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View Full Version : Desert type place in Southern California?



JPUSC
01-06-2012, 01:31 AM
Anyone know a good desert-type place (that's accessible) in Southern California where I could shoot a video?

I'm looking for a place(s) similar to these images:

45768457694577045771

45766457674577345772

45774

Also, do you think I would need to get a permit (small shoot...one camera, a reflector)?

Somewhere near Orange County would be a plus, but anything in SoCal could work. Maybe even a place with abandoned roads and such.

Thanks a lot!

Cracker Funk
01-06-2012, 01:40 AM
Deserts, by definition, are not very accessible. But the Mojave desert is huge, and you're right next to it. I'm pretty sure you could shoot guerrilla, if you wanted to.

Doc Bernard
01-09-2012, 10:19 AM
JPUSC.....pm me, I know the Mojave desert like the back of my hand (I am an old desert rat). I know several dry lake beds that are "out of the way" and I have filmed on them before. They are closer to the first set of pics. For the second set, we would have to drive a ways out to the Amboy/Kelso area where they have salt flats.

David W. Jones
01-09-2012, 01:26 PM
How about Anza Borrego?

j1clark@ucsd.edu
01-10-2012, 05:13 PM
How about Anza Borrego?

Clark valley.

http://tchester.org/bd/places/clark_valley.html

One shot from the dry lake bed:

http://tchester.org/bd/places/pix/clark_lake_3_crop_35_label.jpg

The 'salt flat' look may be had in Death Valley. Quite a drive from anywhere... and should be shot in the next 2-3 months... unless one is very familiar with desert survival...

I've also been looking at Johannesburg/Trona area, not drylakes or saltflat type, but just 'interesting', such as:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Ghosts_of_Trona.jpg

More pictures here:

http://www.yellowecho.com/travel/trona.htm

Dave Đ
01-10-2012, 07:21 PM
Sweet! Being fairly new to SoCal, these photos are getting me excited about getting out and shooting this Spring!

Ken Hull
01-11-2012, 11:13 PM
I was hoping someone would address the OP's question about permits. Is it needed on goverment lands? Do officials "look the other way" for no-budget movies?

- Ken

macgregor
01-11-2012, 11:30 PM
You donīt need a permit if you are taking photographs. You will need a permit if you are filming. Now if you are taking a DSLR you should be completely safe.

GaryinCalifornia
01-12-2012, 05:06 AM
Doc said Amboy... there is only the guy who runs the gas station... which is closed half the time.. and I've barely seen people who work on the salt flats out there... so just remember there are more than likely no services...

There's nothing in the OC that I can think of for the look you want...

Doc Bernard
01-12-2012, 09:11 AM
Yeah, it's pretty desolate out there and I wouldn't shoot out there without a stellar safety plan. But it's amazing visually.

The nearest gas (or anything) will be about 25-30 miles away if the town one is closed, if memory serves. You'd have to go to Goff Rd. where there is a gas station, food, restrooms. (oh yeah, there are no trees out there, so if you have ladies on your crew, they need to be not too shy if nature calls)

On government lands, you usually need a permit, depending on usage, if it is a preserve, etc. But what I will say....it is a big desert. I don't think you would have too much of a problem, as long as you pack out what you pack in, police up ALL your trash, and keep your crew's footprint to a minimum. And be respectful to nature.

j1clark@ucsd.edu
01-12-2012, 09:44 AM
On government lands, you usually need a permit, depending on usage, if it is a preserve, etc. But what I will say....it is a big desert. I don't think you would have too much of a problem, as long as you pack out what you pack in, police up ALL your trash, and keep your crew's footprint to a minimum. And be respectful to nature.

For my day job I traveled a path called "El Camino del Diablo" in south western Arizona, not advertized in "Arizona Highways"... my only comment on what one should have, other than a desert survival package... your passport, or absolutely valid proof of US citizenship... the only 'people' we saw were Border Patrol...

Obviously if the shoot involves big generators, big RV's, etc... permits would be mandatory. For a 3-4 person 'crew' and a small ensemble of cast, and little or no 'props', well, even the best of the best have done guerrilla shooting on occasion... but don't infer that 'there would be no problem'... and if one does have off road vehicles, one should be in designated areas, or on 'actual roads'...

I personally am more familiar with the south of I-10 desert, and there are a number of military reservations, in addition to BLM or county managed land... so it becomes a problem for what agency to get permits from, and what areas are 'closed'... The same holds true for north of I-10, but I've not gone up there in many years...

Doc Bernard
01-12-2012, 09:46 AM
Even though it is somewhat off-topic, I think it is a good opportunity to discuss what I meant about a safety plan.

1. Communication. Cell phones may not work out there, so a back-up needs to be established. Make sure several people who will not be on the shoot know exactly where you will be and when you will be returning. If you have not returned or made contact by then, they are to put the wheels in motion for a "rescue".

2. Planning. Know where you will be, and have maps of the area. Know where the nearest resources are.

3. Clothing. Dress in layers. The So Cal desert is known for HUGE temp swings. It may be 25 degrees in the morning, but by 4 pm, it could be 100 degrees. The wind out there will suck the moisture out of you like a siphon. Bring sunglasses, as on the flats, you can get sun-blindness and it is not fun. Boots/sturdy shoes are a must. No flip flops, tennis shoes, high heels. There are little wind-blown cactus spines all over the desert, lots of sharp rocks, and too many ways to hurt your feet out there.

4. Provisions. Water-Water-Water. Bring twice as much as you think you will need. Min 1 gallon per person. Sunscreen. The sun is brutal even if it is not hot. Food, make sure you bring at least a 2 day supply of quick food.

5. Shelter. Bring some tarps that can be rigged up as lean-to's off of the vehicles.

6. A means of starting a fire. Should things go bad, a fire is a nice way to get warm, signal, and a calming thing for when things look bad.

7. Go in more than one vehicle. If one breaks down, you still will have wheels to get assistance.

8. First-aid kit, and someone trained in advanced first aid. If someone gets hurt, it could be an hour or more before they get any higher level help. I would recommend hiring a set medic on this who knows field-expediency medicine. Remember, certain injuries, you cannot move the victim without spinal precautions (backboard/c-collar), so throwing them in the car will not be an option.

I spent a week straight on my own in the desert with just a small backpack during my military survival training when I was a medic (LOL actually 40 miles from the area I am talking about), and this kind of preplanning is a very important aspect to being in the desert. I am not trying to frighten anyone here. Just trying to make sure people know that the desert is a beautiful but unmerciful place. Just make sure you are ready for it by following those basic guidelines.

j1clark@ucsd.edu
01-12-2012, 10:00 AM
I was hoping someone would address the OP's question about permits. Is it needed on goverment lands? Do officials "look the other way" for no-budget movies?

- Ken

All of the counties in the region have Film Permit requirements. In particular the area that has been mentioned, north east and east of San Bernardino/Riverside, lie in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. My suggestion of Trona, lies in Inyo County. (Death Valley is also included in Inyo County.)

Some URLs.

San Bernardino and Riverside Counties (San Bernardino County stretches from San Bernardino about 60 miles east of LA to 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, and East to the Colorado River. Riverside County stretches east to the Colorado River.)
http://www.filminlandempire.com/home.htm

Inyo County (Stretches from north of San Bernardino County to just beyond Bishop, California, just shy of Mamoth Mountain Ski area.)
http://inyolocations.org/

Imperial County (South of Riverside and to the US/Mexico Border).
http://www.filmimperialcounty.com/