Monday, December 8, 2008
wonder wall behind cal state san bernardino
this set of photos was a long time in the making! for probably 3 years i wanted to get back behind cal state san bernardino to take these shots. usually when i'm out on a run or ride i discover new and interesting things to use as subjects for shoots, and this was very intriguing to me. behind cal state is an enormous flood basin designed to catch storm floods before they reach residential areas. approximately 500' to one side of this wall is the beginning of the san bernardino national forest, and 500' to the other side is about a 75' high concrete barrier/levee with various flood containment devices that look like they were installed back in the 60's. access to this area is very limited due to the mountains, the high walls, and the terrain itself. adding to the peculiar environment is an old house standing only as brick walls that was burned out by previous fires. this area in the foothills is a fire zone where building has not been permitted for many years, nor would anyone want to build there due to the limited access and sense of isolation. navigating the terrain is like walking through the dry sand on a beach for close to a mile. the walls create a guantlet-esque voyage from the main campus to this area with the intention of preventing trespassers (and photographers :) from entering without a good purpose. i found this area when we first moved to san bernardino, but never had the time, day light, or opportunity to get back there to take some shots. i finally decided one day that i was alone with the girls that it would be a perfect time to take shots of one or many of the large rusty walls of corregated steel, probably constructed as a kind of wave supressant for any large floods decending the mountainside. jules was at work for the majority of the day, so i packed up both the girls in the bike trailer, the camera equipment, some sippie cups, the big glass head i've used in several abstract shoots, and my running shoes and we were off! only until i got to the concrete levee did i realize what a mistake that was. trying to push the girls with the camera and the bike trailer ended up being a lot heavier than i thought, especially in deep sand. the trailer has a tiny front tire that kept digging into the sand, it weighed about 100 lbs total with the girls in it, the wind was picking up, it was 90 degrees, AND just getting to the wall was a 3 mile trek one way. the return run home was harder than the run there because now i was heading uphill to get back. the girls were getting impatient, hot, tired, hungry, and missing their mom too. it was without a doubt the hardest shortest run i've ever done, but i'm happy with how the photos turned out which made the trip worth it. i would've gone back to do some night shots another day if it wasn't for the difficult trip. at night it can become a snake and coyote-fest behind cal state as i've been followed by coyotes in the past, only on my turf on the developed side of the wall. who know what could happen at night on the other side of the levee between wildlife and criminals.