View Full Version : Desert locations in So Cal

11-11-2010, 04:56 PM
Anyone know of any good "empty, sandy" deserts in Southern California? Something along the lines of this (http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/lawrence-of-arabia.jpg).


11-11-2010, 06:02 PM
Anyone know of any good "empty, sandy" deserts in Southern California? Something along the lines of this (http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/lawrence-of-arabia.jpg).


Most everything east of US 395 and south of Bishop probably could be useful for 'desert' look. In "Ironman I"(2008), the early 'demo' that Tony Stark gives, he blows up the Alabama Hills (via CGI...) which are near Lone Pine, and one can see the peaks surrounding Mount Whitney in the shot as well... well before the smoke covers everything.

For 'sand dunes' there's the Algodonas Sand Dunes that run south/southeast from near the Salton Sea to the US-Mexico boarder.

You should look via Google Maps and use the landsat images to sort of get an idea of things in that area.

As for specifically sand piled up against cliffs. There are a few places that look like that but unfortunately, the are close to roadways, and have been mucked up by off-roaders. Specifically
on Highway 78 a bit before it gets to Brawley.

A large number of Hollywood productions have been filmed in the desert rather than going to locations in the Middle East...

As a 'note that', while a small 'film crew' probably would not get in to trouble... any thing significant needs to get a permit form one of San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, or Inyo counties... all of them are 'hollywood savy', and sheriff or county park officer would probably love to write ai citation for filming without a permit, rather than chase real badguys with guns...

Then there's the BLM... and these days, because of the 'increased security'... there are any number of Border Patrol agents out and about... so have your passport ready, because you will be traveling in a foreign country... the America of Tomorrow... where Identity Papers are required...

11-11-2010, 11:28 PM
Thanks for all the information. Very helpful. Much appreciation!

11-12-2010, 06:56 AM
You might find something like that near Barstow. But if you need big sand dunes you can find them 31 miles north of Baker on highway 127 in Dumont Dunes.

11-16-2010, 07:15 PM
Cool. I filmed a lot in Lancaster/Palmdale but never saw much for sanddunes. Theres a few hills that jut up from the desert floor and have some sand on top but it's more rocky shrub stuff.

11-18-2010, 03:05 PM
When I worked on the movie "Priest" we shot at Soggy Dry Lake, Lucerne Valley, CA and El Mirage Dry Lake in San Bernadino County. If you want wierd backgrounds the Trona Pinnacles near Ridgecrest/China Lake was also used in the movie. You will need to get permission from the US Forrest Service there because it is a national monument.

Scroll down to locations and you will see other movies shot at the same location. siAs for dunes, most of it is CGI'd during post. You maybe able to combine the two types of backgrounds using Aftereffects or similar program in post.