Southern california nature locations for photo shoot?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by jenna_lee, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I'm looking for fields or meadows with long grass or wildflowers, or just scenic locations for a photo shoot in southern cali. Also, if I drive along route 154, can I park my car and get out to take pictures of my friends?
  2. Cuyamaca State Park < east of San Diego, my favorite place when I lived down there -g-
  3. The best time of year for this type of scenic and wild flower photography is February March when there is a spring bloom. Anza Borrego comes to mind and the first five miles of the drive coming out of the mountains on the way to Anza Borrego from Julian on state 78 has a green meadowy feel to it. I agree that Cuyamaca State Park is a good place. The desert in the morning and evening is always a good location. If you are going it alone be aware that this is mountain lion country. Good hunting. Andy
  4. Highway 154 has a lot of interesting points and view areas. I'd suggest that taking Stagecoach Road (found more easily at the "south" end as you leave Santa Barbara and cross over the ridge into the Santa Ynez valley) under the bridge can offer some interesting views of the bridge. Some of the other side roads in that area get you into the oak forest some. As I recall, there are numerous reasonably roomy turnouts and and the only place where parking is restricted (besides the usual issues of space and safety) is near the entrance to the lake - they restrict parking outside of the park to cut down on people crossing the road, congesting the limited space and avoiding the fees at the park.
    This time of year it's pretty dry and the "grass" is mostly dead. It's been a while since driving through that area and there wasn't much in the way of wildflowers compared to prime spring conditions. Some of the area is private and fenced, especially outside of the forest as you get farther into the valley. There are numerous cattle ranches and vineyards. I'm not sure how tolerant the various owners would be of crossing the fences.
    If you leave 154 and drive 246 west to Santa Ynez and Solvang, at Solvang you can take the Alisal Road through the Nojoqui area to the 101 near Gaviota Pass. There's probably very litle, if any, water in the Nojoqui Falls now but it's also scenic through farm and ranch lands and the oak forests with arching canopies and spanish moss in places.
  5. You might check to see if there still is a Cuyamaca State Park. I heard recently that it was on the list of state parks to be closed due to the budget crisis. Anyway, Mount Laguna is another good choice (take Sunrise Highway north from I-8 in Pine Valley). There are some spectacular desert views from there, to the Salton Sea and beyond on a clear day.
    Actually, you can continue north on Sunrise to where it ends at SR 79 in Cuyamaca State Park. Go north on 79 to Julian and stop for some of the best apple pie in the world......
  6. Jenna,
    it's end of July now - So California is a desert. It's a tall order in a state where we're now under heavy restrictions of watering due to drought. Mandatory water conservation......
    I've not seen anything like that since March.
  7. There is a very informative website that is dedicated to nature photographers looking for wildflowers. What's cool about this site is sometimes you can get a daily insight of exact locations for spring wildflowers. I think it reaches mainly the southern part of California, from Death Valley all the way down to San Diego. Watching this site will let you know how to plan your trips, knowing where to go instead of taking a gamble. Sometimes wildflowers peak within just a few days to a week.
  8. Here is another CA wildflower site, and one that I use-->
    I agree with the others that at this time of year it is difficult to find good fields of flowers. But if you go high enough up some of the taller mountains you may find some nice blooming near any running water. For example, you could try San Gorgonio which will have nice flowers and other plants (eg. manzanita), but a lot of hiking is required. It's worth it IMHO.
    San Gorgonio is really the only thing of its kind in So Cal. At this time of year you might consider going up the 395. So cal is now into haze season (followed by smog season).
  9. Oh btw--the 154 is not in So Cal. That's Santa Barbara, which is Central Cal.
  10. I have trouble considering anything south of Gorman as being central California. Marginally central coast when it comes to barbecue maybe.
  11. Where are you located? That could help steer you to someplace near you.
    A couple of places with meadows and Oak grasslands that I know about:
    Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Reserve. It's huge, but there are meadows and Oak grasslands right near the entrance. It's near Murrieta. Take I-15 to Clinton Keith Road. Go south on Clinton Keith and you can't miss it on your left.
    Off Ortega Highway (Hwy 74) between Capistrano and Lake Elsinore, is Main Divide Road. It's often referred to locally as Killen Trail. It's on the ridge crest above Lake Elsinore. Coming from Capistrano take Main Divide Road South (that's to your right). First will be some pines, then all chaparrall. Stay on that road for a while and you will start to see large areas of grassland and some scrub oak.
  12. Chip- don't forget Mt. San Jacinto, across the pass from San Gorgonio. It's 10,834 feet, IIRC, so only about 665 feet shorter than San Gorgonio. By taking the Palm Springs Tram to about 8,500 feet, it's a short hike to Long Valley. A couple miles fairly easy hike is Round Valley. And up near the the peak earlier in the year, are some gorgeous floral displays.
    And on the other side of the mountain is Garner Valley, which has some gorgeous scenery: conifers, pastureland, grassland, with a mountain backdrop. It's the other end of Hwy. 74 from what I mentioned in my previous post.
    74 stretches from San Juan Capistrano to Palm Desert and is beautiful at either end but ugly in the middle.

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