Sunday, May 21, 2017



I was asked to travel to Lancaster, CA, to judge the Lancaster Photography Association (LPA) spring assignment, "Desert Wildflowers and Desert Scenes". So off I went this past Tuesday, May 16th.

Lancaster is located in Northern Los Angeles County in the high desert region of the Western Mojave Desert. It is about a three hour drive from my home in San Diego. I left mid-morning after the morning commute. The drive went smoothly though it was quite windy. Before reaching Lancaster, I was attracted to Saddleback Butte State Park.

Saddleback Butte State Park is located about 15 miles East of Lancaster, and protects the butte and Joshua trees that dot the high desert landscape. Regrettably the wildflowers were mostly gone. I saw California coreopsis in bloom, a couple of very small blue flowers which were very much past their prime, and a variety of fiddleneck.  I hiked the Saddleback Butte Peak Trail starting from the campground. The trail was quite easy to follow though it was also quite sandy. Due to time constraints I had to turn around before reaching the peak, but I had a commanding view to the West where I stopped to enjoy a tangerine and some water before returning to my car.
Saddleback Butte

Joshua Tree in Saddleback Butte S.P.

Once in Lancaster I checked into my “no tell” Motel and then was off to an early dinner with members of the Lancaster Photography Association. Dinner was at the Greenhouse CafĂ©. The club’s meeting was at the Antelope Valley Senior Center which has a number of programs, and facilities for the Senior population to make use of. After the business meeting I was introduced and given the privilege of evaluating both prints and digitally projected images. Hopefully I gave a constructive critique and the makers learned a little from each image. Afterwards I was given a certificate of appreciation, a coffee mug with the LPA logo, and an honorarium to help defray the cost of my travel to and from Lancaster.

 My eye glasses had broken down in that one of the screws holding the ear bar had fallen out. I was able to stop at a drug store on my way back to the motel for a repair kit, and then with the help of the desk clerk at the motel got them repaired so that I could use them for reading, etc. I had them checked and retightened by my optometrist when I got home.

Wednesday morning I was off before sunrise to get to Red Rock State Park which is located about 55 miles North of Lancaster. I had driven through it once before as CA-14 runs right through the park. 

Highlighted Clouds

I did not make it to the park for sunrise, but was not too late to capture low light on the formations around Hagen Canyon. I had been delayed in part by the phenomenal rainbows that were to the West of the highway. Though I did not get rained upon, the low clouds and light mist worked to create some beautiful rainbows.
Double Rainbow and Windmills

Rainbow and Windmills

The cliffs at Red Rock State Park are the result of wind and rain eroding the softer materials beneath the dark caprocks which were formed by a harder lava flow layer.  
Red Rock Canyon Wall

Cloud and Rolling Hills
It was very windy this morning with wind speeds of 25 plus mph. Several times I really got blown around, and the sand also was blowing but generally just at ground level. Though I did not explore much of the park on foot due to the wind, I did enjoy my time there photographing the landscape and enjoying the quiet of the desert.

Hagen Canyon Formation

Hagen Canyon, A Closer View

Layers, Hagen Canyon

Low Cliff, High Cloud
Early this morning I discovered that I had lost my “Tillie Hat” out of the car. I figured that when the back of the car was open that it must have blown out!! Where could it be? The last I remember seeing it and debating using it or a sun bonnet was at Saddleback Butte. So after getting a coffee in Mojave and then having my breakfast in the car as it was too windy to be enjoyable outside, I decided that on my way home I would take the time to swing back by Saddleback Butte S.P. to see if it was there or that the camp host had picked it up. I refueled before I left Palmdale.

The luck of the Irish was with me!! When I drove into the park and stopped almost exactly where I had parked yesterday, lo and behold there was the hat sitting right on the ground, not having been moved by the wind or a critter!!  To say the least, I was very happy.
High Desert and Rainbow
The drive home went smoothly and the traffic was moving quite smoothly. I was home in time for a late lunch. I will have to return to the area at an earlier spring time for desert wildflowers, poppy fields, and further exploration of the various parks in the area.