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Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.

  
 
Peter Figen
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Congratulations to Peter Figen for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 5 votes - View Previous Winners


This is the second album cover for these friends of mine from Kernville, Ca., about an hour or so in the mountains directly east of Bakersfield. All great musicians and Katharine, the leader was a Buckarette in Buck Owen's band The Buckaroos way back when.

When we started talking about doing this last spring, they, being the Kern River Band, originally wanted to shoot along the highway that winds from Bakersfield to Kernville with the Kern River in the background. Okay. I started looking into what it would take to get a permit to shoot there, knowing that rural cops and often be assholes to photographers, so I went the legal route with the Kern County Film Commission, which was barely on line and could not even take a credit card for the $100 permit fee, and I had to do the same with the Kern County Fire Dept. and had to give them a rough description of the shooting address that came off of Google Street View.

Then, just before we were going to shoot, the river, which had been running at record levels, something like 25,000 cubic feet per second from the heavy rainy season, undercut the highway which was then closed. Backup plan was to shoot outside this old flour mill outside of Kernville but when Katharine scouted that two days before our shoot, it was under a foot of water, so, plan C emerged and we ended up at this old rustic ranch on the outskirts of town where they had imported the old miner's shacks you see in these images.

It was about 90 degrees out in the middle of June so it kinda forced us to stay on the shady side of things. We shot two setups that afternoon, some with flash and some with the natural light bouncing off the sandy colored dirt, which was quite nice. I think we were there for about three hours, after which we packed up and had a sunset dinner on the back balcony of the Kern River Brewing Company. Gee and I got home about midnight that night and we had what felt like a vacation day with a little photo shoot squeezed into it.

The music is all acoustic old time country music with incredible three and four part vocal harmonies. Just after the last frames were exposed they sang us a couple of songs, which was kind of the whole reason for doing the shoot in the first place. At least for me.





Kern River Band

  GFX100S    Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens    47mm    f/9.0    1/80s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  







Kern River Band

  GFX100S    Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens    32mm    f/11.0    1/80s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  




Apr 29, 2024 at 03:38 PM
newyork
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


As always a wonderful story to go along with unparalleled photos. Trying to figure which I like most. The fact they’re playing #2 is excellent but I love the first as well.


Apr 29, 2024 at 06:59 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


newyork wrote:
As always a wonderful story to go along with unparalleled photos. Trying to figure which I like most. The fact they’re playing #2 is excellent but I love the first as well.


Thanks Rich. I've been thinking that the first one is the front cover and the second one the back cover and a couple of shots I did on the river a month later on the inside.




Apr 29, 2024 at 07:17 PM
newyork
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Peter Figen wrote:
Thanks Rich. I've been thinking that the first one is the front cover and the second one the back cover and a couple of shots I did on the river a month later on the inside.



I like it!



Apr 29, 2024 at 11:40 PM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Yes on your F/B cover art Peter! Just a super composed image! The vibrant colors really work well here!
"Pickin' and a grinin'!"

Dan



Apr 30, 2024 at 09:42 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Danpbphoto wrote:
Yes on your F/B cover art Peter! Just a super composed image! The vibrant colors really work well here!
"Pickin' and a grinin'!"

Dan


And the ironic part is that two of the band members moved to Denver just after this and the band is no more, so this is really to memorialize the band and produce a minimal number of CD's for local fans. Katharine, the leader and guitar player, along with Kris, the bass player also play in an all women's Celtic group based out of Bakersfield call Banshee in the Kitchen. I've done their last two records and we're supposed to be shooting some new photos sometime in the near future. But being able to work with talented friends is part of what makes this worth while.




Apr 30, 2024 at 10:58 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Oh no DOUBT Peter! Interacting with those who are photographing puts you in a "groove" no matter what genre of music you enjoy! Having 3 images, in your head(brain) on conception, on your camera and the cd! If one can not be part of the on stage musical performance then what can be better? Nuttin'!
Again SUPER!

Is their material available? Would enjoy listening to it!
Dan

I am not on social media.



Apr 30, 2024 at 11:58 AM
charley5
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


newyork wrote:
I like it!


Love the tones here! In the second picture, you can see that music is in their blood. You got my vote.

-Charles




Apr 30, 2024 at 12:12 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


charley5 wrote:
Love the tones here! In the second picture, you can see that singing is in their blood. You got my vote.

-Charles



And their vocal harmonies blend so well. It's like stepping back in time and at the same time right into Central Casting for old time western musicians. They were all like "I can't believe you drove all the way from Los Angeles to photograph US", andf I was more like, I can't believe you're playing music just for me. It was one of the best photo days in recent memory.



Apr 30, 2024 at 12:17 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Great story and photos. Isn't it funny how the actual picture taking ends up being such a tiny fraction of the day. Geography, guv'ment bureaucracy and planning gets you every time. Good thing you had a Plan C!


Apr 30, 2024 at 03:47 PM
 


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Peter Figen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


jeffbuzz wrote:
Great story and photos. Isn't it funny how the actual picture taking ends up being such a tiny fraction of the day. Geography, guv'ment bureaucracy and planning gets you every time. Good thing you had a Plan C!


