Sunday, March 19, 2017

THE SALTON SEA IN EARLY MARCH 2017


Met up with fellow photographers from Darkroomers Camera Club for a weekend of photography at the Salton Sea.

I opted to join a couple of others who were camping at Wiest Lake Campground, near Calipatria. There is a small lake there and hook-ups for RVs. I was tent camping and set up next to my friend Rich and four others for the weekend. I was able to join them for dinners and take advantage of their cooler RV during the day when the outside temperatures reached into the high 90’s.

Friday afternoon we had an early dinner where I contributed a much needed sharp knife and cutting board, as well as a bottle of wine. Afterwards we headed for Bombay Beach for sunset. This beach area is North of Niland on the East side of the Salton Sea. We had a lovely sunset with absolutely calm water that made a perfect mirror. It was lovely.

Salton Sea w/Sunset Sky

Enjoying The Moment
 
Salton Sea and Sky

Peaceful Reflection, Salton Sea

 Afterwards we stuck around to take a couple of night shots of a beached boat which we lit with flashlights both inside and out.

Boat and Moon


Saturday morning there was no particular sunrise color so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading off in search of burrowing owls. We found several and were able to get some nice
photos of them. We had hoped to photograph some migrating birds, but most of them had departed North about a week before we got there.









Long-billed Curlew
Afterwards we drove to see Salvation Mountain. It is located Northeast of Niland, and a few miles from the Salton Sea. The artwork is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. Salvation Mountain was created by local resident Leonard Knight (1931–2014). It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, though its philosophy was built around the Sinner's Prayer. It was interesting to view, but not a subject for my photography.




We returned to our camp, enjoyed a light lunch, then enjoyed a nap. I went off afterwards to photograph sunset at the “Three Sisters”, three dead trees that stand out on the pan. They used to be sitting in the water of the Salton Sea.





Sunday morning I went off to photograph sunrise at Bombay Beach. Regrettably I missed the best of it due to changes in time from standard to daylight. I was able to photograph a few shore birds before returning to Wiest Lake.

 
Willet
Black-Necked Stilt
Black-Necked Stilt
Willet Pair
Great Blue Heron

After a quick breakfast, I packed up my gear and headed home via Anza-Borrego State Park where the spring flower show was in full bloom. The Spring Bloom was spectacular with lots of Desert Lilies, Verbena, Desert Sunflowers, Desert primrose, and Popcorn flower just to name a few. When I stopped and walked a short distance from the road (SR78) the air was full of the spring bloom. (Pictures will be in the next edition on Anza-Borrego. :-))

Regrettably I got caught up in the traffic in town and slowly crawled up Montezuma Valley Road to San Felipe Road. I opted to go around the congestion and went over to the Banner Grade Road, and then connected with SR79 South to I-8.
It was still worth it to see the flowers and the show that they put on. I will be going back in a week for another look and a hike up Borrego Palm Canyon.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

PACIFIC SOUTHWEST RAILROAD MUSEUM


Went to the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum located in Campo, CA for a fun day of photography with old trains and train cars being the subject matter. This is not my usual interest but it is a fun outing and a change in vision.


It was a cold and blustery day but it really was not an issue as one could photograph inside some of the cars, and when outside could set up in a relatively protected area using the trains as wind blocks. I have been here before, but I had not ventured into several of the cars before, as you need a tripod in order to
do it correctly.

PREPARING TO BOARD
My first car to visit housed the Post Office. 
 
POSTAL CAR
You can see how the car was set up for sorting the mail while rolling down the track. Beyond the Postal car was a series of passenger cars. As you can see there were accommodations made for segregating the riders.
SEGREGATED SEATING
Then there was the private compartments which came with their own bathroom facilities.

 In the dining car there was the galley and pantry.  
  
DINING CAR GALLEY
In the Caboose there was a coal burning stove for heat and cooking by the staff. 



Outside I took a few pictures of old trains and engines. 
ENGINE 4004

OLD TRAIN DETAIL
One very interesting engine was the Mallet 2-6-6-2 #46. 
 
