This high desert area in north Los Angeles County features prehistoric sandstone rock formations.
This photograph celebrates a fun moment from an engagement session that I photographed at Vasquez Rocks.
Jimmy and Kyle are an engaged couple reenacting a battle scene inspired by a popular Star Trek episode from the late 60s. Jimmy stands ready wearing a Gorn mask and monster hands while Kyle opposes him playing the role of Kirk. The famous rocky outcropping of Vasquez Rocks is visible in the background.
When I explained the significance of their chosen location to Trekkies around the world, Jimmy and Kyle adopted my suggestion of incorporating Star Trek props into their portraits and they purchased the mask and hands you see in this photo.
Permits are not required at Vasquez Rocks for individual portraits, family portraits, or engagement sessions. Commercial or editorial photography will require a permit.
If your event includes 40 or fewer guests, you can hold your wedding ceremony at Vasquez Rocks.
There are several important considerations when you're planning a wedding at Vasquez Rocks. They include:
Vasquez Rocks is a popular park and visitors are usually present throughout the day. Since the location is open to the public, visitors will be roaming everywhere and some folks may not be considerate of your ceremony and will appear in your wedding photos. To help avoid this potential issue, choose an early morning ceremony start time when the park gate is still closed. Although the park is open from sunrise to sunset, the gate doesn't open until 8:00 AM and that will likely allow you some measure of privacy.
Although small ceremonies are allowed at Vasquez Rocks, you'll need to hold your reception at a different location as those kinds of events aren't permitted.
This desert location takes its name from the notorious bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez. He often used the rock formations as a hideout. The small caves, crevices, and overhangs made the area difficult for any posse hot on this trail. The tallest rock formation is 150-feet high and was a great lookout point.
Vasquez was an active outlaw in in California from 1854 until 1874. Some of his most notable crimes include horse rustling, burglaries, cattle thefts, highway robbery, and four bloody prison breaks.
The end of his story came when he was cornered by a posse in 1874 at a ranch located in an area now known as the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. He was subsequently sentenced to hang for murder. This undated portrait photograph of a Tiburcio Vasquez makes you wonder at what his eyes have seen.
Pop culture refers to the ideas, perspectives, and images that influenced or were influenced by mainstream culture. In addition to books and news sources, popular culture is most heavily influenced by film, television, and more recently music videos.
For this reason and given the importance of Vasquez Rocks in those media, we can see that this location has been an influencer for almost 100 years.
Vasquez Rocks is a great choice for filmmakers due to its proximity to Hollywood. This desert location first appeared in a movie during the opening scene for the 1935 horror flick “A Werewolf in London.” Here’s a list of just a few of the more recognizable movies that were filmed at Vasquez Rocks.
As you might guess, Vasquez Rocks was first seen on the small screen as Hollywood’s go-to western backdrop. The subtle irony is that it really was an old west backdrop in real life which is the perfect example of art imitating life. The earliest western TV shows filmed here include The Texas Ranger (1931) and Son of the Border (1933).
Although Vasquez Rocks has been an incredibly popular filming location, it's perhaps most famous because of it's use in the 1967 Star Trek episode titled "The Arena."
Bobby Clark was the uncredited actor inside the Gorn suit. His filmography also also includes work as a stunt man on Gunsmoke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Virginian, and many other films and TV shows during the 60s and 70s.