I was lucky to get a camp site during the summer in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground. Usually, they are sold out and there is a waiting list, but this time I got there early and got in for a few nights as I explored the area. During the day, I did the usual thing, driving up and down the coast looking for sunsets on the water, water falls in the forest, etc., but at night I stayed in the camp ground.
I’m not to big on staying in state/national park campgrounds because they are noisy, crowded, and usually full of people who have a pretty high sense of entitlement, but in this case it’s the only game within a reasonable driving distance. So, that is where I stayed.
In some ways, I got lucky. The sun was streaming in through the trees and the smoke from the other campers fires and cooking allowed to sun rays to form. I looked up and at first thought there was nothing there to shoot, but I grabbed my camera anyway and looked for the shot. I found that if I zoomed in on the rays and left out most of the rest of the scene, I got something I liked.
When I got home, I kept coming back to it, so I played with it and found that the image grew on me. Here it is.
I wish I could have staged this image, but I didn’t. In 2009, I spent an entire Saturday in Bodie Historical State Park with the sole purpose of photographing the ghost town and documenting the area.
Late in the afternoon, I was walking down the hill to my car to rest and get something to eat and drink. I looked to my left and noticed this two gentlemen dressed in full cowboy clothing sleeping in the shade of one of the small buildings about thirty feet off the main road. They were wearing the whole thing; hats, boots with spurs, Lee jeans, leather belts with big brass buckles, and long sleeve, button down shirts.
They looked just like a scene out of a western movie; laying on the grass, hats over their faces to block out the sun, taking a mid-afternoon nap. I kept looking around for the reason that they were there, expecting to see a movie set or horses or something. I could find nothing, but I was happy with the scene as I shot away trying to get the right composition.
I have several different shots, but I like this one best. The only regret is that the sky is a boring blue. I would have liked to have some dramatic clouds or at least some nice white cumulus clouds, but I haven’t learned how to control the weather yet.
Mission San Antonio de Padua is located north of Paso Robles on the central California coast. To get to it you have to drive through a military base, over a dirt road, and find it in a small valley, but it is worth the trip.
Of all of the California missions I have visited, in my mind it offers the best representation of what life might have been like during it’s day. It isn’t in the middle of a populated area and the small valley that it is in is still fairly natural. Visiting there makes you take a deep breath and slow down.
You are allowed to wander pretty much the whole mission without guidance which allows you to really drink in the ambiance and setting. After a while, you begin to notice the details of the mission.
Mission San Antonio de Padua was established in 1771 by Junipero Serra in the Valley of the Oaks and the mission is still owned and operated by the Diocese of Monterey who hold regular services and sacraments in the chapel and it acts as a current Catholic parish.
I liked the view of the mission and the background of the hills with no view of modern society encroaching into the frame. I like to think that is how the mission looked during it’s prime.