On my trip over the weekend, I spent Sunday exploring Carrizo Plains National Monument. I’d visited it once before, poking at the edges, and on a trip a couple of years ago spent an afternoon exploring an area known as Bitterwater north of the monument proper, but this was my first run through the entire area.
This area is bounded on the north by state highway 58 and on the south by highway 166. there’s about 50 miles between the two and about 2/3 of that road is unpaved. The monument is — rustic — and much of it is impassible in wet weather. Even though I ran through in good weather after a stretch of no rain, there were still a few places on the road where it was wet and slippery enough for traction to get iffy, and my beast has 4WD.
It’s a fascinating area. The geology is created because this is the San Andreas Fault, where the two plates grind up next to each other. As they move slowly past each other, the soil above is shifted and mounted, leading to the hills being heavily folded and mounded. The area’s foliage shows it to be an area of little moisture, but not quite to desert.
The valley itself is very wide and flat, with hills on both sides. On Sunday, there were clouds hugging the hills and creating lots of shadows (but not necessarily good ones for photography), but most of the valley itself was sunny.
This was for me more of a scouting trip to try to get a feel for the area and start thinking about how I wanted to show it in my images. It’s the kind of area that to me, is hard to show because it hides its scale well. You have to be there to really experience it, but I want to find a way to show that in the photos — and to me, that means panoramas to bring the scale of it into view.
This is the first one I’ve processed from my shooting, and I like it. This is a small version, I still need to upload the entire beast — it’s 140 megs of TIFF and it’s about 15,000 x 3000. Click through the image above to get to larger versions of it on Flickr.
It’s the SMALL Pano of the set I shot. I’ll be at this a while…
More as I get more of the photography of the area online…