Even though this rocky bluff with a lone pine tree growing out of it is a landmark in the foothill town of Valley Springs, CA, there are not many photographs of it that I could find online. What is striking about “Castle Rock” is that this outcrop appears out of nowhere along the rolling oak hills. Located on the Pattee Ranch, it is clearly identifiable to travelers along Hwy 12 / Hwy 26. In fact, while trying to research the origins of the Castle Rock name, which is now a name for both a residential development and a trailer park nearby, I located a very boring and meticulous Masters thesis on the geologic makeup of this and surrounding areas written in 1979.
Anyhow, I had specifically gone out this particular afternoon to hopefully catch the light of sunset on the storm clouds with Castle Rock as the foreground feature. Unfortunately, as the sun neared the horizon, additional storm clouds blocked the golden hour light. So the clouds picked up a little color as the light faded and then nothing.
While not clearly visible in this photograph, sometime in the year or two before I took this photograph, someone had painted a bright yellow happy face in the lower left of the rock formation. So what could potentially could be an iconic composition for future photographs will now be marred by graffiti.
EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/50 sec, f/5.6
Castle Rock, Oak Trees, Storm Clouds. Valley Springs, California. November 21, 2010. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.