Saturday, January 28, 2012
I am about to return this borrowed 17-55 f/2.8 Nikon lens. It has been fun and makes me want a really sharp, really wide lens.
I put on the sharper 35mm f/1.8 lens and made this mosaic from two frames.
I find trees to be more photogenic than much of what I see in urban settings. Trees and light. There hasn’t been much light.
The Washougal river was looking pretty full.
On Friday, I headed east up the Columbia river gorge. I made it to Stevenson, then turned back around. Once of these days I’ll make it out to White Salmon. I pulled over near Beacon Rock as the sun was setting. (This is a terrible shot).
A little further west, the sun was setting, so I turned into a loop that I drove once before. Here looking back towards Beacon Rock:
It is hard to catch sunset here and I was not prepared to see this when I drove over that bridge to get back on WA14.
Monday, January 23, 2012
It was quite a mission to make it to Fish Creek Camp. I had become disoriented on S22, mistaking it for S2, and searching for a road south of the airport. Turns out there is a bizarre parallelism to the regions surround both Borrego Spings and Ocotillo Wells, both having airports north of the main road. Only one has a turn off to Split Mountain road.It was well after midnight following a six hundred mile drive. It had been three years since the other time I camped at Fish Creek.
I took my car way up a dirt road. Those pictures have been posted already. But here’s this little guy.
I found a place to camp in 2009, where I took this 3 frame mosaic looking south. In 2012, I hoped that since it was close to the Canyon Sin Nombre overlook (discussed below) that I would make for the the good light at dawn. Here is the view below camp. (This will become more important when I get all of my film from the trip processed).
At the far right above (but not visible), is about where the spectacular overlook above Canyon Sin Nombre is located. These two mosaics are separated by two eventful years, but only a few crow-flying miles. A four frame mosaic from 2007:
This is a two shot cropped 35mm panoramic negative, January 1995:
Here is a four shot from the infrared D5000 using the 50mm equivalent focal length prime lens, January 2012 (including a photomerge artifact in the background hills):
And the Instax Wide. It was completely overexposed by the time we got there out of our makeshift camp. I held up a polarizing filter in front of the Fuji. I couldn’t believe Walmart stocked circular polarizer, though I accidentally bought the 58mm version. Some time with Photoshop could improve this scan, but that is not tonight.
In a normal car, you don’t get too far. This is the turn around point in the wash, less than a mile into the drive. These Paleozoic basement rocks have always caught my eye: the exposed root of the western Coyote Mountains.
Sunrise west of Porterville headed towards 99 North.
As we were drifting up the highway before coffee, I pulled over for this shot. I may never forget the sensation of laying my face on the frozen railroad to brace the camera for this sunrise though silos.
We lingered in Madera for a long time.
There were five or so instant film shots, though only this one had the right stuff:
A few days later, I was in Chico. Sycamore tree:
I stepped out after a nice Sunday breakfast at Nash’s. Jet trails, lens flare and the Fuji Instax Wide solarization, which occurs far more than any other modern film (as if I know that).
Onward, up interstate 5, then to US97.
If I could make a post-apocalypse movie, it would be neat to use infrared, channel swapped cinematography. Speaking of which, it might be fun to experiment with the D5000’s movie mode in the coming year. After all, that was one of the main, but totally unused motives for that particular camera.
I made it up to Bend, OR. It was very cold. I was out of it.
Friday, January 20, 2012
In this this blog I present 17 year old film photographs, and a few other shots from separate visits to Bow Willow in the southeastern Anza Borrego desert; 1995, 2007, 2009.
The first time I went to the desert was for Chico State field camp, which took place between semesters in the barren lands east of San Diego. It was called ‘Anza’ by those who had been. This colloquial name, shortened from Anza-Borrego, had carried over in our school from years prior when most fieldwork was done in the park. Our first day was within Anza-Borrego park at Bow Willow campground.
I was given a 35mm camera over the holidays in 1994: a Kodak Cameo zoom that had a panoramic mode. I shot seven rolls before getting them back to learn that these panoramic shots were not very useful. Worse, was my penchant for making multi-shot panoramas with the panoramic mode. I had to learn by making mistakes. I couldn’t hear what the 42 year-old guy in our class who quite calmly assured me that panoramas would come together better if shot sideways. Walt was absolutely right. When the photos came back and we all got together to share, his 35mm slr and sideways panoramas trounced mine. Plus, at that time, I used a fairly terrible print lab. So to see these images from the negatives for the first time is pretty neat for me. The trouble was that I shot about two hundred frames on six rolls of film over two weeks. A short time later in March 1995, I shot another ton of film in the central Nevada desert. After that March trip, I shot much less with the Cameo. It is easy see that I had the same passion for photographs way back when.
After the long drive from Chico to Ocotillo, our first day was at Bow Willow campground. There I saw what granite weathers like in the desert for the first time. The alluvial surfaces at Bow Willow are comprised primarily of gruss, or disintegrated granite.
We had great respect for our lithology professor Howard Stensrud. Most of us had learned all we knew of geology from him up to that point. The major was linear, and only after his Historical Geology course in the spring could you take his Mineralogy and Lithology course in the fall. We’d all just finished that class the semester before and this was our first real application of our first year learning geology.
He spoke of metamorphic skarns, schistose rocks, and plutonic intrusions.
Pictured are Steve Sunding, Peter Oblander, John Haberland, Dennis Jones, David Pyles, Dr. Howard Stensrud, Brian Solecki, Tony Mikacich, Walt, Bob Hess, Heidi Ring
The landscape was totally alien. Our first task was to measure the slope of the fan with tape measures and brunton compasses. I remember being slightly bewildered for a couple of reasons. The upper class students had told us only of the difficult mapping that awaited us at Fossil Canyon in the southeastern Coyote Mountains. Plus, the major emphasis was on ‘hard rock geology’, so this homework in alluvium (that easy to map, Qal, color with a yellow colored pencil), was not in my head. I specialized in this type of geology in graduate school, studying the morphology of alluvial fans in the central Nevada desert about 10 years after this introduction to desert landscapes.
