Photo of the Week: "Antelope Valley poppy bloom" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera, manual mode, Tamron 16-300mm lens @37mm with polarizing filter, Exposure; ISO 400, aperture f/11, 1/250sec shutter speed.
Photo of the Week: "Antelope Valley poppy bloom" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera, manual mode, Tamron 16-300mm lens @37mm with polarizing filter, Exposure; ISO 400, aperture f/11, 1/250sec shutter speed.
Enlarge Photo
Their Essence Eludes Capture
Bob Crum
Bob Crum

Shelter in place! Stay home! Arrrrgh. I need relief if only for a few hours! I camouflaged my truck and in stealth mode drove up to the Antelope Valley. Resistance photographing a grand poppy bloom is futile.

I've been photographing the Antelope Valley poppies for years. Some years several fields are so full of California poppies it looks like someone painted the earth a bright orange. But it changes year to year.

One year, poppies filled field A. The following year, nothing or very few flowers in A. A quarter-mile south, field B that had none last year is full of flowers. Even the bloom at the Poppy Reserve varies significantly from year to year. Rainfall? Temperature variations? Sun flares? Nature!

Weather and timing are crucial for a successful poppy photo shoot. Poppy tapered buds open into flowers with four satiny petals. A behavior called nyctinasty causes the flowers to close on cold nights and cloudy or windy days, opening the following morning again, weather permitting.

One theory is that they do it by "pumping water out of the flowers, a clever case of wilting," says landscapeofus.com. But without meteorological sensors, how does the plant know what to do and when to do it? Hmmm.

The shooting window is often narrow. Arrive too early on a chilly morning and you'll find poppies closed, only opening as the sun warms them. Like the precision of a train schedule, the winds gradually increase speed at about 2 p.m. and the flowers begin their closing ritual. I made all photos with a polarizing filter on the lens primarily to reduce petal glare, not necessarily for color enhancement. Enhanced color saturation not needed.

Driving south on one of the main roads, I saw a large area of orange to my right. I turned onto a dirt road and soon turned into a small clearing in the field. I was instantly awash in a sea of gorgeous orange flowers all around me. Never have I seen such intense orange! Even the foliage was a healthier blue/green color. And the plants here much larger than usual.

With awe and adoration, I sat down on the earth dampened by recent rain. Photographing the scene can wait. Looking out over the field of beautiful flowers, my mind, as it always wants to do, automatically began to describe a poppy. Foolish mind! Such splendor best fully apprehended without useless, meaningless words.

Philosophically speaking, intellectual descriptions are mere concepts, not the essence of the flower. As I continued to gaze upon the glorious scene, my mind eventually became pleasantly silent. Without effort and eyes open, I meditated. An indescribable peace comes with intuiting that my life source and that of the flowers is of the one Consciousness (God if you prefer). I know not how long I remained in this meditative state; the concept of time becomes irrelevant. Eventually, back in the manifest world of presumed reality, I enjoyed profound tranquility. I stood up, raised my camera and made a few photos of the splendor. Wonderful it would be if the camera could capture the true essence of the gorgeous flowers.

Photoing the poppies is always satisfying. However, because of my now limited mobility, it was frustrating this year. Even with a portable oxygen concentrator backpack, I couldn't wander freely for the preferred composition. I had to shoot from my truck most of the day -- roll down the window -- shoot -- roll up the window -- drive to the next area.

C'est la vie.

Hopefully the photo of the week, in some measure, illustrates the majesty of nature. Happy photoing!

Send questions, suggestions or comments to: focusonphotography@earthlink.net

 


 
On Thursday, April 16th a motorcycle accident occurred on Sycamore Drive near Seventh Street in Fillmore. Photo Courtesy Sebastian Ramirez.
On Thursday, April 16th a motorcycle accident occurred on Sycamore Drive near Seventh Street in Fillmore. Photo Courtesy Sebastian Ramirez.
Enlarge Photo

On Thursday, April 16th at approximately 2:50pm Daniel Arriola Carreno, 22 of Fillmore, was riding his 2017 Harley Davidson motorcycle east bound on Sycamore Drive approaching Seventh Street. For unknown reasons he drove onto the north shoulder of westbound Sycamore Drive and crashed into a utility pole. Carreno was ejected from the motorcycle, and sustained major injuries according to authorities, who pronounced him dead at the scene. He was wearing a helmet. The accident was reported by a passerby who had not witnessed the initial crash. Authorities are still investigating the incident and ask for any witnesses to please contact the Ventura CHP office at 805-662-2640.