CALIFORNIA WESTERN


CALIFORNIA WESTERN #110

This is an articulated logging engine. It was designed to make tighter turns than a standard engine. Here is a link so you can learn more about them.
      

This engine fascinated me as I tried to visualize how it worked. I am still trying to figure it all out, but here is a brief description -

The Mallet locomotive is a type of articulated steam railway locomotive, invented by the Swiss engineer Anatole Mallet (1837–1919).
The essence of his idea combines articulation of the locomotive and compound steam use. The articulation was achieved by supporting the front of the locomotive on a bogie frame (called a Bissell truck); the compound steam system fed steam at boiler pressure to high-pressure cylinders for the main driving wheels. As the steam was exhausted from those cylinders, it was passed into a low-pressure receiver and was then sent to low-pressure cylinders to power the driving wheels on the Bissell truck.

 

ABANDONED

SEEING DOUBLE

Saturday, February 4, 2017

CUYAMACA STATE PARK WITH A WINTER MANTLE


I recruited my friends, Myrna and Chris, for a visit to the local State Park this past Friday. They are always up for a hike in the mountains, and are patient with my stopping now and then for a photo opportunity.

As the forecast was “clear, cold, and quite windy” we opted to go to Cuyamaca State Park instead of the Laguna Mountain area. As it was the winds were predicted to possibly reach more than 40 mph. in The Lagunas. Myrna and I did some research on which trail to hike. We had a couple of trails in mind, and settled on a loop around Stonewall Peak via the Cold Stream Trail, Stonewall Creek Fire Road, and Vern Whitaker Trail.
 
Stonewall Peak

We started at the trailhead of the West Side Fire Road, right off of SR79. This made a nice loop. 


FLOWING STREAM
FLOWING STREAM, A CLOSER LOOK

There was a good deal of snow on the trail and at low points we had to cross a fresh stream or two. According to the map there were no formal streams, but because the melt off there were areas where we could not avoid crossing a stream, or on the final leg, walking in the melted snow stream. In protected places the snow was powdery, but generally there was a slight crust which we walked on.

The early part of the hike was in open country so we did feel the effects of the strong winds. We all kept our parkas on throughout the hike though at times we unzipped them. When we took a short break from hiking we would have a nibble and rest but then want the parkas zipped up again.
ENJOYING A SNACK

CHRIS WITH STONEWALL PEAK IN THE BACKGROUND

CLEAR AND COLD HIKING
At the Saddle near the junction of the Soapstone Grade Fire Road we could look North and see Cuyamaca Lake and in the distance the Santa Rosa Mountains with a very nice snow cap. 
CUYAMACA LAKE AND DISTANT MOUNTAINS
Once past Los Vaqueros Horse Camp we started our descent to the trailhead. 
LOS VAQUEROS HORSE CAMP

MIDDLE PEAK IN THE DISTANCE

CUYAMACA LAKE
ALONG THE TRAIL

SNOW AND BRANCHES
 Along the way we spotted, and I photographed a vole who was right on our trail. They are quite small and it had come out of its den for some sun and nibbling on some green leaves that it had found under the snow.

A VOLE ON OUR TRAIL
HAVING A NIBBLE

 
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

Later we saw about eight deer and I was able to photograph a couple of them. It is amazing how well they blended into the environment of brush and downed trees.
WEEPING LOG
DEER  BLENDING WITH ENVIRONMENT

We went a total of 8.7 miles, and it took us seven hours. As we descended the Cold Stream Trail from near the entrance to Paso Picacho C. G. the sun was getting close to the ridge line to the West. Here, most of the trail was in or along side Cold Stream and though the sun was still up the trail was now in shade. There were a few more informal streams to cross and wade through. We were intent on getting back to our car before it got dark.

We were very happy to get back to the car where we changed shoes and socks  before heading for home. this was all done before the sun descended below the Cuyamaca Mountains. We all agreed that we were very happy to have had and used our trekking  poles.

It was great to get out into the country side and enjoy a day out hiking with friends. Thanks Myrna and Chris.

The hot shower was most welcome this evening.