Big Basin SP

March 2005

At the beginning of March, one of my good backpacking buddies called me up, determined I had nothing better to do, and talked me into a fun-filled weekend in Los Gatos and Big Basin SP. I've lived in California for a number of years now and have not spent large amounts of time amongst the redwoods. I'd driven through the forests on the penninsula before and had been itching to viist them ever since. This would be my first of many. The first evening we tooled around some of the mountains outside of Los Gatos. I had thought that Santa Barbara was spoiled previously, but I was wrong: the mountains ouside of Los Gatos are a glimpse into the past. I had read stories of the area around San Francisco from the late 1800s describing the mountains and the meadows and the preserves around Los Gatos convey that to a T. I hope they can remain that beautiful for decades to come.

Our second day hike was through Big Basin SP. I had driven through redwood groves on the penninsula before, but this hike was one of my first long exposures to the coastal redwood ranges of Southern California. They truly are as magnificent as the north and beg one to wonder at how little of the grandeur of this coast has really been preserved. I only got to do a short bit of hiking here, but I suspect I'll be back to Big Basin and its glorious redwoods for ages to come.

The Photographs

Being a weekend of adventure, I figured I'd start off my trek with a roll of Ektachrome EIR Color Infrared. I was trying a new ISO setting and my experimentation shows. The bright sunlight of the creek outside of Los Gatos seems to have been quite successful. The dark interiors of the coastal forest in the second set, however, seem to have lost the detail I wanted. I suspect that in the interior of the darker forest the intensity of the infrared light was much higher than visible light, resulting in the mostly reddish-cast B&W style photos. All is good, howver, as I hoped this weekend would be a learninng experience for me.

The second roll of film is one of my beloved Kodachrome PKL 200 rolls. Only recently had I heard of its discontinuance (Calumet on Wed. 4/6/05; Kodak still claims it's not discontinued although no onlnie catalog lists it as available and even warehouse dealers have stopped selling this film in batches of 20, the minimum order from Kodak). With a heavy heart I lamented the end of that glorious balance of sharpness and grain. I found one last store that may have some in stock. I just hope my days of shooting a 200 speed film with the same color balance of PKM is not over.

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