Monday, April 13, 2015
Hike 2015.026 -- Calico Trail, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV
This was my most recent hike, although older hikes have yet to be blogged.
Somewhat late start, as I drove in from the Los Angeles area that morning. As I recall, I started my hike at around 1:15pm. The weather was pleasantly seasonal--it's the short period of time that happens each spring or fall when you need neither the heater nor the air conditioner if you live here. I don't live here, but I remember the days I did live here.
Because, it turns out, people have a rather herd-mentality. They drive to where they think they should, get out of their car, then either snap some pictures or head into the red rocks (usually ignoring what trails there may be).
Oh, sure, the cars are still within earshot. But the trails will provide some quantum of solitude.
So, after my vehicular circumna-vigation of the park, I began my hike back near the fee station.
I'd hiked from here before, so I already knew the potential for good wildflower viewing could be found along this trail. Except, last time, I lost the trail not long after passing the Calico Hills II access point, so I didn't mind a return engagement.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve (which I had visited a few weeks previous to this), but they were rather prolific. It had been a pretty wet winter for the Las Vegas Valley, and, though I feared it might have already been too late, I did, at least, manage to catch the tail-end of the wildflower season.
Griffith Park, near Burbank Peak. So I'm always pleasantly surprised to see this (oxymoronically) showy, yet understated flower in the wild.
And, with many of these flowers set against a red sandstone background, or a grey limestone background, or the blue sky of the desert, I had a photographer's field day.
From the fee station, the Calico Trail more or less parallels the scenic loop road, and cars are generally not more than 100 horizontal yards away from you.
However, because of the topography, the cars are often either well below you or well above you. In the latter case, their sight and sound is completely blocked by the grass-covered hills to your left (on the way out).
During those four hours, I shot 266 pictures. Yeah, that's a lot. Partially, that's because of how little I know about manipulating pictures after you take them. So, instead, I do my bracketing of exposures in the field, and work on either getting my backlighting or my color saturation correct by adjusting my shutter speeds or aperture settings.
For example, in the photo immediately above, a jogger has "photobombed" my image. Oh, you can hardly see him--he's some distance off. Even if you click on the image to make the picture larger, you'll barely see him. Yet, it turns out, he's exactly where the famous "rule of thirds" would have you place your point of interest.
I composed the shot and was happy with it, and tripped the shutter. It wasn't until I got home until I figured out what my unconscious already knew: This shot had converging lines, all drawing your eyes to the same distant point.
Right around there, I saw that it was now about 4:30pm, and I needed to turn around if I was to get back by 6pm. About five miles for the day, one I got back. Covered the ground slow, because I took a lot of pictures. And I had a ball, doing it!