Category Archives: Excursions

What makes the list? Desert trips and panoramas

Burning Tire Swing

I went through my blogposts for 2011 with the idea of making a top 10 list of photography adventures, and ended up with two lists. I suppose that means it was a good year. I use Goodreads to keep track of my reading. I suppose I could sort iTunes chronologically to see what music I’ve been listening to. Before I started blogging I used a paper calendar to track my activities — everything from photoshoots to concerts to bike rides. But Google Calendar or iCal aren’t the place I want to store this information. Online calendars feel mostly like work-related tools to me.

Deadpan monologist Joe Frank had a great episode about how you determine what makes your list of memories, and what almost makes the list. I wish I could remember the name of the episode. What tools do you use to capture the highlights of your year?

Part I: January through June

  1. Photographing the BLF for Hi-Fructose Magazine
  2. Night photography workshops at Paul’s Junkyard with Troy Paiva
  3. The desert trip diaries are my favorite blog posts to look back on
  4. A few nights in a desert airplane boneyard
  5. We said farewell to the Pearsonville junkyard
  6. The demolition time-lapse video of Oak Knoll Naval Hospital
  7. Cutting cars in half at Paul’s Junkyard
  8. Another crazy desert trip with astronauts and tequila
  9. Back to the desert with film sets and mining ruins and Llano
  10. Hanging out at an old Nevada mine and at Bodie Ghost Town and sharing epiphanies

Part II: July through December

  1. A private tour of Alcatraz at night
  2. The abandoned cement plan 360 degree night photo that got me going on panos
  3. Up above SFO with a time-lapse from Sweeney Ridge
  4. A lightning storm over Paul’s Junkyard
  5. Discerning the complexities of California by repeatedly firing a camera out the car window
  6. The sadness of a head-on collision while shooting at night in a junkyard
  7. Revisiting 360 pano post-processing with a photo of the Jeremiah O’Brien
  8. Mare Island 360 degree night panoramas while celebrating The Nocturnes turning 20 years old
  9. Night 360 panoramas at an abandoned desert mining area
  10. A Dumbarton swing bridge 360 panorama and night 360′s at The Big M

Future of the Mojave: High Desert Corridor Project

High Desert Corridor

A good friend recently let me know about the High Desert Corridor Project. The California Department of Transportation is proposing to build a new 63 mile freeway across the southern end of the Mojave Desert from Palmdale to Apple Valley. Since 2005, I’ve photographed in the Mojave Desert during the full moon between 3-7 times per year. From Paul’s Junkyard near Lancaster, to the Llano ruins of Pearblossom. From the movie sets near Lake Los Angeles, to the airplane graveyard in El Mirage. I’ve seen the half empty housing developments in Adelanto, and photographed ruins old and new across the desert.

I’m certainly not an expert in long range urban planning or any of these large transportation infrastructure issues, but I do know the desert pretty well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole concept. From what I’ve read, the idea is to spur residential, commercial, and industrial growth in Palmdale, Lancaster, Adelanto, Victorville, and Apple Valley. Proponents of the plan are predicting 2030 population numbers in Antelope Valley (AV) of 900K, and 650K in Victor Valley. The other idea is to more easily move goods on trucks between the 710, the 60, Interstate 10 and Interstate 15. Both of the current East-West routes across the desert, Palmdale Blvd. and the Pearblossom Highway, can be slow going.

From prospectors looking for that hidden vein, to spiritual seekers looking for truth, the desert is a place to go when you want to do your thing without anyone bothering you. Unfortunately, a rather disturbing human interest story has developed around the High Desert Corridor Project. The County has been dispatching armed Nuisance Abatement Teams (NATs) to threaten and harass local residents, presumably to clear the way for this new expressway. Don’t miss the video below from ReasonTV. Forget it Jake, it’s Mojave?

Update: Below is the location of the Kill Bill Church in Hi Vista on a satellite map. Hi Vista is surrounded by State Parks and Wildlife Reserves/Sanctuaries, and of course Edward Air Force Base to the north. East Avenue G through Hi Vista is pretty wide open, but this area is north of the proposed northern route for the High Desert Corridor, which makes the harassment of the residents of this area even more puzzling.

Hi Vista, State Parks, and Wildlife Reserves