Day Two? What happened to Day One?
Day One has been postponed in order to save the best for last.
The Carrizo Plain is known for many things. In the Spring, it’s known for wildflowers — especially this year, when it is the site of a super bloom. Super blooms happen in years that have had a far greater that average rainfall, and we certainly had that in California this year.
When we arrived on Tuesday afternoon, the sky was dark and dramatic: horizon-to-horizon silver-rimmed wet clouds with shafts of sunbeams drawing ever-changing patterns on the plain and hillsides. A photographer’s dream. Day Two? With apologies to John Lennon:
We came back to play
On our second day
The sun was out
The sky was blue
The light was flat
So boo hoo hoo
Even still you made us smile.
On the second day we got up early to catch the morning light. We should have gotten up earlier. By the time we traversed the hour and a half from San Luis Obispo to the Plain, the early morning clouds had dispersed, leaving a clear blue utterly boring sky. Ten- to thirty-mile-per-hour winds made macro photography out of the question.
We decided to explore and let photography be our second priority.
Still we got some good stuff.
The shot above was taken with a telephoto looking at the crest of a small rise with the Temblor Range in the distance. (The mountains are well named: the San Andreas Fault runs along their western slope.)
We headed our exploration in a southerly direction in mid-afternoon — traveling the length of the Plain with an eye toward being in Lancaster in time for a late dinner and Poppies the next day. (Stay tuned.)
It’s mostly dirt road going south — slow going in a VW GTI, which has a fairly stiff suspension. For a long while we were the only people as far as we could see, leaving us all the time in the world to stop in the middle of the road and leisurely take pictures. We crawled along. Then, way off to the left, we saw a strip of bright purple. Bright. Purple. A mirage? Couldn’t be flowers. Could it? We’d never know.
It was miles away and there was seemingly no way to get to it. We drove bumpily along, admiring from afar. After we were thoroughly resigned to a forever unsolved mystery, a side road appeared. Left turn, half-mile drive to a parking loop. And a mile-long trail. As we walked along the narrow track we were slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, immersed in a purple ocean. It was delightful. The vista was amazing. The aroma was almost overpowering. No sound but the breeze. Is this still Earth? You decide. Inside looking out.
This is the pick of the first cull of Day Two.
Tomorrow: Day One.
(Nikon D500, Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD. Nikon D850, Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.2; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)