Footloose from Santa Barbara to Manzanar to San Jose - a visual diary
27 Mar 2010
From February 25 to March 8 I had the good fortune of taking a road trip through some of the most photogenic parts of California.
Having been born and raised in Europe, the idea of road trips has always fascinated me as a uniquely American phenomenon, and a powerful way for foreign-born people like me to connect to the land and the culture with the help of their camera. That tradition dates back, of course, at least as far back as my compatriot Robert Frank whose "The Americans" is probably the iconic body of photographic work from an American road trip.
The superb images of British-born photographer Simon Kossoff taken during his own road trips through the American heartland, prodded me further to just do it.
I selected the destination point - the Eastern Sierras - because of the wonderful images of that region taken by another great photographer who shows work on JPG, Chris Whitney, and his description of "the ideal photo trip". Chris was kind enough to also provide much valuable advice about getting there, where to stay and eat, and what to shoot. Thank you Chris!
This is a selection of some of my favorite images among those I took each day as a visual diary. Some were posted from my laptop during the trip (Road Markers) and some on my return (Afterthoughts). All were shot with a Panasonic LX3 in square format, and geo-tagged using a Jobo GPS unit.
A separate body of images focusing entirely on landscapes, and shot with a Canon 40D is posted on Aamora.
Equipment used on this trip: Panasonic Lumix LX3, Canon 40D with Sigma 18 -200 lens, Jobo Photo GPS, Kodak B/W one-time-use cameras. Processing: MacBook Air, Adobe Lightroom Beta 3.2, Photoshop CS3
Itinerary: I started from Santa Barbara, where I was visiting my son who attends college there. From Santa Barbara I drove South on Highway 101 to Ventura, then East on Hwy 126 to Highway 5, and North from there to Bakersfield. At Bakersfield, I started heading off the main thoroughfares, taking route 178 along the Kern River valley, and stopping for the night in the (very) small town of Mountain Mesa, on the shores of Lake Isabella. The next day I continued on 178 through some of the most varied and spectacular landscapes I have ever seen, crossing Walker pass and reaching Highway 395, where I headed North to Lone Pine. I spent close to 3 days in Lone Pine photographing the town, the amazing Alabama Hills area on its outskirts, and going as far North as the site of the WWII Japanese internment camp of Manzanar. My return route took me back to Santa Barbara, stopping for the night in the town of Mojave. Another night in Santa Barbara, then up the coast on Highway 1 through the town of Cayucos, then East on Highway 46 and back home to the SF Bay Area through San Miguel and the agricultural towns that line the 101.