ImageQuest - The Backroads of Southern California

Apr 8-10, 2005

Our base of operations was the oil town of Taft, in the foothills of the Coast Range at the southern end of the Central Valley. Our subjects were hills of wildflowers, relics of the old boomtown years of Taft as the oil center of California 100 years ago, wild tule elk, and the big sky country of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Dave Wyman led the group of 11 on our adventures. I was able to stay with the group from Friday afternoon till late Saturday at Carrizo Plain before continuing on to Kent & Barb's spring dining adventure at their cabin on Arrastre Creek outside Acton, and observing a double header of asteroid occultations in the pre-dawn of Sunday. Weather provided some dramatic scenes, especially Friday, as a storm came through with just the right mixture of rain, sun, winds, and rainbows.

Morning storm clouds over the Central Valley... Tule Elk State Reserve

Reflections in a pond

A lazy stream catches rays from the rising sun

Dave frames his shot as a herd of elk graze

Pond and gnarled old tree

Sprinkles bead on native rye on Hwy 58 approaching Carrizo Plain

Pronghorn antelope circle us warily as we enter Carrizo Plain National Monument

Carrizo Plain reminds me of Montana's Big Sky country

The dark Caliente Mountains backdrop Soda Lake

Tiny yellow flowers carpet the border of Soda Lake

Waiting for the perfect lighting

Dave in a field of lupine

Color and clouds

The Temblor Range and naturally spotlighted flower fields

Soda Lake reclaims a fence from pioneer days