 


 
Pictured is the back of Fillmore Middle School where crews have started construction on the improvements to the baseball and soccer fields. Courtesy Fillmore Unified School District.
Pictured is the back of Fillmore Middle School where crews have started construction on the improvements to the baseball and soccer fields. Courtesy Fillmore Unified School District.
Enlarge Photo
Diagram of what the new fields are going to look like.
Diagram of what the new fields are going to look like.
Enlarge Photo

Fillmore Middle School Baseball / Soccer Field Improvements

• Fillmore Unified School District has begun construction on the Fillmore Middle School (FMS) Baseball / Soccer Field Improvements project

• This project is funded by Measure V, the school bond passed by the residents of Fillmore and Piru in the 2016 election

Fillmore Unified School District is excited to announce that construction has begun on the FMS Baseball / Soccer Field Improvements project. This project will include a baseball diamond, a soccer field and a walking path surrounding the field. Primary use for this field is for Fillmore Middle School students during the instructional day for physical education classes and recreation.

The baseball diamond will be the home field of the Fillmore High School Junior Varsity team. Facilities will include a backstop, dugouts, bullpen and bleachers. Soccer fields will allow additional practice space for boys and girls soccer teams. The walking path will be available for community use when school is not in session and at times when the field is not required for student teams.

The Fillmore Unified School District Board of Trustees awarded the project to Ardalan Construction of Thousand Oaks, with a bid amount of $1,598,000, at the regular board meeting held on February 4, 2020. The project involves the removal of the topsoil, installation of subterranean irrigation, and building the new facilities. District Superintendent Dr. Adrian Palazuelos stated, “The improvements to the Fillmore Middle School field are aligned to the district Long-Range Facilities Master Plan approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2016. Upon completion, the FMS Baseball/Soccer Field project addresses long-standing issues with the irrigation system and field surface at the campus. Our desire is that the improvements will provide our district community with another space for recreation and play.” We anticipate that this project will be completed in August 2020.

 


 
Stock photo of Fillmore City Hall taken by Bob Crum.
Stock photo of Fillmore City Hall taken by Bob Crum.
Enlarge Photo
Crime was down in Fillmore in 2019

The City of Fillmore first contracted law enforcement services with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office in 1987. They have two patrol offices on 24-hour duty. The station is also responsible for serving about 450 square miles of unincorporated area in the Santa Clara Valley, including the unincorporated communities of Piru, Bardsdale, Rancho Sespe, Santa Paula and Upper Ojai.

The report shows both violent and property crimes decreased from 175 in 2018 to 147 in 2019, a 16% overall decrease. Violent crimes decreased by 49%, from 39 in 2018 to 20 in 2019. (Included robbery, rape, homicide and aggravated assault)
Rapes fell from seven in 2018 to five in 2019. No homicides in 2019, compared to one in 2018.

Robberies dropped from seven to three. Aggravated assaults fell to 12 in 2019, from 24 in 2018. Assault is categorized by type of weapon used. In 2019, six assaults included hands, fists or feet, one involved a knife, two involved firearms, and three involved a different method.

Four property crimes were reported, including burglary, theft (larceny) vehicle theft and arson.

Vehicle theft dropped from 14 to 10, and 24 burglaries were reported in 2019 compared to 27 in 2018. Thefts dropped to 89 from nine, the majority classified as petty thefts with property worth $950 or less. Property crimes declined from 136 in 2018 to 127 in 2019.

The City’s crime rate was 9.23 incidents (violent and property crime) for every 1,000 residents in 2019.

Overall, Fillmore continues to statistically be one of the safest cities in Ventura County.

 


 
Wednesday, April 15th at 7:37pm near Ventura & E Street in Fillmore a red pick up truck collided with a red sedan and ended up in a ditch. The pickup driver was arrested for hit & run at the scene. Cause of the accident is still under
investigation and no injuries were reported at the time of the accident.
Wednesday, April 15th at 7:37pm near Ventura & E Street in Fillmore a red pick up truck collided with a red sedan and ended up in a ditch. The pickup driver was arrested for hit & run at the scene. Cause of the accident is still under investigation and no injuries were reported at the time of the accident.
Enlarge Photo
 


 
The City of Fillmore has closed the skatepark and Pump Track at Two Rivers Park due to Stay-At-Home violations. The closure will be enforced until further notice.
The City of Fillmore has closed the skatepark and Pump Track at Two Rivers Park due to Stay-At-Home violations. The closure will be enforced until further notice.
Enlarge Photo
 
