Lead into the Desert by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

Hello (again) World

I am happy to once again have my computer set up with internet access so that I may be able to share my adventures in photos.  I have moved to the Upper Mojave Desert for a job and am very much enjoying my new home.  It is within a reasonable driving distance to many points of interest, including Death Valley, Alabama Hills, the Eastern Sierra's, White MountainsJoshua Tree, and many ghost towns.  Due to the lack of humidity and pollution out here, you are able to see for very long distances during the day and at night the skies light up with stars instead of city lights.  It has been very refreshing to look up at night and see the awesomeness that surrounds us.  I knew I had missed seeing stars after living in larger cities for so long, but I had forgotten how much it meant to me.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Probably the first thing you will notice about my photos of Red Rock Canyon is that the rocks are not red.  This is due to the fact that these photos were taking with my Infrared modified DSLR and have been processed using alternative methods.

I've modified the way I have been alternative processing my infrared images after upgrading to Photoshop CC for my home computer.  Before I was simply changing the allotted values from 0 to 100, but CC now allows you to go from -200 to +200 for each of the RGB channels.  This really allows you to stretch the channels in your raw file to be able to pull out even more visual separation captured.  The images for Red Rock Canyon with the bright blue skies were processed using the channel mixer and set to:

  • Red: R 0, G 0, B +162
  • Green: R 0, G +95, B 0
  • Blue: R +112, G 0, B -112 

The deeper yellow in the foliage in the canyon is evidence that the water run off is benefiting these shrubs much more than the plants on the ridge which are a lighter yellow.

Barstow & Jawbone

On just about every highway out here you will come across a ghost town from once booming industries that fell into collapse.

Many of the homes from that not too distant past have been picked over by people looking for copper pipes and wire in the walls.

Some homes even have evidence of been set on fire.  I can only speculate if it was the same kind of thing that happened with the housing market crash in 2007.  There were a lot foreclosed properties on the market which were just completely trashed by their previous owners who took out their anger on their lost home.  It also very well could have been the work of random vandalism or drug activity.

Searching... by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

Over the weekend, I went looking for a ghost town in the bay called Drawbridge.  Unfortunately, I decided to approach the terrain from the wrong side and was unable to get there.  However, I think I still got some fun photos of the trail itself.  When I get my cameras back from Life Pixel, I will have to attempt to venture there again.

I've decided that it's time (I've only been talking about it for 5 years) to actually convert my cameras for scientific/analytical purposes.  One will be dedicated to shooting Ultra Violet and the other for Infrared.  There's just so much more than the visible spectrum that we are missing, and it is useful to have these other tools for being able to properly study some things.  My first study will be to help my dad with his archaeology.  He recently discovered some possible Miwok rock art.  We will hike to these locations to see if the images were painted or carved to help determine if they are genuine.  We will also be looking into some of the boulders in the area. They appear to be chipped into and are most likely "pecked boulders."  Using the UV camera, we should be able to see if there is a sudden difference in the two surfaces or if it is even making it actually from naturally occurring erosion.  I will make sure to post my findings, but it probably won't be for a while.  I'm hoping to get my gear back in a couple weeks.

A Beautiful Mess by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

It’s really easy to rush through life without stopping, just doing one thing after another. It’s easy to get in a rut, never ask a question or never wonder ‘why,’ or ‘for what,’ or ‘how come.’ It’s easy to stay busy, keep yourself entertained. It’s easy to miss life and the chance of your life, because you weren’t paying attention... because you didn’t stop, you didn’t bother to look, and you didn’t listen.
— Father John Armstead

I'm not entirely sure what it is that draws me to these places, but for nearly 15 years I've been finding myself with my camera in these weathered, rusted, and dirty buildings.  I'm not trying to make a statement.  I simply find the mess beautiful in a way- which is strange because I'm a person who can't stand clutter.  But there's something different about seeing these old places out in the middle of nowhere.  It's like the building isn't exactly eroding, but growing into the rest of the landscape... it's hard to describe.  Maybe in another 15 years I'll finally figure out what it is about them... but for now, I don't mind stopping to look and listen.