Sunrise at Pinnacles National Monument
A Sunrise at Pinnacles National Monument – California, USA
Mamiya RZ67 Pro ll medium format camera, Mamiya 180mm f/4.5 lens, Fujichrome Velvia 50 120 transparency film scanned on Heidelberg Saphir drum scanner, Manrotto 3265 tripod, Manfrotto 3047 studio head.
I was driving back from a Headhunters concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, complements of my good friend and funk monster, Jerry Stucker, and decided to take Highway 101 South. I saw a sign for Pinnacles National Monument, which I had never heard of, so couldn’t resist veering off on the two lane, winding back road. I reached the monument around dusk just as some tourists were coming in off the trails. I talked to a few of them and they all said they couldn’t understand why Pinnacles had monument status when there was nothing there to see. I had to admit that there was nothing there other than a small rangers station and a porta potty.
After car camping for the night, I headed out with a flashlight before daybreak. At about mile 1 on the trail, the landscape became quite dramatic. I reached a bowl at day break. As the sun came over the horizon, it shined on the interior of the bowl, like a spot light with an orange gel, leaving everything else in the dark. It was one of those moments one never forgets. It was too late to get my camera out so I found the best vantage point, gathered some rocks and made a cairn. I hiked the day away and then returned to the cairn, set up the camera and tripod, covered it with a cloth and camped right there. The next morning the sunrise repeated it’s performance and I tripped the shutter.
Moral of the story: If you visit Pinnacles National Monument, give it more than a hundred yards on the trail before turning back! I’m sure that’s what happened to the tourists I ran into the previous day.