Spring has sprung in Southern California! Yes, SoCal really does have seasons, as mild as they are.
This photographic expedition required a bit more effort, as the location was about 250 miles from my home, and I had to drive across Los Angeles to get there. That is never fun. Ever. I planned my trip to arrive in mid-afternoon to catch the late afternoon sun illuminating the flowers.
The drive took about four and a half hours, but it was well worth it. The blooms covered the hillsides in brilliant oranges, golds, whites, and deep purples in pretty much every direction. The scent from the flowers was sweet and pleasant without being overpowering.
I did have one hiccup, though. When I moved from my first location to go onto the next, my low tire pressure warning came on. My front right tire was down to 24 psi from its normal 37 psi. I inspected the tire and couldn’t find anything causing the leak, but I also knew that I didn’t want to try to have to change a tire on a road with no shoulder, and it was eight miles to the nearest town.
I abandoned my photography and headed to the first gas station that I could find to fill my tire with air. A second inspection of the tire didn’t reveal the cause, but when I went to fill the tire, the valve stem cap was missing. That was unusual because I knew I put it back in place the last time I filled my tires.
I also searched for some tire stores just in case a repair was needed, but it was now approaching 4:30 p.m., and the few that I could find closed at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
After filling my tire back to its normal pressure, I drove another eight or so miles to the tire store, and my tire never lost pressure on that drive. I parked and did a third inspection of the tire with nothing found.
Based on all of my driving and the tire still holding pressure, I decided to head back to the flower fields to get some of the shots that I came for. But, after spending nearly an hour playing with the tire fiasco, I was now up against the clock with only about 45 minutes before sunset. I didn’t have time to mess with the tripod, so everything I took in Round 2 was hand-held and a bit rushed.
I drove the 250 miles back home and the air pressure in my tire never budged. It’s still at the set pressure this morning.
I know this may sound far-fetched, but when I returned to my car at the first location, there was another car with a couple of guys sitting in it, blasting music, parked right next to mine on the passenger side of my car in this very large parking area. Ours were the only two cars there. I can’t help but wonder if one of them took the valve stem cap off and partially deflated my tire as a prank.
Another, more sinister explanation, may be that they had something more devious in mind. Perhaps they parked so close to my car, lowered the tire pressure, and expected me to get out and check on it. If I did, they could hop out of their vehicle and assault or rob me. No one would have been around to stop them, and they know it’s a prime location for photographers with expensive gear.
They and their music got really quiet once I got in my car to drive off.
If you have not been paying attention, there has been a rash of such attacks in the San Francisco area, so be careful out there with your gear and your person. Here’s one example: I was Robbed in San Francisco While the Cameras Rolled.
I hate having to think in those terms. Keep aware of your surroundings and be safe out there!
These photos were taken on 2 March 2022 southeast of Bakersfield, CA.
Enjoy! (Click to enlarge.)