Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A few days off

Running around town on various assignments for the newspaper I see many familiar faces at the many different functions and sporting events that the city has to offer. Sometimes I run into people twice in one day at separate events and a person might say, "hey, you're everywhere!"

Well... sometimes I have to be. Especially in the case of photography. If I miss something, there's no going back. If a fire happens, I can't ask the firefighters to go back later and pose next to the building that burned. If Patterson High beats Central Catholic, I can't go back and ask the quarterback to recreate the game winning touchdown so I can take a picture. When the city maintenance workers cut down the wilted palm trees in the Save Mart parking lot, I couldn't tell them to put them back so I could get some night shots.

You've probably heard this before, but a great deal of capturing an image has to do with being in the right place at the right time (the other main aspect is knowing what to do with your equipment when you get there).

So the more places I can get to, the greater chance I have of finding myself in the right place at the right time.

Needless to say, being on call as the Irrigator's main photographer sometimes takes it's toll on my personal life, and I have to arrange a few consecutive days off to get away and take part in some of the other things that I love so much like... driving, traveling, backpacking and camping, documenting the whole experience along the way through writing and of course through photography.

Ahhhh.... to be free! There's nothing like the feel of the open road in front of you when you have no particular place to go, no particular time to get there, and nobody in particular that you have to meet.

Even during my high school years I can remember getting off of a long day of delivering pizzas at Pizza Plus. With a wad of cash from my tip earnings I would fill up the 22 gallon tank (used to be .99 a gallon) of my 1970 mach I mustang and flip some coins to see if I would be driving north, south, east, or west. Before getting tired and pulling over, I could find myself witnessing the full moon glimmering off of the sheer granite walls and waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, crossing the Golden Gate, or watching the sunrise atop Mt. Hamilton next to the gigantic telescopes of the Lick Observatory.

More recently though, I headed north and found myself in the Oregon Cascades along a fork of the Willamette River just east of Eugene where all of these photos were taken.

I had been in the area a few years back, so I was kind of familiar with the terrain. While looking for a campsite, I met some folks who asked me for a ride a couple miles up the road to where they were staying.

So after making some room in the car we were on our way. I asked them which were the better campsites in the area and they directed me to two separate campsites that bordered a nearby lake. But after giving them a ride they asked if I would rather stay with them at their lakeside campsite tucked away in the woods.

They were good friends with the host of the campsites who originally showed them what I referred to as, their little piece of heaven. Everything was there, food, shelter, beautiful waterfalls, there was even a natural undeveloped hot springs nearby.

They let me stay in their "guest room" (pictured below) which was actually quite comfortable. There I met their resident forest cat named "dice", but they all called it jungle kitty.

Later, sitting around the campfire we all shared stories. I told them about Patterson and some of the big issues going on there, while they told me about growing up on the streets of Eugene and what it was like to have been shot at when being involved around gangs.

They realized that their street life would eventually take its toll on them, so they decided to take the bus one day out of town and into the wilderness surrounding the Willamette River where they were amazed at how nice and giving the people they ran into out there were.

They had been out there for over two weeks now and didn't have any plans on leaving back to Eugene anytime soon.

After a night, I wished them well and was on my way back to Patterson. Not too shabby of a trip for just a weekend.


Lorene said...

Elias, Like I was saying the other lead a very interesting life with a freedom toward time off like I've not seen. Very Nice! See you around town. Lorene

stephanie said...

Hi, Elias. it's your cousin steph. i'm so glad laura uploaded your link to facebook. your pictures are great and your writing is super interesting. i love it! keep it up!