A favorite scene from last week’s road trip to Laguna
We lack water here in Southern California. There are lots of things all of us can live without – water isn’t one of them. It’s getting worse. We’ll probably survive it; at least my generation will. I’m not so sure about our progeny. There are some consolations. This is one of them. It won’t quench our thirst, not for hydration anyway. It might serve to inspire us to find ways to pass it on to our grandchildren.
Among the many plus points associated with Big Sur is that if you’re near the shore camping is pleasant year round. I went this past March for two days and wound up staying for four. My main mission had ben to shoot the Bixby Bridge in moonlight. Well, we had a moon, as you can see. But Bixby wasn’t located such that this particular one was going be useful. I did get a few shots but nothing I was very excited about – excuse to go back again. The beach near the campground was a different story so it became Plan B. Pretty good deal.
Mitzi & Diana
Back to work..
I’m closing in on my goal to visit and shoot in all our National Parks – at least those in the Lower 48. Five to go and I will visit those on my trip back west which will begin in a couple of weeks. People invariably ask me which is my favorite Park and it’s almost impossible to answer that question. I’ve visited a couple that are non-favorites (they shall go unnamed) but the plus side of the ledger is more difficult to deal with. However, of those that I have visited – and realize this does not yet include Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, or St. Johns – there is one that stands out for me. Were you to ask me to name the Park I would go to, if ever I could only visit just one more, I’d say Death Valley.
It may have been the time of year I first visited. It might have been my state of mind. It might have been the way the light caught the side of the mountains in the morning and then again in the afternoon. It might have been the dunes. All those things. Other things. I don’t know. I’m sure had I arrived in a sand storm or in mid-July my opinion would be quite different. But I didn’t. And so all these things and more combine to push DV to the top of my If-I-Only-Could_Visit_One More list.
Inasmuch as my only (and favorite) daughter married a couple of days ago you might wonder just why I’m posting about Death Valley. I know I did. But you see I never post without images and the ones from the wedding will not be available for a while. That and the fact that I was scouring through files this afternoon looking for a good shot to submit for a contest accounts for this post. At some point I will link it to a gallery that will go up on my SmugMug site, but for now I’m satisfying my need to get something out in lieu of it’s creation and in frustration over not having wielded a camera at the wedding.
I was first introduced to the Mono Lake Basin in September 2011 on a trip with my son Charles and his Green Tortoise Travel bus and have since had the opportunity not only to spend a lot of time exploring there, but more importantly to become acquainted with and a part of the Mono Lake Committee, a conservancy organization co-founded by the late David Gaines that has been in operation at ML since the mid-80’s. It’s very safe to say that lacking the efforts of the MLC there would be no Mono Lake today. It would have long since gone the way of Owens Lake a little further south of the Basin. Owens, despite its ‘lake’ designation, is now a very large salt flat: Picturesque. Toxic.
Not so Mono Lake, which even bearing a salinity level exceeding twice that of the Pacific is one of the liveliest (and loveliest) bodies of water on earth. It plays host to trillions of brine shrimp which control the lake’s algae levels and provide a critical food source to the millions of migratory birds that use Mono Lake annually. The shrimp are also a staple for about a third of the world’s California Gull population that calls this place its nesting home.
I became a volunteer with the Committee this past spring and commuted up from Los Angeles over a period of several weeks to get the training necessary to the work and then to actually deliver on that investment before leaving for the east coast in mid-July. The photographic materials piled up and for the most never got posted so I thought I’d better do something about that before it slipped away entirely. I’ve culled through my logs and come up with a couple hundred shots. It’s overkill I suppose but does offer a reasonably good view of my activities over these many months. It also includes shots of the volunteer group I was a part of, led by a very dedicated former California State Park Ranger, Janet Carle. Janet, and her husband David, also a former ranger at Mono Lake, have published a book entitled Traveling the 38th Parallel which ties together global water issues common to the latitudinal band that intersects the Mono Basin. Well worth looking at.
