The problem with the Socialist colony at Llano Del Rio was that it wasn’t by a Rio (river). It was during a wet year that the land was purchased and the wash coming out of Big Rock Creek was flowing with water. It didn’t take but a few years for them to realize that the dried-up desert plain they were living on wasn’t more than what it looked like, a dried-up desert plain. Certainly, there were other reasons the colony failed. Probably politics–individual, internal, external or otherwise. Ain’t it always like that though?
I was driving through the area yesterday in the morning. I had to go westward toward Palmdale for an appointment that was sure to take most of the day. There were road crews widening Highway 138 at the site of the ruins. This and that was barricaded and fenced off and dust and paving and whatnot. I had updated the web page I keep on the place a few days before and noticed I only had low-resolution photos I took in probably 1999. I thought it would be a good idea to stop on my way back and get some shots for a photo update.
My meeting went on about an hour longer than I anticipated and I was running late. The sunset light was great, golden, and a little harsh. I could have got some nice shots if I could avoid getting myself into the long shadows. I must admit, in some spots I drove a little fast, but I’d catch myself and mostly I drove safe. I like to think I’d rather get to where I’m going late, but alive rather than early and dead. Now I know the second half of that makes no sense, but when I think of it the word ‘dead’ is a keyword to me and I slow it down.
The sun had just slipped behind the mountain when I arrived. I grabbed the camera and tripod and hiked a hundred yards or so to the site of the ruins. There was some great ambient light going and I had probably about half an hour of shooting. When the sun slips behind the mountains as it does at this time of year it gives a false sunset. It stays light, but the shadows disappear. For me, the light was perfect. I couldn’t have timed it better.