I joined a group of photographers from Darkroomers Camera Club last weekend for a trip to Borrego Springs. About eight of us opted to camp off of Rock House Road. Several people came out with their RV’s, while four of us were tent camping. I went out on Thursday afternoon, and returned Sunday morning after breakfast.
The drive out was pleasant and it was a beautiful day driving through Cuyamaca State Park, and then down Banner Grade into Borrego. I set up my camp about 100 yards from the RV’s so that I would have some privacy. I joined Rich, his wife, Linda, and Roger for a corned beef and cabbage dinner cooked by Roger.
During the evening as we enjoyed our dinner the wind started to pick up. We planned to go to Font’s Point for Milky Way Photography at 0300, and set our alarms accordingly. However the wind had gotten quite strong by then, so we all went back to bed. All was not quiet in my tent as it was being buffeted quite a bit by the wind. Did not get much sleep that first night.
|SUNRISE IN CAMP|
On Friday, after battening down the tent and table, I was off to rove the area with my camera. I visited Henderson Canyon Road for its field of sunflowers, primrose, and verbena.
|BEAVERTAIL CACTUS BLOSSOM|
It was a good bloom, but not very dense with blossoms. Then I visited the Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association store before heading on over to the Visitor Center where there was a good variety of flora, and color. Probably the most intense flower for color was the indigo bush which has a beautiful deep purple color. Beavertail cactus, barrel cactus, and cholla were also in bloom.
When I returned to camp I spent some time making sure all of the tent poles were secure, etc.
Tonight’s dinner was private and simple with two leftover tofu burritos that I brought along and heated in my small frying pan. They were supplemented with some miniature peppers, and carrots. The wind was still blowing and getting stronger as the night progressed. Once again we planned to go to Font’s Point in the morning. The wind really picked up and my tent was bending quite a bit with the wind. Result: little sleep. At 0300 it was still blowing hard so that trip was cancelled once again. I had trouble exiting my tent because of the force of the wind.
|MORNING WIND, SATURDAY, 0530|
Saturday morning it was still blowing! The group of 12, was meeting in town for breakfast, and so I joined them. We ate at Kendall’s Café, and because we were there before the main breakfast crowd we got in and out in a timely manner.
After breakfast, Rich, Cynthia, and I went to Henderson Canyon, and to the HAWK WATCH site. There is major migration of Swainson’s Hawks through Borrego Valley this time of year as they fly from South America to their summer home in Alberta, Canada. They stop and feast on the caterpillar of the sphinx moth which are abundant. I was able to get a few photos of the hawks, though they were quite a distance away.
Cynthia and I then went up the start of Coyote Canyon to see how the flowers were there. Again there was a good show, and we enjoyed wandering about and taking pictures. The ocotillo was also in bloom, and blowing in the wind! Got a few pictures of desert dandelion, desert sunflower, beavertail cactus, barrel cactus, desert pincushion, and gold poppy.
|DESERT GARDEN W/ PINCUSHION & CACTI|
|BEAVERTAIL BLOSSOM AND BUD|
Back in camp, it was time to straighten up camp, reattach the tent to the poles, and once again tie things down. I also was able to take about an hour nap, which was much needed. Once again Roger treated us to dinner, this time pork loin tenderloin BBQ. Afterwards we went off to pick a Sky Art metal statue created by Ricardo Breceda to use for a foreground for Milky Way photography in the morning.
We settled on the two sparing borregos.
|SPARING BORREGOS WITH JUPITER OVERHEAD|
After some practice shots there with the group, we headed back to camp for a couple of hours of sleep. It was still blowing, and my tent was swaying, so I collapsed the tent and settled into my car. It was a bit cramped due to the other gear the car, but I did get some sleep in the quiet of the vehicle.
Sunday morning came early….0245. In 15 minutes, I was dressed and off to photograph the Milky Way. It was a beautiful clear morning, and where we were set up we had no light pollution from the town. We were standing down slope from the Borrego, so we were also protected from the wind. We watched and photographed as the Milky Way rose and created a nice composition framed by the borrego for two hours. It was fun and as you can see, quite beautiful.
|MILKY WAY AND BORREGOS|
|SPARING BORREGO AND MILKY WAY|
|MILKY WAY BEFORE DAWN|
I got about an hour nap back in camp, before I started to break camp and pack the car. (The wind was still blowing, but not as hard as before.) After my camp breakfast of yogurt and granola, I headed for home. Along the way I stopped for coffee in Borrego Springs, (The power went out as I waited to make my order, so no mocha, but still some real coffee.)
As per tradition, I also stopped at Dudley’s for some of their bread for us and a neighbor.
It was a good trip, and I am looking forward to my upcoming trip to Saguaro N. P., and Organ Pipe N. M. for their spring bloom. Will also be exploring a couple of Slot Canyons in the Page area, as well as White Pocket.