I was just shocked that they didn't take credit cards either on their website or over the phone and there are quite a few productions that shoot in and around Kern County, and I've never ever had to use a Plan C once so that was a new one.




Apr 30, 2024 at 05:08 PM
keepclicking
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Peter, as usual your photos are top notch but the planning with a plan C! Love reading the backstory. I wish more folks would do that. I guess, it helps viewers connect with the images. At least the backstory works for me. Hats off to you my friend. Definitely earns my vote. 👍🏻


Apr 30, 2024 at 08:17 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


keepclicking wrote:
Peter, as usual your photos are top notch but the planning with a plan C! Love reading the backstory. I wish more folks would do that. I guess, it helps viewers connect with the images. At least the backstory works for me. Hats off to you my friend. Definitely earns my vote. 👍🏻


Parul - There aren't always interesting stories but more often than not there are. And I agree with you, it helps to give context and it can really help people who maybe haven't gone through the process learn about how to do it right within the rules, and of course there are times where you have to ignore the rules but in this case, because we were initially going to be right next to the highway with a lot of equipment, it wasn't worth it to me to chance getting kicked out, or worse, fined for not having a permit. And it's only a hundred dollars for a permit there, and what they really want is a certificate of insurance naming Kern County so if someone got hurt the county would not be liable.




Apr 30, 2024 at 09:36 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.



Love it! Really like the warm tones!



May 02, 2024 at 08:35 AM
matsu131
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Wonderful post. Images and storyline.


May 02, 2024 at 12:45 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Well done Peter.


May 02, 2024 at 12:56 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


friscoron wrote:
Love it! Really like the warm tones!


Ron - Since you asked in a PM about the Kern River pics that we shot a month and a half later on a separate day trip, here they are. The river at that point was far below its record high flow in June but still a very dangerous place to be, reminding everyone why Merle Haggard wrote his famous song about the Kern.

It was about a hundred degrees out in early August and we spent about half an hour at our original shooting location shooting east up the Kern River canyon and also west looking down the canyon towards Bakersfield, after which we drove to old town Bakersfield, found a nice little Mexican restaurant and ate fish tacos outside in the warm shade.







Kern River

  GFX100S    Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens    32mm    f/11.0    2s    50 ISO    0.0 EV  







Kern River

  GFX100S    Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens    32mm    f/11.0    1/3s    50 ISO    0.0 EV  







Kern River

  GFX100S    Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens    49mm    f/11.0    1/4s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




May 02, 2024 at 02:55 PM
ArtisticShapes
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


Very cool you got to shoot somebody from the Buck Owens Band. Ol Buck's even got a boulevard named after him in Bakersfield for those who have never been through Bakersfield.

I never really listened to Buck and his band when I was young but I know he was a big time country and western guy along with Merle Haggard both from Bakersfield.
As a matter of fact just before you enter the Kern Canyon the very big last house you pass was where Merle Haggard lived. I remember watching that place being built. Very big house right on the Kern.

Another somewhat related story.

My wife and I were driving through Texas about a month ago listening to the only radio station we could find. It was a country and western music and the DJ was telling a story about Merle Haggard and others I'm not familiar with about the "Bakersfield sound". These Bakersfield bands from back in the 60/70s were quite influential.

If you ever get back up to Kernville the old Brown Flour Mill is a great place to shoot. Don't wait too long though all the other buildings in the area built at that time have already fallen.

Very cool Photo's.











May 03, 2024 at 12:45 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


ArtisticShapes wrote:
Very cool you got to shoot somebody from the Buck Owens Band. Ol Buck's even got a boulevard named after him in Bakersfield for those who have never been through Bakersfield.

I never really listened to Buck and his band when I was young but I know he was a big time country and western guy along with Merle Haggard both from Bakersfield.
As a matter of fact just before you enter the Kern Canyon the very big last house you pass was where Merle Haggard lived. I remember watching that place being built. Very big house right on the Kern.

Another
...Show more

Thank you so much for your comments. The Bakersfield sound proved to the country and to the world that you could make country music in California and have it be real. Chris Hillman carried on that sound after Sweetheart of the Rodeo with the Byrds and into his solo records in the early 80's and then into the Desert Rose Band where JayDee Maness playing pedal steel in the DRB, who played for a year and a half with Buck Owens.

I first photographed Hillman back in '86 just before the Desert Rose Band formed but he was already performing with John Jorgenson on guitar and mandolin and I did at least one DRB album cover and many shoots with Hillman and even more with Jorgenson over the years.

Funny that you mention the flour mill because that was our plan B backup location, which ended up being flooded. We can still get permission to go there and shoot so maybe that will be a good spot for Banshee in the Kitchen. And yes, we do get to Kernville because we have so many friends up there.





May 03, 2024 at 02:25 AM
jbush
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Kern River Band and Duke photographed in Kernville, Ca.


What beautiful images Peter, and great backstory to go with them. Although it was hot, it sounds like a dream day in the life of a music loving photographer.

Jon



May 11, 2024 at 07:59 AM
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