Tuesday, January 24

Upper Oso Camping - Round One


Bounding through a new wilderness, or at least new to our eyes, ears, & feet we were in total awe of our first trek into the Los Padres National Forest, specifically the Upper Oso area.

Having camped in Los Padres before, but some 60 miles in a different direction, the scenery was quite different. If you look at a map of the Los Padres forest you will see that is covers from north Los Angeles all the way up to the Big Sur region, leaving plenty of room for exploring.

Camping at Upper Oso there are several hiking options. The pictures in this post are from the Santa Cruz trail & only from the first few miles of the twenty some it reaches east into the park.

The above photo was my favorite captured on the trip. The light coming through the canyon as the sun was setting was magical. The creek was dotted with yellow changing leaves where a real dynamic with all the green tree tops interplay through out the entire hike. The green trees in the background really pop getting the full setting sunlight.

Cheers to Carlos for capturing the best photo of me on a trip yet. I must say I don't end up in many of the photos, but I feel my presence is in the framing.

The above photo is another experiment in my learning about star photography. I will try to find the data on this one, but I know we are looking at over forty minutes of exposure, pointed towards the southern sky. The photo has the orange glow I believe b/c the Santa Barbara city lights are about four mountain ridges back in that direction.

This trip saw our coldest temperatures yet, hitting in the high twenties on the second night. The photo below is a fun shot of Carlos & I wearing headlamps, treakking back and forth to his car to put away things for the night.

Upper Oso Camping - Round Two


Not even a month had passed and we found ourselves back at Upper Oso Campground in the Santa Ynez Valley. Out again for a soul quenching "appetizer" trip for one night.

The first set of photos in the post are from the Aliso Canyon Loop. A medium jaunt I particularly like through all different types of hiking elements. Taking the connecting trail from our campground we were looking at a little over four miles.

You can see in the photos we encountered ridge lines, forested glens, canyon creek, grassy meadows & Native American knowledge to boot. Mugwart (poison ivy solution) & the new edible spearmint plant are the two coolest new tips.

With winter in full effect for a few months now, the landscape still hinted at green in many places, but the overall tone of the land was an off brown that was laden with chaparral.

Afternoon led to evening, often as it does, we all set into different camp site roles. Some chopping wood, others setting up dinner elements, while another got the fire started.

We have grown accustomed to only leaving the fire warmth for minutes at a time. This is a definite sign that you are amongst the winter months b/c there is no time for careless card games at the table by the lantern.

As the hours pass & conversation of the next meal & the next weekend anyone is free flows into the night, I have been slowly working on developing my long exposure & time lapse photography skills. Fortunately enough, I can step away from the fire for a few minutes to set up a picture then come back it's warmth while the seconds tick by, slowly capturing the night sky.

In the photo above, there was a consensus from the four campers that we had caught something special on film. When you click to enlarge, look in the upper right side, these appear to be two brilliantly blue shooting stars.

This photo above was my personal favorite of the trip, due to it's careful planning & execution.  This photo was taken for thirty seven & a half minutes, looking roughly towards the north. You can see the star trails swirling in the night sky. The foreground was painted with small portions of fire light & a while headlamp for a few seconds at a time.

The above photo is a very "noise" capture of the night sky with a heavy saturation added to it to bring out the different stars. The yellow light is a particularly bright shooting star.

The last of the night time photos before bed. Here is a thirty second exposure of the north sky, lightly painted with a headlamp in the foreground.

The night led to morning, as it often does, seeing the temps dipper to 32 degrees. Above we see Collin making first efforts at a fire & a start to the day. Close behind him, below, we see Carlos & our newly criscend mountain woman, Stephanie, rising from their slumber.

Sunday, January 1

Chilao Camping - October 2010


 For some reason there was an amazing one night trip that slipped through the cracks & must be written about. This outing was taken in the middle of October when the weather in Los Angeles was still hinting at Summer heat & chill in the evening night.

With a few new friends along for the trip, we set up along the ridge within the Chilao Camping area. Part of a western upper loop, but the campground reached up to a beautiful plateau view that attracts all the campers at sunset.

A good afternoon traverse, off trail with some interesting navigation routes, that all led to a good time. Lunch spot on a fallen tree below, looking out over the plateau. 

 Finishing out the day with a hearty dinner & some great beers looking out over the below valley. The San Gabriel's have been providing some excellent adventures this past year.

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings." ~Victor Hugo

"But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: "Home is home, be it never so homely."  ~Henry David Thoreau