Lori Carey Photography

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cathedral City at Night

Trona Pinnacles at night.
Trona Pinnacles at Night

I'd been wanting to do some night photography at Trona Pinnacles for a while now and finally made it out there last weekend. With the moon close to full it wasn't the best timing for dark skies but it was great for moonlight on the surreal rock formations. If you have a high-clearance vehicle you can get out beyond the main grouping to the younger Northern Group further out in the Searles Dry Lake Bed (where there are no other people!), an incredible beautiful place to spend the night, then take the trails out to Ridgecrest or Red Mountain.

These ancient spires once known as Cathedral City are tufa (calcium carbonate) towers formed formed underwater more than 100,000 years ago when the surrounding area was at the bottom of Searles Lake, part of a chain of lakes that once stretched from Death Valley to Mono Lake. They are the same as the tufa found at Mono Lake, California.

If the landscape looks strangely familiar, it might be because many science fiction movies were filmed here, including Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek v: The Final Frontier and others.

I still have a couple hundred shots to work through. This trip was back to back with a Salton Sea trip so I think I might take advantage of the coming storm to get caught up on my processing!

Jupiter and Tufa, Trona Pinnacles
Jupiter and Tufa Towers, Trona Pinnacles

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dana Point Harbor

A view of Dana Point Harbor looking pretty as a postcard from up on the headlands. I hadn't been up to this location in about a year so this was the first time that I've seen the results of the construction along the Strand. There is now a road providing scenic views where before it was just open land. The view was so pretty this day that the road was lined with cars from people who had pulled over to take photos. And of course that means someone asked me to take a photo of them.

"Would you mind? You look like you know what you're doing." the woman said as she eyed my hard-to-miss white 70-200 (haven't we all wished to be able to camouflage that lens somehow at one point or another??). The truth is that I absolutely dread when this happens. I do know what I'm doing...with an SLR. It's not that I mind, I am more than happy to do so, it's just that I have absolutely no idea what to do with a P&S other than hold the thing at arms length, frame the photo by zooming with my feet and clicking the button they show me to click. I don't really understand how people can frame a photo by holding a camera at arms length, I've been looking through a viewfinder for 30+ years. I can't hold it steady (massive caffeine intake has a lot to do with that), I can't evaluate what I am seeing the same way I do when I look through a viewfinder. I can't choose my aperture and shutter speed, I can't choose the proper focal length for the image I want, I don't know how to tell you that the spot you are in puts harsh shadows on your face that will look terrible or that you are backlit because I know that you want a photo with you standing in that exact spot with that exact background and the last time I asked someone how to turn on the flash in the middle of the day they thought I was crazy. I have a panic attack because you think I know what I am doing and I am afraid I am going to disappoint you because I really don't know how to do anything with your camera except to click the button. You'd probably be better off asking the guy standing next to me using his cell phone. (I'm no good at cell phone photography either!)

So that is why when you ask me to take your photo using your point-and-shoot I get a strange look on my face...it has nothing to do with you, it's all about me.