This one was made on the morning of January 9, 2013, at Anza Narrows. The “surprise” was the presence of another photographer. I’ve always had the place to myself early in the morning. On occasion, I’ve gone to Anza Narrows with other photographers that I know, like Tim Devantier and Mike Harmon, but never in the early morning.
Because the park is quite erratic about when it opens the automobile gates, I always ride the motorcycle. If the auto gates are closed, I can ride through the always-open pedestrian gate. That morning the auto gates were open and I followed an auto to my preferred parking lot. The car’s driver was a few seconds ahead of me, pulling out his camera and tripod, then walking toward the hill with the long two hundred and twenty degree view of the surrounding mountains and valley, while I removed my helmet, shut off the bike’s engine, and pulled the camera and tripod out of the saddlebags.
I set up in a spot to his right where I’d be out of his frame, shot a few frames, then walked around in a long arc behind him to make the frame above. Staying out of his frame wasn’t a big adjustment, but I wasn’t used to it. I liked the way the frame above came out, though. Muted colors and layers of scenery; trees in the Santa Ana River bottom, the buildings in downtown Riverside, ridges ringing the valley, and Mount San Gorgonio in the far distance.
I used the Panasonic Lumix G1 and my Manfrotto 785B tripod.