wind was blowing the ice off of the trees and here small ice crystals and some snow formed a powdered sugar-like frosting on the thick layers of fallen leaves.  Alas for best made plans, this image was OK in monochrome but to me worked best in color.

Leaves and Ice

Ice blown from the trees puts a frosting on the leaves on the forest floor. Taken along the Sunrise Highway in Cleveland National Forest, California

And then it was time to head back to the city.  But as soon as I get all my grades in and Christmas has mercifully melted back into the calendar for another year, I have almost a month available to… to… prep for next semester… oh boy.  Maybe at least one photo trip will be possible…



About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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9 Responses to Sunday on the Sunrise Highway

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