Piru Elementary School staff created a visual message for all of their students. It reads “Dear Condors We Miss You Very Much And Want You To Know You Are Loved.” Courtesy Piru Elementary School Website.
Piru Elementary School staff created a visual message for all of their students. It reads “Dear Condors We Miss You Very Much And Want You To Know You Are Loved.” Courtesy Piru Elementary School Website.
Enlarge Photo
 
Mahala Stone's house on Central Avenue in Fillmore circa 1910. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
Mahala Stone's house on Central Avenue in Fillmore circa 1910. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
Enlarge Photo
Joseph Stone
Joseph Stone
Enlarge Photo
Mahala Stone
Mahala Stone
Enlarge Photo
Hunting party in the Agua Blanca with (L to R) Ed Welch, Charley Welch, Nate Stone, Wright Burson, Alfred Stone.
Hunting party in the Agua Blanca with (L to R) Ed Welch, Charley Welch, Nate Stone, Wright Burson, Alfred Stone.
Enlarge Photo
Stone Children's Graves in Bardsdale.
Stone Children's Graves in Bardsdale.
Enlarge Photo

Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

The last quarter of the 19th century saw many settlers moving into the Santa Clara River Valley. Many stayed for a year or two, found it too difficult and moved on. A few stayed and became very successful. We see their names on streets and landmarks like Elkins, Goodenough and Shiells. Others simply stayed and made good lives for themselves like two families named Stone and Morey.

Joseph and Mahala Azbell Stone came to the Fillmore area in the mid-1870s. Mahala was twelve years old when her family left Missouri for California in 1850. On the way cholera struck the party and she lost two brothers and her father. Her mother managed to get them to Sutter County where the remaining family settled. In 1853, at the age of 15, she married Joseph Stone, age 55. Joseph was born in New York, but according to information related by his son Nathan (Nate), Joseph was a veteran of the 1836 Seminole wars in Florida. During the Mexican War of 1846, under the name George Taylor, he fought for the Mexican cause and his wife, Mahala, received a pension from the Mexican government until her death.

A family story was that they were burned out of their home in the San Joaquin Valley and then moved to Fillmore in the mid-1870s. They settled in the mountains north of Fillmore near the Arundell home.

In the 1800s there were many epidemics and even pandemics. One of the worst of these was diphtheria which killed many throughout the world. In 1878 it struck the Santa Clara River Valley. In less than a week, four of Mahala and Joseph's twelve children were killed by the disease. Their graves, plus that of another child who died a few years later, can be seen at the Bardsdale Cemetery. A few months later, Mahala's sister, Angeline Baum, living in Piru, would lose four children as well.

In 1879, Mahala gave birth to her final child, Ada May Stone. She was a neighbor of the Arundells and with the Arundell children would walk to the "Cactus Flat" school located north of Fifth Street and west of Goodenough Road. The slate she used at school is on display at the Fillmore Historical Museum.

By this time her older brothers were beginning to make a living for themselves. Older brothers Nate and Alfred (Al) were particularly well known in the Fillmore area. While helping their parents on their farm, they also “carried on a lucrative business of hunting game in the Sespe, shipping their kill to a ready market in Los Angeles” according to Al’s obituary. Al died after an altercation with a pack horse while hunting at the age of 65. One of Al’s rifles is also on display in the Museum. Nate was also noted as being one of the leading beekeepers in the county, keeping hives in Piru Canyon.

Joseph Stone died in 1902 and Mahala moved from the Sespe into Fillmore, building a home on Central Avenue where Central Market now stands. In about 1911, this area was becoming the main business district and Mahala moved, taking her home with her, to Mountain View Avenue where the house still stands. Mahala died in 1933, a few months after Nathan. At the time of her death, Mahala was the oldest citizen on Fillmore at age 95. After her death, her grandson, Elbert “Al” Morey, son of Ada Stone and Norman Morey lived in the home on Mountain View until his death in 1983. The Morey family story will have to wait for another time.

 

Courtesy Jan Lee

Even though the Fillmore Flower Show has been a tradition in town for over 100 years, this year it had to be cancelled because of stay-at-home restrictions. However, gardeners are very special people. We know your yard and house plants are looking especially beautiful this year. The Fillmore Civic Pride Committee wants to give everybody an opportunity to display their flowers.