And Mono Lake is well worth visiting. If you find yourself traveling to Yosemite or anywhere in the Eastern Sierra area you’d be well rewarded making the trip to the Lake, to the Bodie Hills and Mono Craters and to the little town of Lee Vining hard by the shoreline. If you happen there next spring look me up. I’ll be the guy hanging around the Old Marina on the west end sporting a Mono Lake Volunteer vest and a spotting scope to keep an eye on the Osprey that nest in the towers. Be happy to give you a tour. By next year I might even be able to name a few of the other species that call this place home.
I suppose at some point we’re going to see some firework displays from our vantage point on the lawn here at Burton Chace Park in the middle of the marina at Marina Del Ray.
The sun’s beginning to disappear over my right shoulder and the pan in front is a combination of yachts cruising in and out the harbor, and long lines of revelers at the half dozen or so porta johns that have been erected along the periphery of the park.
Mitzi and I have staked out a small plot of ground – seems to be shrinking – tossed our shoes and are plotting the destruction of the picnic we assembled at a Subway shop on the way down from Wooster St. There are grills going strong in every direction I look and the mixture of smells is unquestionably delicious but I’m just fine with my turkey breast and banana peppers.
If I manage to actually capture any of the sparkly part of this occasion I’ll try to share, but for now I’m going to go work on the mystery of the disappearing water fountain cross the way.
Enjoy the holiday wherever you may be. And if this is not one of your holidays just be thankful its one of ours and that ‘the generals’ haven’t shown up here since Lee and Grant got together for tea at the courthouse.
I ‘follow’ my own blog (someone has to) if for no other reason than to be able to see what others see when it launches to the net. Sort of a quality control procedure I suppose. I rarely find anything wrong although with a little help from my old business associate Andrew in Australia I did learn that I had the settings for photo display set incorrectly and that anytime I posted a pic from my iPhone it was displaying in a very tiny pixel framework. It had nothing to do with the iPhone, which delivers excellent quality with its camera, but with my ignorance. After I got over the mental rant against WordPress and set about to research the issue I was able to make the necessary corrections. Then I had to mentally apologize to WordPress. Strange things rattle ’round inside my head at times – an alternate reality that hopefully will never see the light of day. Perhaps some of you can identify with that. Oh, and thank you Andrew! And just so you know I have been looking into making another trip downunder if I can figure out how to fit a month or so into my budget. Might finally have to get serious about my connection with CouchSurfing and AirBnB.
Something I did notice all too often when I checked my site was the inclusion of an ad at the bottom that WP claimed was necessary to help offset the expense of providing free siting. I did not like it but wasn’t disgruntled enough to fork over the extra dough to make it go away. Then I noticed I was getting all those links you see connected with various places like HuffPost and OutsideMagazine with the come-on titles and scantily clad models. I have nothing against scantily clad models mind you – but just not on my site.
So, I gave in last night and upgraded to the Big Kahuna package, which is why you’ll be receiving this from richardbegone.com instead of from richardbegone.wordpress.com. Hopefully this will not disappoint those of you who might have been dropping in for the prurient trimmings that will no longer be availble. As consolation I will try to occasionally find a model or two of my own whose images can be offered up. Problem with me there is I rarely shoot anything (other than dogs) that either breathes or moves. And dead models are of little interest to anyone outside a mortuary. We’ll see. I’m going on a photo-walk tomorrow in downtown LA; maybe something interesting will pop-up.
This will be my second Google+ Photographers’ ‘walk’. The last was in San Francisco on the 14th April. I don’t think I posted anything from that walk here on the blog other than an iPhone shot of Rodeo Beach on the Marin Headlands and an errant Street Car on Polk.
I’ll make up for that now.
The start of the walk at Marina and Scott about 1400 hours:
The walk leaders, Dave Powell (r) and Chris Cabot: Dave was visiting from Tokyo where he lives and works. Chris works locally for Google.
Some of the folk who joined in for the event:
“Accidental” Models along the way:
The Post-walk Camera Throw at the pizza place:
And last but far from least from my perspective my finally being able to get a couple of decent night shots of the Golden Gate Bridge – to add to the gazillion other shots that have been made but with my prints on the image.
