Saturday, October 25, 2008

Little Lake Valley in Autumn Afternoon Sunwash


With the west side of the valley being too dark too soon, I set out for the east side immediately after work a couple of days ago, to try to capture images of autumn in our native vegetation. Hearst-Willits Road is the old route over the ridges to the east of town, leading to the site of the village once called Hearst on a fork of the Eel River. The initial climb out of Little Lake Valley is steep, winding, and fairly narrow. It's paved, but not quite wide enough to designate two sides of traffic with a line down the middle. A few feet of dirt turn-out space, whenever available, supplements the roadbed for getting past opposing vehicles.

Climbing the hill, I squeezed my little truck into these scant margins whenever a potential photo subject caught my eye. I would set my parking brake, get out, and keep an ear open for motors coming near. It was "rush hour", so about seven or eight cars passed in the course of a half hour. At least five of the drivers asked me if I was "okay" as they slowly rolled by. It was so sweet, because whether I was still sitting in the truck, standing beside it, or wandering down or across the road from it, they checked with me through their open windows, without quite stopping, in case I had engine trouble, or was looking for something that bounced out, or was about to leap off the road cut. They were willing to offer aid. Okay, one of them knew me by name, so I'd have been hurt if Ralph hadn't asked. And I think the two that didn't say anything probably spotted my little camera in hand first. It was reassuring and heartwarming all in all. Or maybe it's a sign my truck looks like it's ready to fall apart.

This backlit view of the valley shows the autumn color of the local ash and oak trees lining the pasture lands and hay fields of the valley floor, as the sun just starts to sink behind the western ridge line. In the lower right, a herd of deer munch on some tender new grass.

18 comments:

Dina said...

Wowee, this is like a painting!!
Gorgeous, moody, soft. And deer even!
Good of you to go there and get pictures to share. Good of the drivers to care about you.

Bibi said...

Can't say anything else but echo Dina's comments I love backlighting, and this is a wonderful example.

Jilly said...

The light across the valley is just gorgeous.

Abraham Lincoln said...

This scene looks almost Biblical.

I am 74 years old -- today is my birthday.

Hilda said...

Oh Elaine, this is both so beautiful and so peaceful! Soothing to a troubled soul — which I am right now after the news you posted about Turkey and what Abe wrote (and on his birthday too!). Thank you.

Amy Wachspress said...

Beautiful Elaine! Thanks for sharing.

Willits Kathy said...

I love this view of the valley.

Laurie said...

Good heavens, hang this in the Museum of Contemporary Art and charge admission! Both Rothko AND TUrner would be gnashing teeth in a jealous fit over this shot.

Wow, do I love this.

Kris said...

That is a great shot. Very much like a modern day impressionist painting.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Most excellent!

Well done!

USelaine said...

Dina - Thank you. They may have thought I was nuts to stop the truck on such a steep road, so they were extra brave to inquire.

Bibi - It actually annoyed me when I first looked at the situation, but I decided to take a chance.

Jilly - Thank you.

Abraham - Coming from someone named Abraham, that certainly means something!

Hilda - Thank you. I'm disturbed about the Turkish state blog censorship as well. It astonishes me that even Boing Boing hasn't reported it.

Amy - Thank you. This is what you missed when you decided not to move to Willits. 6^)

Willits Kathy - You know how it is to live here. We are spoiled.

Laurie - I am always pleased to please you. Your photos are consistently modern in their artistry.

Kris - Thank you. When I saw it on my computer, I thought of Wayne Thiebaud, who painted the Sacramento Valley, among other things.

Ron - Thank you. That is high praise coming from one who produces all those elegant dawn and dusk shots of Fort Bragg.

Thank you everyone!

Kim said...

This is so lobely. That diagnal line (fence) that cuts through the right of the frame across all those horizontal rooms of trees just pulled my eye through the whole photo. Kinda biblical, like Abe mentioned, perhaps in the sense that it could be dawn as well as dusk.

I was touched by your recounting all the folks who checked on you as they went past. I love hearing about the kinder side of society coming through. I hope you enjoyed that view as much as me!
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

Benjamin Madison said...

Beautiful photo!

USelaine said...

Here's one that's similar, and shows how realistic Thiebaud's "abstract" style really is.

USelaine said...

Kim - I did enjoy it. And I am moved by kindness as well. But if I had started crying over the first or second compassionate inquiry, the additional people might have felt compelled to stop, and that would have been thoroughly embarrassing.

Benjamin - Thank you! It's almost like those walls I've done. 6^)

Susie of Arabia said...

An amazing photo - absolutely gorgeous, tranquil and lovely.

Petrea said...

This is one of the most beautiful photos you've posted, yet so different from your usual beauties! Something new. It's grand in the true sense of the word.

Kelly said...

Beautiful shot, Elaine!