Back Where We Belong

SONY ILCE-6000 (18mm, f/9, 1/200 sec, ISO100)

We all belong somewhere. Usually it’s the place where we are born. But strangely there are also far away places that gives us this feeling.

The South West of the USA, or more specifically the deserts of the South West are such a place for us. When I was young I mostly traveled to Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia and much later to the Western part of Canada.

There is one thing all of those places have in common. They are a little cooler and sometimes even cold and wet. Summer vacations where I brought warm pullovers and jackets were a normal thing to me. I even convinced my wife that those places are the best.

SONY ILCE-6000 (18mm, f/7.1, 1/100 sec, ISO100)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO1000)

But than something happened. In 2010 we traveled the South West in a monstrous RV. We covered 5.500 km in three weeks. It was hot and sometimes even hotter. Most of the time there was not a single cloud in the sky. There was desert and empty space. It didn’t wear socks for three weeks. It was fantastic. We were hooked.

We drove through California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. We tried to cover as many of the main attractions as possible. It took us a time and a couple of trips to realise what we liked most: The empty space, the desert.

Finally this is what the South West of the USA and Scotland, Scandinavia, Canada and to a certain extend Ireland have in common. All those are sparsely populated places. There is a lot of empty space. A lot of room to roam around.

Wait there is another thing: Coffee is awful here specially if the only option is a restaurant that has a wooden cabin as a kitchen. But it was a long ride and I had no choice.

FUJIFILM X-T1 (128mm, f/4.4, 1/2900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (67.1mm, f/9, 1/280 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (77.9mm, f/9, 1/900 sec, ISO200)

But finally we arrived in Lone Pine. A small town in the middle of nowhere but of a place of significance. I’m not talking about the famous Owens valley here. A once green heaven, a literally oasis in the desert. Only of course until Mr. Mulholland decided that the water might be more useful 300km further down the road where another small but fast growing town needed water. That town is Los Angeles and of course it completely drained Owens Valley in the last 100 years.

But it gave Lone Pine something back in return. The movie industry loves the place. You might not know the town Lone Pine but I’m confident that you have watched some of the movies listed HERE.

FUJIFILM X-T1 (55mm, f/9, 1/450 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (86mm, f/9, 1/550 sec, ISO200)

And it’s easy to understand why Hollywood loves the place. A high valley right in between the snow covered mountains of the Eastern Sierra including the Mount Withney (4.418 meter, highest mountain of the USA outside of Alaska) and the Inyo Mountains that also go up to over 3.000 meters. This is a magical place.

But most people know it as the entry gate to the Death Valley NP. From here it’s just an one hour drive to the Death Valley. In case you stay here for the night you should set your alarm clock early especially if it’s summer. It would be a shame to miss the sunrise when you enter Death Valley.

FUJIFILM X-T1 (81.9mm, f/10, 1/340 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (104.9mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO200)

Usually we come here in the evening and leave early morning. Beside a short walk through the lovely city we have not managed to explore the place. But this year it was different. We came from the South because we visited the Sequoia NP the day before so we arrived earlier.

After we collected our room key we went for a ride. But this is another blog entry.

FUJIFILM X-T1 (121.8mm, f/9, 1/550 sec, ISO200)