And then it was over:
Ok, not quite. I loved this dog-chases-ball series so I’m tacking it on:
I had really hoped to catch up on a weeks worth of shooting today. I’ve covered a lot of territory and have more to explore before reaching home base on Friday. Two days in San Francisco that included lunch with my brother Pat and a Google + Photo Walk led by Dave Powell and Chris Cabot. Then a short drive by Pt Reyes that consumed nearly an entire day. And last night a trip up to Tahoe through a driving snow storm. Phew!
And we’re only half way.
So let me throw some iPhone pics at you for now and get some other stuff later.
This is Emerald Bay near South Lake Tahoe. The island is called the Tea House.
The pier at Sugar Pine Point State Park.
King’s Beach Launch Area
The most common view of the Lake as you circle it is through gorgeous evergreen stands like this one.
And finally a rocky out cropping near Memorial Point on the Nevada side.
Not exactly in chronological order but Thursday we set out from LA in search of Hadley Farm in Cabazon and wound up day tripping into Joshua Tree NP. The Cholla Garden is a highlight In the park and we managed to reach it just as the sun was setting.
These plants are gorgeous and damned dangerous. The spines are needle thin and razor sharp. The garden provides cover for small critters since the larger predators aren’t dumb enough to run into the place or for that matter swoop in.
Back in Yosemite this weekend for the annual Yosemite Conservancy Spring Opener. Another shot of a shot of Half Dome. Very mild winter here snow was never heavy and is all but gone since the visit in February. Drought may be in the forecast.
Interesting chat with a Canadian photog named Bruce who had been on the road for most of three years. Had this neat minivan he’d converted to a sleeper. I need to look into that. If you read this Bruce, drop me a note. And let me know how it went in Death Valley.
On the outskirts of Yosemite Valley
Checked into Yosemite today in hopes of catching a shot of
this years Firefall at Horsetail Falls. It was a no go today – not enough melt to create the ‘falls’. So I ran up and took some shots at Tunnel View. Had I not left my laptop’s power cord in LA you would have seen some of those. But alas….. So here you have the iPhone shot and I suppose that’s all you’ll get until I get home and upload some stuff to Smugmug.
Blue sky. Sunshine. Comfortably cool temps. A small park in West Hollywood along the edge of what used to be Rt 66. Anne Hathaway: a thirty-something looking not a day over 15. Jane Fonda: a seventy-something looking about Hathaway’s age. Marisa Tomei: looking, well, just like Marisa Tomei. And dozens of women, as well as a few men here and there, decked out in various shades of red and pink engaged in dance routines that would fit well into almost any zumba room. For V-Day? Not exactly.
This was One Billion Rising, a planned flashmob (oxymoronic?) occurring today worldwide to raise the level of awareness of the violence imposed daily on women and girls and to support a sustained movement to bring it to an end.
I was there because Mitzi and her client and friend, Bonnie, had signed up and had practiced their participation for a week and invited me to come along and bring the camera. I didn’t research the event and honestly wasn’t sure what would happen other than a bunch of women would be carrying signs and dancing in the street. And I suppose if you’re of a certain jadedness that would be one way to look at it.
But these women, young, old and everywhere in between, were on a mission.
And they loved it.
And it showed.
And it was impossible not to get caught up in the energy-charged net of enthusiasm they spread all over their assigned section of Santa Monica Boulevard. And that’s what I tried to capture. I’ll let you be the judge. In addition to the photos included here – my favorites – I’ve posted a few more in this gallery. For those of you who took my card and asked where they would be published – this is the place. Feel free to use the images but also please make sure you attribute them to Richard Harrison (moi).
And!!!!!! Be sure to catch the video produced by Voyage Vixens. There are several on the net but none even comes close to the Vixens’ production quality.
And incidentally, that lead pic was a deliberate tease to get you to click the link and learn about something a little more important than cleavage.
One last note: I’m coming to believe that no event is complete without a dog. Pina De Rosa feels the same and brought Wellington along to prove it. Put a couple of extra pluses on a day inundated with them. But Wellington came out on top. You can learn all about him here.