Lori Carey Photography

Friday, October 26, 2007

Irony

It's been a long, busy two weeks. The Coyote Canyon run was a fantastic trip, and I had just finished processing most of the photos from that and getting ready to blog about it when a friend I hadn't seen a few months had some time to get out and really wanted to go play in my jeep. I can't resist going out for an adventure with Marie because we always have so much fun together, so off we went.

The short version of the story is that while I was out photographing abandoned, fire-ravaged homes, we saw one of the San Diego county wildfires break out. The adventurous trip to get back home then began, and some extremely stressful days have since followed. Talk about irony.

I couldn't face processing the photos I had taken until today. It was just too heartbreaking and too much of a reminder of the fires that continue to burn out of control today.

So I've processed my first photo from the batch; it is one of my favorites and I think it shows what draws me to photograph these homes in ruins. I can only wonder about the despair homeowners must feel to walk away from some of these locations rather than rebuild.




So, I'll write about the rest of the day when I have the heart to finish processing the photos. And I'll get the trip report from our Coyote Canyon run posted over the weekend.


That's all for right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Peninsular Bighorn Sheep

October is officially the start of desert season, and to kick it off this year we're heading to Coyote Canyon in the north end of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with a bunch of friends. Sharing the adventure with friends will be a first for us since I usually prefer to travel solo so I can set my own schedule and agenda, but although this may limit my photography a bit we're really looking forward to exploring a new area of the park and having a great time.

Coyote Canyon is closed every year from May until the end of September because it is a breeding ground for the Peninsular Desert Bighorn sheep (ovis candensis).




The peninsular (desert) bighorn sheep has been listed under the California State Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1971 and the Federal Endangered Species Act since 1998, but their numbers continue to decline rapidly due to urban expansion and mountain lion predation. Current estimates are that less than 600 remain in the US, with some estimates as low as 335.

Approximately 200 of the remaining sheep are located in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. On December 30, 2005 I was extremely fortunate to happen upon a herd of 20 sheep, complete with a button buck and a little suckling calf who made his (her?) very first public appearance that day while we were hiking the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail near the visitor center.

Since that day the sheep have remained elusive, so I am very excited about the possibility of seeing them in Coyote Canyon this weekend. Although I'll be spending most of the day putting my four wheel drive skills to the test, I'm also looking forward to playing around with some star trail photography (Anza-Borrego is a certified Dark Sky Site), light painting and night photography.

So with all of this action starting up, I realized I really needed to work on processing my older ABDSP photos before taking more (my work flow needs major improvement), so my Desert Bighorn Sheep gallery is now update and can be viewed here.

By the end of the week I hope to have all of my images from Font's Point and some other locations in ABDSP processed and uploaded to the galleries.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

LOLPhotographer

Some people have this remarkable ability to point a camera at a mirror and take a great self portrait. I haven't figured out how to do that yet.



Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rescue on Santiago Peak and a redemption of sorts

Bill and I decided to take a ride up to Santiago Peak in Cleveland National Forest last Saturday to enjoy the unseasonably cooler weather and explore a new trail. This time we entered from Silverado Canyon and took Silverado Road (5S06) to Maple Springs Road, where we jumped onto the Main Divide (3S04). Main Divide took us up and over Santiago Peak, and on the way down we turned on to the Indian Truck Trail (5S01).

At 5,687 feet, Santiago Peak is the highest and most prominent peak in Orange County and in the Santa Ana Mountains, and together with Modjeska Peak is known locally as "SaddleBack".

The Silverado Canyon side of the trail is drastically different from the opposite side of the peak; whereas the latter is more rocky, sandy high desert terrain, the Silverado Canyon side was heavily wooded, the hills were green and the live oaks were plentiful. It was a gorgeous early Autumn day with temperatures in mid-70's, and we took our time exploring, photographing and enjoying the views.

A lot of people had the same idea we did, and the trail traffic was much heavier than we had seen in other parts of CNF. There really isn't enough room for two vehicles to pass side-by-side on most of trail which necessitates some maneuvering at times, but everyone was courteous and although we'd much prefer to have the trails to ourselves, the moderately heavy traffic wasn't overly bothersome.

