March 29, 2008

The Kern River Oil Fields

Kern River Oil Fields from Bakersfield

I've tried to get something like this shot of the Kern River oil fields near Oildale for a couple of decades now; this is probably as close as I'll get, taken early this afternoon on the bluffs overlooking the Kern with a huge long hand-held lens. One thing you learn over the years: taking shots of refineries, bridges, oil fields, etc., with a very big lens can cause all sorts of police activity directed towards you. Not this time, though (they were quelling a fight a bit further along Panorama Drive).

Click on the thumbnail above to get a bit of the flavour of the place (basically northeast Bakersfield): literally dozens of square miles of denuded desert hills crawling with wires, pipes, poles, fences, tracks, tanks, and swinging pumps. And it's constantly alive; all those nodding donkey pumpjacks plod along without moving, giving the whole scene a sort of organic Rube Goldberg / Heath Robinson feel.

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