Way out on a two lane highway sandwiched in between Bakersfield to the west and the vast openness of the Mojave out east, a scene surely older than most people alive rests amid an open tree-lined field, the barn buildings hanging in the balance somewhere between life and death. I’ve passed by this scenic stretch many times and always thought this spot would work with the Milky Way, with this foreground and the stars combining for a beautiful yet disparate meditation on time, on what the past was, what the present holds and what the future may bring.
These barns span a great deal of time, and starkly display the corollary changes that time brings. This spot is a good 50 miles from the light pollution of Bakersfield, so the stars really pop out here, & even though they were shot during the worst forest fire season in California history, the high lingering smoke in the atmosphere didn’t do anything to negatively impact the Milky Way’s brilliance on this night.
This is located in the Kern River Valley, high above the Central Valley and the staging area for the waters of fall and winter that rip through a dramatic canyon on down to the valley below in a river described by Merle Haggard, Bakersfield’s most famous son, as “not deep nor wide, but a mean piece of water.”