Photo Gallery of Inspiration: Look to Nature and Remember Your Dreams
Inspiration...where does it come from? And perhaps, more imporantly, how do we keep it? For me, the mountain skies of the San Bernardino National Forest have been a continual source of joy and encouragement. In all seasons and moods, it never fails to lift me up and point the way to a higher, better reality. Equipped with my trusty Nikon Coolpix and my Topaz Labs Photoshop, I can create virtual oil paintings without lifting a brush. The artist in me is always amazed at the rich resources of nature and photography. The photos you have viewed are a small percentage of my work, but some of my very favorite sunsets and twilight compositions. Each one is a precious memory of a hike or photo shoot outing.
The variety of the terrain makes it difficult to stay dull or aloof. There are jagged, frightful peaks in the Pinnacles of Lake Arrowhead. A few miles away, quiet Lake Gregory calls to the boater as well as the hiker. Up the highway you can encounter the highest altitude lake in California...Green Valley. Further on awaits the winding, challenging drive to Big Bear Lake.
The history of this area--The San Bernardino Mountains of California--is in itself somewhat inspirational. It was once peopled with the mighty Serrano Indian Nation, who used the mountains to escape the oppressive heat of the "flatlands" down below. The Serrano lived in grassy huts and ate a mush made of ground acorns, in villages of perhaps up to sixty people. In 1839 Juan Bandini, an explorer, followed the Indian Trails and founded a saw mill. More settlers came, including the Mormons. By 1929, Crest Forest had its first official Fire Department.
The Gold Rush struck Big Bear by way of a wounded Grizzly bear. A man named Will Holcomb followed a wounded Grizzly deep into the piney forests and came upon the precious metal floating in the creeks. In 1860 the word was out and many miners came to Big Bear, leaving behind abandoned mines and old graves that I personally have visited while hiking the area. The name for Big Bear was once Yuhaviat, meaning piney place--the old Serrano name that would be replaced with Big Bear lake and Big Bear City. Hollywood elite would find the area alluring, and many films would be shot here, including parts of Gone with the Wind, Dr. Dolittle, and Paint Your Wagon.
To those who enjoy educational stories, there is a wonderful book out called Ghost Town Schoolmarm by Tom Core. It is the touching and courageous true story of Anna Crain, who came to a tiny mining town called Doble (Big Bear) and taught the children of the pioneers there. Her memoirs are complete with amazing photos from the era, showing this admirable teacher rock-climbing with her small charges. Now, all that is left of those days is a poignant tiny graveyard in Doble with wooden crosses.
Today, tourists from all over the world find their way here. Many come for the ski resorts, many for the hiking trails and amazing vistas of beauty. What makes this area a continual joy for a photographer is its ability to pull one in, away from the drab and stressful, into a magical world of joy, and delight. For those of you, like myself, perhaps lack the training to create oil painting masterpieces, a good camera and a photoshop program may pave the way for adventures in discovery. At any rate...we all must remember and cling to our dreams..every sunset and twilight should encourage us to reach out for beauty and possess it.