This is not about the finding the perfect Christmas tree.

Been there, done that.

I’ve been putting together some photos that will appear the Sunday Dec. 20 paper in the Lifestyle section of the Press Democrat. This means I’ve been cruising the very back, back roads of Sonoma County to find little elements of nature that remind us that winter will hang around another two months. One of my favorite drives is King Ridge Road. I’ve written about it before. Levi Leipheimer and his friends know it quite well. When I cruise this parcel of Sonoma County, I know I’ll get a least one decent photo. Of something.

There are four things I am a sucker for when looking for scenic photos:

Unobstructed, limitless horizons
Interesting clouds
Oak trees

On King Ridge, I found the perfect giant oak tree, silhouetted with an unobstructed, limitless horizon with a storm rolling in. Around it was the perfect tattered fence.

I was in scenic heaven. A photographic utopia.

kp1215_treeBy Kent Porter / Press Democrat


After shooting several dozen frames of the scene, I hopped back in to my car. It wouldn’t start. Dead. Kaput. Nada. I had left my running lights on.

Battery 1. Photographer, zero.

About four cars a day roll over the grade there, probably less during a storm. Needless to say, only two passed me in as many hours. If someone stops, I could use my jumper cables to get the battery going again, I reasoned.

I forgot to load them back in after cleaning my car out.

So, climbing to the top of the ridge to get a cell signal, I called my boss Chad Surmick. He dispatched photographer Jeff Kan Lee, whom has rescued me from some pretty unusual situations before. When I get stuck, I really get stuck.

Did I ever tell you about the time I lost my keys with flames bearing down on me covering a forest fire? (I missed a deadline on that one).

The storm rolled in pretty fast, so I hunkered down and waited. Finally, Lee arrived with HIS jumper cables and all was well once again.

Thanks Jeff!