Below, gruss detail from a visit in 2009:
With my second roll of film in my new camera (iso400 Kodak Gold), I visualized a three shot panorama. I believe I climbed on top of the university van. Looking east at left (and into the sun), rotating to southwest at right. It took 17 years to see it as I imagined that day in 1995.
Of course, these fake panoramic negatives were lame, and I took way too many before I understood that the camera was blacking out parts of the 35mm negative. Looking more closely at the first and last shots are fun. On the right-hand edge below, for whatever reason our 6’7” classmate Walt is running to the left.
Jason and Nathan were some of the funniest guys I went to school with.
For a few years there, I was a closing clerk at a clothing store. The holiday shopping scene at the mall was something to see. Since I was hired as a seasonal hire the year before, I suppose these are one year into my tenure at the long-forgotten Miller’s Outpost. I won’t forget the good times I had there, but I recall being eager to move on and being a professional. How life can mock you! (These shots are from only days before).
Indeed, if I thought computers and data would frustrate me then, boy, I didn’t know the half of it. Or rather, the 0.5 of it. (btw, look at the lens distortion at upper left below!)
So out at Bow Willow, I was just getting a taste for geology, photography, and the wonders of being ‘out there’. In this shot, were are standing within the panorama that opened this roll of film.
I put in a roll of Royal Gold 400; the only time I think I used such film.
All of these years later, this film is much better looking than the other rolls. More photographs will be in a future blog. There is major distortion of this Kodak Cameo’s lens. I got over wearing those big Red Wing boots. I used to say they would last through my PhD, but I found them to be far too heavy duty for Quaternary mapping. I still wear an Ultimate Hat, though I now have a lighter duty than the one seen here. And yes, those are Oakley Blades that I borrowed, knowing our fondness for winging hammers into bedrock.
It is a little hard to stop, but I will wrap things up. After that first visit in 1995, it took nearly thirteen years to make it back to Bow Willow. I had lived in western Kentucky since September, and though I was warned, I was not prepared for the deep cold I found in Zion, KY. It was great to be out in desert.
My life was headed towards some major changes as I geared up and regrouped for what proved an ill-fated move to Nashville.
When one learns from mistakes, it can become hard to stop making them; each brings a flood of new wisdom.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
In the morning west of Porterville headed towards 99 North.
We lingered in Madera for a long time. I shot the rest of my pack of Instax Wide film.
Once back on the highway, the general theme for this blog began to emerge: out the window with the infrared camera.
At some point headed north, I found Ernie’s General Store. The place was amazing. There was a big wall of fame for lottery winners all shot with a Polaroid OneStep camera. I felt inclined to give my pitch for the Fuji Instax 210.
I lingered in the capital city for a day or two and made my way to Chico. There I rummaged through my storage unit, visited family, and shot a lot of Instax. I even got to play some music with my old friend Robert at a folk circle. It was a huge circle and in two hours, the song only got to me once. I played Slaid Cleaves’ Keychain.
Just one key left from all I ever owned.
I’m turnin’ that key, lettin’ out the clutch.
I never did like this town that much.
Then I made for Portland the long way up US97. North of Mount Shasta, I felt like shooting again.
There was a lot decaying towns along the road. I photographed with the Instax quite a bit. Scanning film photographs will have to wait for another week. On Sunday near sunset, I had to shoot this gas station.
The light was amazing for a split second. The birds, though subtle, do everything I could hope for in a photograph.
Klamath Falls was a nice place to be all alone in a mexican joint.
And the snow comes down from a desert sky,
Tellin’ everybody somethin’, but it’s usually goodbye.
But not you. You’re my one. You’re my only one.
I drove around and shot, but it was getting well past dark. I headed north, camped north of Chemult, and made my way to Bend in the morning. That Monday morning, I saw single digits in my car’s outdoor temperature for the first time.
I made it to Bend and did a few loops groggy and cold.
There is much to see in both Klamath Falls and Bend, but I will have to return when the temperature is warmer than 20 degrees farenheit to explore. I turned east for a moment when I saw Smith Rock near Madras, OR, another place I look forward to returning someday.
Against my own instincts, I had no idea the white knuckle drive from hell I was about to get into on the 26W over the Cascade range at Mount Hood. Well, actually I had some idea. Here, looking west outside of Madras at Mount Bachelor (I’m told), at 60 miles per hour.
In short order, the snow was really coming down and my heart was pounding. I was too far along to turn back, but the ‘chains required’ signs were taunting me.
I had mixed feelings about the crawl that traffic had come to for the better part of 20 miles. I was a little concerned about getting moving in the freezing slushy snow, but I never lost traction. It was quite similar to the many times on I80 headed to or from Truckee in years past. When will I learn to listen to myself? See, I missed the turn to stay on 97 and head through The Dalles while in Madras. I figured it wouldn’t be that bad. In the end, I made the 120 mile summit crossing in a tad over four hours.
Since I drove away from Vancouver, Washington on December 23rd, my trip was 2,712 miles. When I left, I had no intention of being in the Anza Borrego desert, nor much of anything else that happened in the last three weeks. This was my last trip of this sort for the foreseeable future. Now to deal with these 14 rolls of film, among all else.
- ► 2013 (46)
- ▼ 2012 (85)
- ► 2011 (176)
- ► 2010 (208)
- ► 2009 (10)
- ► 2008 (41)
- ► 2007 (53)
- ► 2006 (23)