Monday, March 27, 2017


Last week, mid-March, I came through Anza-Borrego State Park on my way home from a photo weekend at the Salton Sea. Though the traffic leaving Borrego Springs was a bad experience, the flower show that the desert was putting on was well worth it. 

Desert Lily

Desert Garden 1
Desert Lily 2

Near San Felipe Wash

Desert Five Spot
Barrel Cactus Bloom
Sand Verbena

Sand Verbena

Desert Bouquet of Sand Verbena and Dune Evening Primrose

Desert Flower Garden

Henderson Canyon Bloom

Drying Desert Floor

Dune Evening Primrose
Green Hills and Borrego Traffic

 So I decided I had to go back for another look and explore. I contacted my hiking buddies, Chris and Myrna, and they were all for the adventure. It was a long day with departing from my house at 0600, and getting home about 1730. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

We were at the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail Head about 0830, and there were only a couple of parking spaces left. We opted to go up the Alternate Route, which is on the South side of the Canyon even though we were told it was a harder route. I did not want to hike on the main route due to the numbers of people using that trail.

My choice was excellent as very shortly after starting up the trail a herd of about 12 big-horned sheep rams came down off the ridge. Eventually they came within 10 yards of the trail!! It was quite a show, and I got some good photos....

On The Move
Face Off
I'm Coming
Ram Group
Young One

This Looks Like a Tasty Morsel

Breakfast Nibble


Checking Out the Buffet

Ram Portrait

Enjoying a Bite

What Is Over There?

Happy Young Ram

There were members of a Riverside camera club there as well. Chris noticed that they got wrapped up in the moment, and left camera bags open and strewn around the trail. If she had a mind to she probably could have walked off with some nice and expensive gear.

We spent close to a half hour watching and photographing them, before moving on up the trail toward the grove at the head of Borrego Palm Canyon. We thoroughly enjoyed the flower show this year. The desert was green, the ocotillo was lush, the side canyons were beautiful in their mixtures of textures and colors. 

Ocotillo and Brittlebush

Desert Landscape

Brittlebush Garden

Rock Garden
When we reached the junction with the main trail we opted to return to the trailhead. It had gotten quite warm and it was already past noon. We all needed a break from the heat.

Along the return we met up with one of the Interpretive Rangers who was starting up the trail to monitor the activities of the big-horned sheep and the actions  of hikers along that trail. Chris recognized her from her training there a couple of years ago, so we had a nice conversation regarding the sheep and the actions of the public along the trail. A concern for her as well as at MTRP is the inconsiderate use of drones these days.

Back near the car, we found a covered ramada and table which we used to enjoy our lunch. Afterwards we headed for Henderson Canyon Road to take in the large flower field of verbena, primrose, desert sunflower, .....
Verbena Expanse

Desert Sunflower Show
Desert Sunflower and Creosote Bush

and sphinx caterpillars that were beginning to gorge themselves on the flowers. 
Sphinx Caterpillar Nibbling

Looking for More

This Is How It Is Done

Intent on Getting More
Sphinx Caterpillar

This activity attracts the Swainson’s hawks as they fly through the area on their long migration  from Argentina to the interior of Alaska.

We headed home about 1500, and again chose the Banner Grade/Cuyamaca route. The traffic was moderate, though it had been quite busy in the town of Borrego Springs. We all agreed that it had been a very enjoyable time, and well worth the effort.

Hope you find some beautiful spring bloom in your area.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Met up with fellow photographers from Darkroomers Camera Club for a weekend of photography at the Salton Sea.

I opted to join a couple of others who were camping at Wiest Lake Campground, near Calipatria. There is a small lake there and hook-ups for RVs. I was tent camping and set up next to my friend Rich and four others for the weekend. I was able to join them for dinners and take advantage of their cooler RV during the day when the outside temperatures reached into the high 90’s.

Friday afternoon we had an early dinner where I contributed a much needed sharp knife and cutting board, as well as a bottle of wine. Afterwards we headed for Bombay Beach for sunset. This beach area is North of Niland on the East side of the Salton Sea. We had a lovely sunset with absolutely calm water that made a perfect mirror. It was lovely.

Salton Sea w/Sunset Sky

Enjoying The Moment
Salton Sea and Sky

Peaceful Reflection, Salton Sea

 Afterwards we stuck around to take a couple of night shots of a beached boat which we lit with flashlights both inside and out.

Boat and Moon

Saturday morning there was no particular sunrise color so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading off in search of burrowing owls. We found several and were able to get some nice
photos of them. We had hoped to photograph some migrating birds, but most of them had departed North about a week before we got there.

Long-billed Curlew
Afterwards we drove to see Salvation Mountain. It is located Northeast of Niland, and a few miles from the Salton Sea. The artwork is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. Salvation Mountain was created by local resident Leonard Knight (1931–2014). It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, though its philosophy was built around the Sinner's Prayer. It was interesting to view, but not a subject for my photography.

We returned to our camp, enjoyed a light lunch, then enjoyed a nap. I went off afterwards to photograph sunset at the “Three Sisters”, three dead trees that stand out on the pan. They used to be sitting in the water of the Salton Sea.

Sunday morning I went off to photograph sunrise at Bombay Beach. Regrettably I missed the best of it due to changes in time from standard to daylight. I was able to photograph a few shore birds before returning to Wiest Lake.

Black-Necked Stilt
Black-Necked Stilt
Willet Pair
Great Blue Heron

After a quick breakfast, I packed up my gear and headed home via Anza-Borrego State Park where the spring flower show was in full bloom. The Spring Bloom was spectacular with lots of Desert Lilies, Verbena, Desert Sunflowers, Desert primrose, and Popcorn flower just to name a few. When I stopped and walked a short distance from the road (SR78) the air was full of the spring bloom. (Pictures will be in the next edition on Anza-Borrego. :-))

Regrettably I got caught up in the traffic in town and slowly crawled up Montezuma Valley Road to San Felipe Road. I opted to go around the congestion and went over to the Banner Grade Road, and then connected with SR79 South to I-8.
It was still worth it to see the flowers and the show that they put on. I will be going back in a week for another look and a hike up Borrego Palm Canyon.