Post them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheFillmoreFlowerShow

Don’t limit your posts to just flowers. Create a bouquet (flowers all the same type) or an arrangement (variety of flowers). Maybe you have a potted plant that is particularly pretty. Or maybe a dish garden you’d like others to see. One of the more popular divisions has been miniature arrangements, not to exceed 4”x 4” or 10” x 10”. The theme for the Show this year is Fairy Tales and Flowers. Go to fillmoreflowershow.org to read about all the divisions and to view the BEAUTIFUL poster created by Joseph Bagley.

The Committee has been working hard to recruit more and more Fillmore residents to enter the Fillmore Flower Show. This year you don’t even have leave your house to enter! But we’ll miss the beautiful music by Becky Morales and Barry Cooper, the plant boutique and the Garden Café. Those will all be back next year. This year, snap some photos and post them for all of us to enjoy. Tell your friends.

 
Photo of the Week: "Ventura Harbor commercial fishing boat & sunstar in building tower" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera, manual mode, Tamron 16-300mm lens @24mm. Exposure; ISO 800, aperture f/20, 1/320 second shutter speed.
Photo of the Week: "Ventura Harbor commercial fishing boat & sunstar in building tower" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera, manual mode, Tamron 16-300mm lens @24mm. Exposure; ISO 800, aperture f/20, 1/320 second shutter speed.
Enlarge Photo
Click... BINGO!
Bob Crum
Bob Crum

The pandemic remains prominent as we all continue hunkered down at home. I can't experience the grief felt upon losing a loved one or friend to the virus. Although seeming insignificant, I know not what else to do other than empathizing. And pray this pandemic nemesis ceases soon.

Very annoying are buzzing mosquitoes and overly fanatical camera brand loyalists. No sooner was my previous column published, Nikon fanboys pounced like a flock of vultures on fresh carrion. I understand such angst, but the veracity of their vitriol is shocking.

It was not like I said anything terrible about Nikon cameras, nor would I. Nikon cameras are first-class gear. I was scolded and chastised for not being an equal-mentioning columnist—their cry of woe—I never, ever mention Nikon. It's true. Should I apologize for my naughty oversight? Hmm. Since Canon pays me $3,750 per column for mentioning my Canon camera, a $3,750 check from Nikon will beget that apology. Just kidding! I don't receive any fees from any company that manufactures photographic products. Unless I'm writing a product review, I don't mention Sony, or Panasonic, or Olympus, or Fujifilm cameras either. However, all are welcome to send me a $3,750 check for a product mention in my column. Incidentally, two photography friends shoot with Nikon cameras--one a D750 and one a D850, and we get along fine. However, because my Canon camera photos are considerably better, they are obligated to buy the drinks after a shoot. C'est la vie!

I previously discussed a photo walk at the Ventura Harbor. And the meetup with Arnold, a San Diego photographer friend on assignment at the Harbor. Johnny, a phonetographer wannabe photographer, tagged along. After Arnold's photoshoot, we three enjoyed a delish dish at Andria's Seafood restaurant. As the hour drew nigh, we were ready for a few sunset photos. Arnold went back to grab a golden-hour photo of his boat project. I was still holding an image in my mind that I visualized earlier.

Rewind: After making a few photos from a dock earlier in the afternoon, I noticed an opening in the tower on the building in the background. This is a potential photo op because I'm known as one who cannot resist making a photo with a "sunstar" effect. But three elements--me, the subject and the sun--have to align for the visual to work. I consulted the "Photographer's Ephemeris", an app on my cellphone. The Ephemeris shows me the angle of the sun for any time and date at any location on a Google map. After entering my location, my plan appeared doable and my toes wiggled.

As the time neared, Johnny and I went back to the pier where I planned to execute the photo I had in mind. Arriving a little early, I consulted the Ephemeris once more to verify the alignment. While waiting, I passed the time photographing the seagulls at the end of the dock. Johnny still had no idea what I was planning.

As the magical moment neared, I rechecked my camera's settings. It's important to be ready because of a scientific fact that I discovered about 163 years ago: As the sun sets, it moves faster. As the sun rapidly approached the top of the tower, I had to move slightly to my right to get the alignment perfect. Such precise maneuvering is not for the faint of heart. Two minutes---one minute---CLICK! BINGO! Right place-right time-right on! The photo of the week is the result of visualizing and executing as planned. For those interested, here's the link to the photographer's ephemeris: https://www.photoephemeris.com/ Happy photoing.

Send comments, suggestions or questions to: focusonphotography@earthlink.net