We stopped to enjoy lunch at the top of Santiago Peak, we shared our water with two hikers who hadn't counted on running out of theirs, and we started back down the other side of the mountain. As we came around a switchback we saw a helicopter on the edge of the switchback below us.



The last time I saw a helicopter near the trail I found myself smack in the middle of a marijuana field bust complete with a SWAT team, so I stopped on the trail for a minute to see if we could determine what was going on. When we hadn't seen any other activity after a few minutes, I drove down closer to the helicopter, parked the jeep and spoke to the helicopter pilot to see if we needed to turn around (although the trail was too narrow to be able to do so - I figured I'd have to drive in reverse up the mountain and around the switchbacks until I found someplace wide enough!). The pilot informed us that a motorbike rider had gone off the cliff, and if we didn't mind waiting until they brought him up, they could use my help with the trail traffic coming down off the peak. He told us that they had an extremely difficult time trying to find a place to set down (the rotors were still going because they were precariously balanced on the edge of the cliff), and the injured person was being brought up by car from further down the trail. Bill went down below to see if he could assist while I stayed on top to keep an eye on the trail traffic, and with their permission I photographed the part of the rescue I could see from my vantage point.

I can only guess at some of what happened, but the injured man was brought to the helicopter in the back of someone's SUV, perhaps the person who saw him go over the side and called for medical assistance because there didn't appear to be any friends or family with the man, and the SUV was obviously private.



I know it's standard procedure to use a backboard, but I can't tell you how happy I was to see that the man was moving his feet. You can see the terrain and how steep the cliffs are on this part of the trail in the photo of the helicopter; a fall off the sides is serious business and can easily be paralyzing. The rescue workers transferred him to a stretcher and rushed him onto the helicopter.








I had stopped two cars coming down the trail and everyone was gathered at a vantage point to watch the action; the helicopter was directly in front of us, the SUV with the injured biker was directly below us. After the biker was loaded onto the helicopter the pilot signaled us to move back, and he wasn't joking; the helicopter kicked up a huge debris cloud when it took off.



When the dust cloud settled all of the trail traffic that had been backed up had to find a way to get past each other at the switchback. Apparently the traffic coming up the mountain drove right up to the rescue SUV after the injured man was removed, so we now had vehicles going in each direction on a very narrow trail. We found a place to pull over and let everyone who was in a rush get out of the way, and after the dust settled we started back down the mountain. About half a mile or so, right near the Holy Jim trail, we noticed a motorbike on the side of the road and realized that it must belong to the injured man.



It didn't appear to have suffered any damage, and I thought for sure that it would get stolen if left on the trail. I told Bill that I didn't know what to do; if it were mine I would hope that someone would take care of it for me. But we didn't know who the man was, or even how we could find out who he was, and the bike wouldn't fit in the jeep anyway. It was hard to turn away from that bike and continue down the trail.

Our prayers go out to the injured man. We hope that he wasn't seriously hurt, that he has recovered his bike, and that he is out and riding again.

And our thanks and tremendous appreciation go out to the rescue team. Since we spend a lot of time in remote areas and difficult terrain, how to handle emergency situations is something that is always in the forefront of our minds. Seeing these guys in action was very reassuring, although I hope I never need them.


Friday, October 5, 2007

LOLPhotographer

Bill has a habit of snapping photos of me in awkward positions and making the most horrendous faces while I'm out shooting. I know he does it on purpose and I think he finds real humor in it.

I came across quite a few of them as I was reviewing the massive quantity of images on my hard drive to select a few for display in a local business (more on that soon!), and being in a silly mood I decided to play around with them. I suppose it was actually procrastination on my part because I was getting a bit frustrated about selecting the proper images for my upcoming display, but it put me in a much better mood.

I posted a while ago about the internet meme "LOL cats" and how funny I found it,so I now present to you the first installment of my latest project, "The LOLPhotographer":