Cajon Outcropping

I’ve been eyeballing this rock outcropping in the Cajon Pass for years when riding by. But that was it. I just rode by.

I kept thinking that there were good photographs to be made, but I was always with my riding group and didn’t want to hang everyone else up by stopping or the weather and lighting conditions were not right. I suspected that the right time of day to photograph the outcroppings was early morning when the more horizontal light would throw shadows and give the rocks the best definition.

On July 4, Mike Harmon and I made a rather impromptu ride on the Angeles Crest Highway to Newcomb’s Ranch and passed by the rock formation twice. When we passed the rocks on the way home, I realized that I should stop thinking about photographing the formations and actually do it.

I started watching the early morning sky with the object of riding to the Cajon Pass when the conditions were right. Unlike longer rides, it wouldn’t take much preparation. Cajon Junction, where Interstate 15 and California Route 138 intersect in the pass between the Angeles and San Bernardino Mountain ranges, is only 34 miles away from my house. I could throw a camera in the saddlebag, put on the appropriate clothes for the season, then be on the road within minutes of determining that the lighting conditions were right.

I figured that it might be a week or even three before I saw the right morning light, but on the second day, July 6, I thought it was worth a try, given the way the sky appeared. It would be a scouting trip. I could make a few test frames and see how they turned out. These photographs are from that morning. I packed one of the Nikon N90s cameras with a 28mm lens and the Lumix G1 digital as a backup. 

I arrived at the formations a few minutes before 7:00 am. When I loaded film into the Nikon, an error message began blinking on the top display. It was a good thing that I took the G1 as a backup. I believe that if I keep watching the sky and arrive a bit closer to sunrise, I’ll eventually be able to catch the formations when the light and shadows are much better. 

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