Photography . . . Travel . . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Trip to Anza Borrego - More Sandstone and Cactus

Another trip to Anza Borrego, this time on Saturday 3/27, and we followed the same route I took on 3/23. This time I had a few more people along, including my cousin in his new Tacoma, some friends in their new Jeep, and another friend from the Xterra club. After the usual stops at Split Mountain we hiked up to the Wind Caves before continuing on to Sandstone Canyon.

Here's the view of Fish Creek (the sandy wash in the low point of the picture, which is where we were parked) from the Wind Caves. The temperature was really not all that bad, but it was still a long, hot, dusty hike; the wind helped keep the temps down but did blow a lot of sand around.

We found a shady spot to stop for lunch. On the way out, we had stopped to pick up a freshly baked Dutch Apple pie at the Julian Pie Company in Santa Ysabel.

Here's our little caravan lined up in Sandstone Canyon.

View from the driver's seat as we made our way out of Sandstone Canyon.

We made a stop at the Cactus Garden off of Harper Canyon and Kane Springs Road, just as the sun was getting low in the sky.

We hit the pavement at Hwy 78 just as the sun was setting, and made our way over to the little Italian restaurant at the Borrego Springs Airport. None of us had tried it before . . . it was actually pretty good, and a great way to end a beautiful day in the desert.

Click here to see more images from Saturday in Fish Creek, Sandstone Canyon and the Cactus Garden at Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sandstone Canyon, Fish Creek, and the Cactus Garden . . . another day in Anza Borrego

I spent Tuesday in the desert with a friend from the local photo club. We traveled off-road 12.5 miles up sandy Fish Creek Wash to the start of narrow Sandstone Canyon, then another 2.5 miles until you have to turn around and head back the way you came. The geology of the area is quite amazing, and the added bonus of the wildflowers in bloom made for a great photography day.

Here is the "anticline" at Split Mountain, an exposed section of pressure bends in the sandstone. That little green plant has been there for at least the 4 plus years that I've been coming out here, and it has some nice purple flowers right now.

Fish Creek Wash goes from a wide alluvial fan to a narrow cut through Split Mountain (seen below) then back to a wide sandy wash before it narrows again as it approaches Sandstone Canyon.

A few miles in we spotted some nice Desert Lily and what I think are Phacelia.

It's amazing where these things will grow.

Sandstone Canyon gets narrow in places. That rock to the left of the Xterra is a new addition to the canyon floor, it wasn't there in November of 2009 when I was last here.

When I first came here in January of 2006 we drove through this section seen below. More recently it's been closed to vehicles.

The view looking up is pretty cool (just try not to think about that new rock sitting in the middle of the trail, and how it got there).

On the way back out of Sandstone Canyon.

Best to keep hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. That sandstone may look soft and smooth, but it's like coarse sandpaper.

Back in Fish Creek on our way out we spotted even more interesting geology. I wonder how much longer this thing will be sitting up there.

After airing up the tires in the shade of Split Mountain we made our way over to the Cactus Garden located at the start of the Harper Canyon trail just south of Old Kane Springs Road. By the time we got there the sun was low in the sky, which made for some great lighting. I was in this same spot on Sunday, but at mid-day, with completely different light.

I think the backlit cactus made for some of the best views of the day.

The sun was just setting as we started back to San Diego. I'll probably be back out here on Saturday and Sunday, taking advantage of the weather before it gets too hot.

Click here to see lots more images from Fish Creek, Sandstone Canyon and the Cactus Garden areas of Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cactus Flowers . . . and more.

I made a quick trip out to Anza Borrego on Sunday to do some photography. My original plan was to go to Sandstone Canyon, but it was pretty late by the time I finally got out there so I wandered down Old Kane Springs Road (from Hwy 78) to the Cactus Garden instead. I drove a little ways up Harper Canyon through the cactus, but not all the way to the end this time, as there were a lot more exposed rocks on the trail compared to when I was there last year, and I didn't want to risk it traveling alone. The cactus are starting to bloom nicely, and this area has a huge variety.

There were lots of little wildflowers as well.

From Old Kane Springs Road there is an unnamed road that tracks north and connects to Hwy 78 right where Buttes Pass Road starts its northward track. I took Buttes Pass Road north, stopped in Hawk Canyon briefly for lunch, then continued north to San Felipe Wash, where I turned around and headed back the way I came. After a brief detour partway up the Goat Trail (just to see where it went, and what the condition of the trail was) I eventually followed Borrego Mountain Road as far as the top of the Dropoff.

