I headed for Palomar
bright and early Saturday morning after making a quick stop at Calumet to pick up a 80-400mm vr lens. I decided on Turn 6
as it met most of my criteria:
- It's a good corner for getting a knee on the tarmac, but fast enough that panning is effective.
- It features an elevation change.
- I could safely stand on both the inside and outside part of the turn.
- It had a ditch on the inside so I could easily hold camera at the same elevation as the road surface.
- There were cliffs above parts of the road that afforded a great straight-down view.
- There was a nearby turnoff to leave my bike and not worry about getting hassled for it.
- It had some shade, and at least enough to protect my staged equipment from the sun.
Bonuses I had not expected:
- The inside shots had plants in the foreground that added a non-intrusive framing, depth of field, and sense of motion for the shots.
- It featured a great view down the canyons showing the road snaking in and out of visibility.
- There was an outside guard rail, I'll spray paint thick vertical stripes on it next time so it doesn't take away from the background blur. Also just kidding on the vandalism.
When I was overcome with thirst and hunger I headed up to Mother's Kitchen. It was on this stretch that I saw a Corvette had clipped a CBR (or so the two-wheelers asserted) and the road was closed to a single lane. Happily, judging by the nonchalantness of the first responders and the superficial damage to the bike, I expect the rider was in better shape than one can expect from a head on - albeit glancing - collision.
Once at the cafe, I chowed down on a very tasty quesadilla and the camel's share of water. I listened to the idle conversation from the abnormally small population of bikers. After snapping a few cultural shots and kicking myself for not deciding on a business card-web site arrangement beforehand, I headed down to find another sniping perch. One of the kids I was following ended up in the dirt a few twists down, but we quickly assessed that he would need little more than a dust off to be back in action. He took the following runs a bit more gingerly, but much respect that he got right back in the saddle.
I waffled a bit on locations and settled on what I like to call Carter Corner. It wasn't nearly as good as my previous spot, but I'm not one to complain (when I don't have anyone to complain to). Motorbike traffic was significantly decreased at this point so there weren't a lot of opportunities to get a good shot
, or even practice.
After an hour or so I reluctantly pulled up stakes and began the journey to La Crescenta.
The Ducati Supersport is not a touring bike
. Hunter Thompson said it and I'm here today to agree with him. Add triple digit heat, leathers, and a backpack full of camera gear and you have a rough journey.
But I arrived safely and paid homage to ice cream and air conditioning. Jes
and I hit up the Americana mall in Glendale. It was pretty snazzy but there wasn't much shopping to be done. We were contemplating riding the trolley SF-style but since the only passengers were seated Jessica
mused, 'They probably don't get a lot of hop-ons.'
I set out for regions unknown the following morning in an attempt to capture the Angeles Crest
scene. I tagged along with a group for twenty miles or so before wondering if they were doing an entire circuit, rather than linear laps like most Paly rides. I settled on a turnout situated on the outside of a high speed corner; as such there was no bothersome guard rail. On account of the vast network of grapevine roads, the prevalence of law enforcement, and the lack of tight turns, there weren't many knees on the ground that day
. Another difficulty stemmed from the fact that approaching four cylinder bikes sound almost identical to the flies which were in no short supply.
Back at the La Canada gas station, I commiserated with some Yam riders and shot the locale, so integral to canyon riding. They voiced their grief that everyone on the hill is so head-tap-happy that the gesture no longer provides useful information. I did notice quite a few false positives on my excursion.
The return through LA was as can be expected, I arrived just in time to go see some loud music at House of Blues.