Thursday, September 15, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
|Goat Canyon trestle panoramic picture|
I will describe my trip to the Goat Canyon Trestle. This is part of my trail report series. I tried to provide enough information to help other adventurers. First of all a little bit of background on this particular location. Goat Canyon trestle was created in 1919 as part of the railroad going from El Centro to San Diego. Goat Canyon is located within the Carrizo Gorge. Goat Canyon happens to be the largest canyon. There are several other smaller trestles along this railroad. I first read about this on the Internet from someone who labeled it "the last adventure". It sounded crazy. It sounded very remote. It sounded very fun. I have had it in my mind for many years. Finally on a trip to the Palm Springs area, I decided to make a visit and attempt to see the Goat Canyon Trestle.
There are 3 ways to visit this unique location:
1. Hiking from Dos Cabezas over the desert mountains and wilderness directly to the trestle.
2. Following the railroad tracks directly from the community of De Anza Springs Resort, which appeared to be about 6.5 miles one way
3. Following the railroad track from Dos Cabezas, initially going north and then directly south to the trestle, approximately 5 miles one way.
After studying my options very closely I decided I would take the 3rd round. This trailhead was closest to some other locations in the Anza Borrego Desert that I wanted to visit. I had also read about some people riding bicycles along the route. I decided to bring my bicycle and try that. Railroad tracks are designed to not change elevation very much. Hopefully that would translate into easy bike ride. What might take me a few hours to hike 5 miles would take much less on a mountain bike.
I actually took pictures at sunrise in Mountain Palm Canyon which is about 30 to 60 minute drive from here. Then I drove to Dos Cabezas. This should only be attempted in a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. There are some sections which are very rocky and difficult. If you go this way, it is important not to cross the train tracks. You can drive much farther on the east side of the train tracks. You should go as far as you can on this road before parking your car in switching to a bicycle. I cannot stress this enough. Some of the worst part of the bike trail is in the beginning section. Try to skip as much of this as you can by driving your car to the end of the road.
|Dos Cabezas Water Tank and railroad track|
A bicycle trail that is sometimes smooth, sometimes sandy and sometimes rocky runs beside the railroad tracks. There are some sections where it's so bumpy that I got off my bike and walked it. More of this is at the beginning of the trail. The farther you go, typically the better the trail becomes. Although it seems very level, you will work harder going to Goat Canyon trestle then you will on the return trip. There is about a 300 foot vertical climb that is very gradual. You will not notice it as much going to the trestle. It will simply seem hard. However on the return trip, I went so much faster and saved so much time.
The fun begins fairly quickly when you go through the 1st tunnel. The first couple of tunnels are very beautiful, short, rocky and scenic. I had to stop at the first and then the second to take pictures. They're so lovely. These are pictured here. Some longer tunnels come later in the ride and are so dark that I did not take their photograph. You can go through without a flashlight, I did, but they are very dark. In the far distance he will be able to see the trestle. The closer you get, it will go out of sight. The last tunnel, right before the trestle, collapsed several years ago. There is trail that goes around it. I left my bike at the railroad tracks and walked around to the other side to visit the trestle. This section of the trail was not conducive to mountain biking anyway. I would've had to carry my bicycle over several obstacles.
|The first scenic tunnel. Short but sweet|
|Goat Canyon trestle, a beautiful site|
|Goat Canyon trestle as seen from the south|
|On top of goat Canyon trestle|
The ride back was very fast. I think it took only about 1/3 the time to return to my car. That was nice because it was getting warmer. Fast travel on mountain bike gives a nice windchill factor. One note that I would advise, when writing over the trestles (small and large), my bicycle seemed to get pushed by the wind very easily. There's nothing really dangerous about this but it does feel a little unnerving.
Just do it.
|Typical cactus with a distant view of the railroad on the other |
side of the canyon. You are going there on the return trip.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
|Buachaille Etive Mor with Tall Grass|
|Buachaille Etive Mor Triangular Shape|
|Black Rock Cottage with Buachaille Etive Mor in background|
|Kilchurn Castle Ruins|
Photographically speaking the most technical shot I attempted was the Windows shot with the shadow of the wall allowing only a few squares of light onto the grass. This was shot almost directly into the sunlight. I made sure the lens of the camera was not being hit by the sunlight directly but this is clearly a high contrast feature. I used Lightroom HDR software and try to make this as realistic as it was to my natural eye.
|Windows of Kilchurn Castle|
|Kilchurn Castle western wall and surroundings|
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
|St. Giles Kirk Ceiling|
I took advantage of my 17 millimeters tilt shift lens and pointed it heavenward. As I shifted from side to side, I was able to take in a huge amount of architectural information. I tried very carefully to obtain a symmetric image. I stitched these pictures Lightroom postprocessing. With my lower ISO settings I was able to bring a lot of the detail out of the shadows including the rich color in the stonework. Please enjoy.
|Black Rock Cottage with Buachaille Etive Mor and Sweeping Clouds|
I expected the sunlight would color these purple or orange. They also seemed to fill in the space between the distant mountains. The one on the left is the famous Buachaille Etive Mor.