I found a nice shady spot in Hawk Canyon for lunch. It was a bit overcast but still warm out in the sun, temps were in the low to mid-80's.

Lots of color in Hawk Canyon. Lots of people and even a huge motorhome too. It was getting a bit crowded so I didn't hang around. Quite a change from Old Kane Springs Road and the Cactus Garden, where I saw no one.

I finally found a spot from which to look down into the canyon we were driving in a few weeks ago. Coming in from the north Borrego Mountain Wash eventually gets too narrow to drive in and becomes a hiking path called The Slot. In this picture you can see part of the driveable section. (See my posts from Feb 15th and Jan 2nd for pictures from the drive and inside The Slot).

You can't actually see the path (The Slot) in this shot, it's at the bottom of the chasm. This is actually one of the wider sections.

This has been a particularly good year to see the Desert Lily. The area along Borrego Mountain Road has quite a few.

Time to head for home.

Click here to see more from Sunday.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Balboa Park

We spent part of the day wandering around Balboa Park with some friends. It was warm and bright, and there were lots of people. No shortage of flowers in bloom right now.

We rode the little train that's just outside the Zoo.

Click here to see more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Late Afternoon Walk Around Balboa Park

Balboa Park has to be one of the best places in San Diego for a late afternoon walk. There is almost always something going on, and this time of year the flowers are especially nice. 

That blurry effect was not done with software by the way, that's just a shallow depth of field from using a large aperture.

The Alcazar Garden has a new batch of flowers, they replant it several times a year to match the seasons.

I found some interesting compositions and some old statues in the courtyard of one of the buildings.

More flowers, this time from the Zoro Garden.

One of the things I noticed when we were at the Botanical Garden yesterday (see the previous blog post) was that most everyone, myself included, seemed to always be trying to find flowers that had perfect form. No dust spots, not petals out of place, no splotchy color. Today I spotted several of these little purple flowers that are well along in making their way into the food chain, and thought that what was left of this one was just as good looking, in its own way, as a perfectly formed one.

I'll close with the last shot that I took today, just before I left the Park to head home to make dinner. It's the leaf of a flax plant, backlit by the late afternoon sun.

For those that wonder about such things, these were all shot with the Pentax K20D and the DA35 Macro lens, handheld.

Click here for more images from my walk around Balboa Park this afternoon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

San Diego Botanical Garden - SD-DSLR March Group Shoot

The weather this morning was perfect for the San Diego DSLR club's monthly group shoot, which this month was held at the San Diego Botanical Gardens, in Encinitas. One of the great things about botanical gardens is that everything is labeled so you know what you're looking at. I remembered that bit of information right after I left the place, which is why I've not provided the names of any of the flowers below.

I do know that this first one is a succulent of some sort.

There is a pond in the Bamboo Garden that has a few bullfrogs in it. We saw at least four of them, but the glare on the water and position of the sun made it tough to get a decent shot.

I got drafted into taking the group photo this month.

Click here to see more shots from this morning at the San Diego Botanical Garden (formerly known as the Quail Botanical Garden.

Click here for the gallery page from the SD-DSLR Group website to see what the other people in the group came up with.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Digging Up Some History - Old Images Scanned

I recently dug out a bunch of old slides that date back as far as 1979 and "scanned" them with a dSLR (by putting each slide on a lightbox and taking a photo of it with a macro lens). Here are few, with links to more.

On a hot summer day in 1984 at the San Diego Zoo, people were feeding ice to the elephants.

A young cheetah hiding in the grass at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, in Escondido, California. Taken sometime in the late 80's or early 90's, shot through a chain link fence.

Taken from the rear seat of a double kayak on San Diego Bay, as the afternoon fog rolls into the Bay, in 1990.

Click here to see more images from this group, mostly from the U.S. and BC, Canada.

Fishing boat sitting in the middle of Xlendi Bay, on the island of Gozo, Malta, taken in June of 1980. The water was so clear that you can see the the shadow of the boat on the floor of the bay. The colors of the Kodachrome slides on these next two shots look as good today as they did almost 30 years ago.

Another Maltese fishing boat, this one at Marsalforn Harbor, also on the island of Gozo, Malta in June of 1980.

The view leaning out the window of a late afternoon train somewhere in central Sicily, June of 1980.

A quiet afternoon view in Interlaken, Switzerland, taken in May of 1990.

Click here to see more images originally shot on slide film while on various trips to Europe between 1979 and 2000.

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.