Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Break - Candids

So for Spring Break '09 we decided to head out to California and play along the coastline. We headed out very early Wednesday morning. We spent the majority of the day either driving or at one rest stop or another. The first few images were taken at these stops including the Bonneville Salt Flats and of course In-n-Out. (Why people insist on stopping there I will never know. I definitely hope its not for the quality or taste of the food and I can't see it being for the environment either. One of the great mysteries of life I suppose.)

Mary Beth felt the need to get us attired appropriately for driving by San Francisco and Dave obliged. (Maybe a bit to obliging I think.)

I decided that these were the two most random signs I saw along the way. I seriously want to have sat in on the government meeting where they thought it was necessary to put Mexico on the official coastal trails signage. In San Diego maybe, but in San Francisco that is just awesome.

And of course this made me feel safe.

The first planned activity was to go visit Kim Weston who is the grandson of Edward Weston and currently lives on Edwards property. We stopped for sunrise at Monastery Beach and after that went further south to check out the calla lillies. Then we headed back to meet with Kim.

The old house and darkroom were still there and we got to go through and take a relaxed tour while Kim showed us a lot of the small hidden treasures in the house. It was surprising how simple and unpretentious Edwards life was. It was simply a one room house with the darkroom at the end. They added on a bedroom later in Edwards life when he contracted Parkinson's disease. We get this delusional stereotype of what artists are and how they act and even though Edward may have been one of the greatest photographers to have ever lived it was refreshing to see that it is not necessary to buy into the hype of elitism and intellectual grandeur that pervades academic and gallery art now. One of my photographic idols lived the simplest of lives and we are all blessed for how it taught him to see.

This is where Edward printed. His "enlarger" was simply a lightbulb that he controlled the exposure by changing the wattage and raising and lowering the bulb. Edwards images were shot on large format cameras and then contact printed. You can see a duplicate negative of pepper #30 in the background. This is one of his most influential and well recognized images. The duplicate negative would be the same size as the original negative. You can see Pepper #30 by clicking here.

This is Edwards desk that he would have wrote his famous daybooks at early each morning. Of course this may have been after he did some printing starting at around 3 am which he had to do since his darkroom leaked light so badly.

Kim then took us into his studio and showed us a number of Edward's and his own prints.

It was a wonderful visit and I would like to graciously thank Kim and his wife Gina for there hospitality and generosity in spending some of there day with us. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope all the students did as well.

Then on to San Francisco. We tried to keep the trip cheap and our hotel here confirmed it. Right after we checked in 6 or 7 policeman came to haul a guy out of a room on a stretcher that was right by ours. The next morning 6 or 7 more policeman showed up to arrest someone for parole violation in the next room over. For the photographic end of things we went out to Baker Beach for a beautiful fogged in morning by the Golden Gate Bridge. It seemed to be the one area that provided the most technical difficulties (myself included). I keep hearing stories of what someone did to tweak there film.

In my new-found desire to provide pictorial evidence that I physically go to all the places that my camera does I present my newest self-portrait. People are going to start to think I look perpetually tired since I keep photographing myself at sunrise.

Driving the famed Lombard street.

We made it up to Trinadad and Eureka and photographed down at the ocean that night. For sunrise we headed into the redwoods. We had no specific location in mind so I randomly pulled off into a grove. Brandon suggested that we should head back one spot to Lady Bird Johnson Grove. We failed to mention this to one car. As we headed out to the road to go back that car lagged behind and didn't see that we had turned left. We realized this shortly after arriving at the new grove. I immediately back tracked to see if we could find the lost car. With no luck at tracking them down we finally decided to photograph. To my chagrin I realized my large format camera was residing in the back of the lost car. We left voice mail messages and text messages and decided waiting was doing no good. I took my digital camera and wandered into the woods. By shear luck we finally tracked down the lost car about four hours later in Orick where we had stopped for brunch. The great irony of this story is the turnout we lost the car at was named Lost Man Creek.

The rest of the day we had to deal with a torrential downpour. We braved the elements and stopped at Patricks Point which I will put on my to do again some day when it is not raining list.

My candids stopped at this point. We drove around entertaining ourselves while we hoped for the rain to clear. We drove down to Ferndale which is a beautiful old Victorian town that has been used in movies such as The Majestic. We finally gave up on being able to photograph due to the rain and decided to start heading home. To mock our decision the rain finally abated and we decided to go back to Trinadad beach to discover the shoreline that we missed the first night. This was easily the photographic highlight of the trip for me. The previous post had pictures from this night. It is crazy to think how close we came to not stopping.

The marathon drive that I mentioned came about due to the storm that had been hitting us all day long. The pass we planned on going over had been hit by about two feet of snow and and we decided to head south to Sacremento that night. This decision was made at dinner and we did not get out of Eureka until 8 pm. We did not make it to Sacremento. We drove until about two-thirty and finally called it quits. When we woke up in the morning we checked out Donners Pass to discover that it recieved about one foot of snow and were discouraging all travel. So we ended up taking the logical route from northern California through Bakersfield and Las Vegas. We started out at nine in the morning and did not reach the Utah Valley University parking lot until 3 am.

A great adventure that I think converted everyone to embrace the miracle of flight. It was alot of fun and whenever some good photographs are produced then I think it is a trip well worth it.

P.S. If you ever have to stop in Tehachapi, CA to go to the bathroom, budget in some extra time. Or find a better gas station than we did.


Kayli said...

I appreciated this post. Especially the P.S.

P.S. How long were we waiting for that bathroom??

Leslie said...

I don't really get the In-n-Out thing either.

Amber said...

I wish I could've gone... I know some rad photo spots around those parts.

© 2012 Travis Lovell Photography - All Rights Reserved