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Old 02-19-2006, 03:07 PM   #1
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Impromptu Photo Rallies in CA: A planning template

Now that there has been conversation about creating impromptu rallies around common interests (see the "affinity group" proposal at, it's probably time to put more concrete proposals on the table in the spirit of generating more focused discussion and creating specific plans.

Here's a start built around photography as a principal focus (pun intended) and flyfishing and hiking as secondary courses (also puns, but admittedly weak).

Also, I'm going to start with places in California and a format that we might use to put more substance in the plans. I'll use Lassen Volcanic National Park as a template.

Location: Lassen Volcanic National Park, about 50 miles east of Redding, California, via Highway 44.
Campground (1st choice): Manzanita Lake just inside the north entrance to the park. Elevation 5900 feet. About 180 spaces for trailers up to 35 feet, piped water but no hookups, dump station. Pricing $16 per night, reservations needed in the loop closest to the lake but otherwise first come, first served.
Campground (2nd choice): Crags about 5 miles south of Manzanita Lake. Elevation 5700 feet. Sites number 45 with no reservations, hookups, or dump station. $12 fee per day.
Best Approach: From the west and north where the grades are more gentle. Access from the southern entrance should be avoided because of the extremely steep grades and the likelihood of closure in the early season.
Best Season: July thru September due to snow that starts early and stays late at this high elevation.
Attractions: All four types of volcanic formations, bubbly mud ponds, mountain lakes, nice vistas, painted desert-like dunes, wildflowers, late season snow cover, fishing, vistas including the top of Mt. Lassen
Hiking Trails: Lassen Peak 10457 feet starting at about 8500 feet. Bumpass Hell trail. Lake trails including Manzanita, Reflection, Summit, Echo, Helen, and Emerald.
Nearby Attractions: Mt. Shasta; McArthur-Burney Falls, Castle Crags State Park; Sacramento, McCloud, Fall, and Pit Rivers and Hat Creek.
Map Online:

Can we now build a catalog of other attractive photography locations in California with a similar template? Other places might include:

Yosemite National Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Redwood National Park/Avenue of the Giants
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Mammoth Lake/Devils Postpile/June Lake/Mono Lake/Bodie in the Eastern Sierra
Napa, Sonoma, Alexander, and Dry Creek Valleys
Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Point Reyes National Seashore/Muir Woods
Big Sur coastline/Point Lobos State Park/Carmel/Monterey
Lake Tahoe region

My thought is that once a thorough list is compiled, it might be easier to figure out how to string the destinations together in logical loops or sequences according to proximity and preferred seasons. Here's hoping that others far more knowledgeable than I about these places and probably many more will jump in and build our knowledge base.

Lastly, I'd be happy to create a web site for storing our collective wisdom on terrific photography locations starting in California and even beyond if the interest is strong enough.

Mike Young & Rosemary Nelson

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Old 02-19-2006, 03:37 PM   #2
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I'd add:

Lone Pine/Alabama Hills
Mojave Preserve

where are the emoticons for cold "brrrrr" and hot "sizzle" and windy "swoosh" and wet "slosh"? Oops, slosh could be something else....

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Old 02-19-2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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I'm wondering how one gets a critical mass up for these impromptu gatherings? I'm betting it comes down to one person saying "here's my route and schedule [bad word, I know] and y'all can meet me along the way."

If we had a reliable catalyst like that, I'm sure many Aluminuts would join and unjoin as they were able. What a great photo op, just documenting those who show up at the various stops. Maybe it would be better if two or three formed a core, just to keep it going per the "advertised" schedule.

If I'm totally lucky and we don't win (yippee!) the contract my company is bidding on, I'll do a route in the early fall (with my new axle )

BTW, here's the coordinates of an incredible cove in Oregon
43 19.34N
124 23.19W
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Old 02-19-2006, 05:39 PM   #4
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Just a few to get started-
Shasta Lake, Mount Shasta
Burney Falls, North of Lassen National Park
Eagle Lake, East of Lassen National Park
Lake Almanor, South of Lassen National Park
Pyramid Lake, North of Reno, Nevada
Feather River, somewhat South of Lassen National Park. Group camping in Quincy or Lake Oroville, among others.
I'd probably choose Feather River as my first choice. I'm also probably not thinking of the obvious location! Feather River has incredible granite to photograph, beautiful River, great fishing, rugged hiking, fascinating history.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:11 AM   #5
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Mike that sounds like a great idea to assemble the information centrally and your "template" is a good tutor in this. Maybe Andy would offer space here too as with the events calandar and all the other links there on the left. Maybe a map could also be incorporated into it. Once the data base spreads from California routes can be established and the caravans/rallies can be proposed. I especially like that you have included the best time to visit. Good work Mike. Now I hope we see more and more entries added so I have an idea where to stop between here in the far East and there in the far West. This is very cool.

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Old 02-20-2006, 10:41 AM   #6
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Mike, its ironic that you had mentioned Mazanita Lake camground at Lassen. You can find us there every late July in Loop A.
Anita mentioned Lake Almanor, were there too, North shore Campground.
I've been all over this state, ether by foot or vehicle, and I find myself returning to these locations year after year. Let me get my memories together, I'll post some other great locations. Jeff

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