This monolith plays a major role in this photograph. The other players include the quaint Black Rock Cottage, the sky itself and an minor role is played by the foreground grasses. Everything works together in this photograph to create a strong and beautiful image of Scotland. The Highlands are majestic.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
|Glencoe, Scotland at dawn|
Driving along the road through Glencoe Valley I searched for a good location. This massive mountain and its' quaint cottage made me stop and shoot. I wandered along the stream looking for the right height and location to capture this mountain reflection in the calm stream. The cottage stands far enough away that it cannot be reflected.
Everything felt cool and quiet. That's what I think of when I see this photo.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
|Marbles in Suspension|
|Tree and Standing Boulder|
Friday, July 29, 2016
|Jumbo Rocks Panorama -- click on picture for larger view|
These rocks are right in the middle of the largest campground in the whole park. People are coming and going. Just finding a parking space was difficult. From a distance, I could see that this formation stands taller than many of the surrounding hills and mounds. One of those mounds served as my location for this panorama.
From 400 feet away, I shot with my 300mm lens on a tripod and slowly moved across this rock formation. Back home I stitched all these together to create a massive file. It's a different look at this classic place, and one that I am happy with.
|Ryan Ranch Ruins with Yucca at Dusk|
I whittled the list down a bit by seeing what had been shot extensively. Jumbo Rocks, Cholla cactus garden and Key's View are photographed so much that I felt a visit to those locations would be unlikely to yield an original photograph. (I did visit most of these locations in the day, though.) Ryan Ranch intrigued me because of its' smooth and colorful adobe walls. It's also a ruin -- those hold special attraction too. Using online tool, I could see it ought to catch the evening sunlight.
There is a campground about a 3-5 minute walk away from the ruins. On my day there were no clouds in the sky (sometimes I think I'm cursed this way). I liked working my way around this structure and shooting into its' angles as the sun gradually set.
The photo above is after sunset. I'm attached a few more from earlier that evening.
|Walls of Adobe at Ryan Ranch|
|Looking into the Ruins|
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
|Aiguille de Joshua Tree: the Finger of Hercules|
This formation is often photographed with a climber standing atop the pinnacle. My fear of heights and lack of rock climbing skill made that option undesirable. :(
|Lost Pencil at Sunrise|
Sometimes photographers only show their very best work. This case, I feel that this is not my very best work but given the weather conditions, it is the best that could occur on this particular morning. Oh, there is not a lot of information about this a big rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park and I thought I would share this and perhaps it will help someone else. I enjoyed the hike. This is a wonderful location to visit.
|Algodones Sand Dunes resemble the Sahara|
I slept in my car beside the North dunes and got up well before sunrise so that I could hike out onto the dunes and be there when the sun came up. I was surprised at how much walking I had to do simply to reach the dunes. It was very flat but seems to take about twice as long as I expected. The dunes began fairly abruptly on the edge of some brush and trees. Yet a few questions and even a tree or 2 are located in the midst of the dunes as far as I can see. There was never a location where the dunes were completely 100% sand without vegetation.
I certainly enjoyed taking pictures at sunrise. After about an hour it started to get quite hot and I started making my way back towards the edge of the dunes. It was at this time that I discovered this lonely tree which actually has a nest. I was careful to make a wide circle around this tree because I did not want my footprints in the picture. This shot was taken with an 85 millimeters lens which I thought was a good choice to include the tree and the surrounding areas but also to give a perspective of the distant dunes seem to go on forever.
In postprocessing I must admit there were a few small rocks and pebbles in the sand that I removed using Photoshop so that I could have a very clean sand dune appearance.
A few hours on the dunes I felt like I was in Africa. Sand dunes are quite spectacular in person and in photography.
Friday, April 8, 2016
|Pebbles, Rocks and the Lines of Yant Flat|
|Red Dot of Yant Flat|
|All part of Utah's Red Cliff Desert Reserve|
|Yellow Hill resembles a Shell|
|Dead Tree in Shape of Cross|
|Hiking around Yant Flat to discover many gems|
Saturday, March 19, 2016
|Yant Flat fins leading to the Turtle Shell|
I choose this particular photograph overall of my others because I like the composition. As I was wandering around Yant Flat I saw this particular group of fins and try to align them headed towards the yellow hill in the background. I like this composition. As the sun would come out, I walked over to this area on 3 different occasions to get it with different clouds and different lighting. I just had a strong feeling that it would be the best composition of the day.
Back at home looking through my photos, I still liked this. It is very unique and I think captures a very beautiful moment with the lovely blue sky with fluffy clouds above. Therefore it is my pick of the month. I hope you enjoy.