On a business trip last week, I drove from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, Tulare and Visalia, in the San Joaquin along Highway 99. This is the interior farm belt of central California where land is cheaper and the climate is more varied than the coast. Your two buck chucks from Trader Joe’s is grown here, instead of the pricey coastal wineries of Santa Inez or Santa Barbara. Most tourists enjoy the beauty of California coast by taking the 101 (aka Pacific Coast Highway), or the more direct north/south interstate 5, and probably don’t know much about highway 99. This is the less glamorous side of California but no less important. In recent years, because of the ban on pistachio from Iran, more farm land in the San Joaquin Valley has multiplied and transformed into pistachio and almonds groves.
While driving a long highway 99, I saw a field of almond trees still blooming so I screeched into a stop in Pixley and snapped these photos.
The sky on that day was stormy and I modified this photo to highlight the unusual sky using the Hallow Black preset by Bryan Wheeler. This is a free preset for LightRoom from Adobe, so check it out at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/plugins/.
Here’s another view of the almond grove, modified to look like a child’s painting. Which one do you prefer?