Deserts and Beyond

Deserts and beyond...places in and around the southern California deserts and beyond. Photo taken at Canyon Lake, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, December 2011. A few minutes later, after the sun disappeared, these cliffs were their normal color. They were only golden for a short time and I'm glad we were able to view them in their glory.






Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just a little sunshine and some blossoms!~SOOC 02=12911




As I drove up Highway 74 yesterday to go work my horses, I spotted several trees already blooming. I stopped by a church to take photos of this one. It's only JANUARY! ACK! We had a lot of rain here in the desert in December (over 4 inches), and now we're having warm weather. There are some lupine in bloom up on the road to the mountain and maybe I'll have a chance today to stop and take some closeups of them. SOOC Sunday for January 29, 2011. For other participants' photos, please visit: http://www.murrieta365.com/


Friday, January 28, 2011

Photographers~SkyWatch Friday 012711

As I was leaving the group of photographers out at Fonts Point, in Anza Borrego park, I glanced up to see other folks from the class out on a rise. The sun was setting and I caught this photo. SkyWatch Friday for January 27, 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ocotillo~Nature Notes 012711




This ocotillo is growing right off the road (see yesterday's post) in Anza-Borrego park. I walked down the road and caught sight of its roots. I have never seen an ocotillo's roots look like these! I believe that because of the wind, most of the soil has blown away. Yet, this plant hangs onto life. It has found a way to survive. To me, that was really incredible! Life overcomes adversity....Nature Notes for January 27, 2011. To visit other participants, please visit: http://ramblingwoods.com/


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dirt road~Outdoor Wednesday 012611


I like taking photos of roads. I often wonder where they will lead. Hubby and I enjoy taking side roads and we often find new worlds on them. This one was out by Font's Point, in Anza-Borrego, which is near the Salton Sea. I'd like to return and explore this area some more. We were lucky that Saturday was a warm, sunny January day! Outdoor Wednesday for January 26, 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Camera class update 01232011















Okay. I admit it. I cheated on these! I used my mountain setting on my camera. After a morning of manual settings, I was exhausted. My brain could no longer function! So, I went back to my old standard, either mountain or flower setting on my Nikon...I was so desperate to get a photo, ANY photo, that I cheated! Here are some photos from the class showing our instructor, Ernie Cowan. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Ernie and his wife, Katie, DO SO! They operate out of San Diego and I'll put the link in here. He's very "non-threatening", yet he answers all your questions. He came over and helped me with one of my macro shots, which I'll post for Monday. Unfortunately, I just couldn't assimiliate all the information and I either resorted to using the "A" (aparature priority) setting, or, once we got to Font's Point, the mountain or flower setting. For those of you who asked, if you take a class, they will carpool. Ernie told us, as we were leaving town, to double up and drive with someone who had a 4-wheel or a high clearance vehicle. No, do NOT attempt that road on your own! Hubby and I would NEVER have done it if we weren't in a caravan! NEVER, never, never!!!! Carolyn, maybe sometime we could go together? You just let me know when you are going to be down here! But, as you can see, the views are so worth it! I think next time I'd like to go early in the morning, what Ernie called the "golden hour", the hour right after sunrise. Okay, I'll go look for that link. Here are some of my photos which I cheated on! "SSssshhhhhh!!!!" Don't tell Ernie! :-) Here's the link to their workshops. They are all over California. Oh, and I should mention...it was the FIRST TIME another gal and I used manual settings EVER! She was as nervous as I was! Some of the other people were either professional photographers OR people involved in small businesses that needed to further understand their camera's possibilities. Really, hubby and I and that other woman were the only 3 in the class of 13 that were amateurs. I made sure that Ernie knew that from the beginning! One man had been a Sierra Club guide for years. Another gal used her camera for her jewelry business. Somebody else used to photograph car races! There was such a variety of people and we took time to introduce ourselves and tell what our photography level was during the class. Everyone knew I was a beginner and they were all very nice about it. I felt very comfortable during the class. Oh, and out of the 13 participants, I was the only one with a Nikon! Everybody else had some kind of Canon. I did notice, however, that both Ernie and Katie, his wife, carried Nikons.

Anza Borrego desert~Scenic Sunday and SOOC Sunday 012311




Hubby and I took a photo workshop out in the Anza-Borrego desert all day yesterday. I learned SO MUCH as a photographer. The first thing they said was for us to turn our cameras off "auto" and on to "manual". ACK! Now, I used to do this with my old Konica film camera and I was comfortable with it, but ("shhhh....!") I've NEVER done that with my digital one! I guess it was just laziness...??? Yes, I would just put it on auto and "point and shoot". Not anymore! Oh, and I had to use a tripod! Another 'ACK". Me? Schlepping a tripod around? But, everyone else there (including hubby) had a tripod, so I unwrapped my new one which I got for Christmas and set it up. First we did macro pics. Then, we drove out 4 miles to Fonts Point (you MUST have either a 4 wheel drive or a high carriage car like our XTerra for this road!). I even went sideways a couple of times and the other XTerra, which was following us, did too, but he never put his in 4 wheel drive! We ALL made it out to Fonts Point. From there, you can see all the way down through the Badlands to Mexico! :-) I just HAD to take a photo of another member of our group who hiked to a higher cliff (most of us were on this one). And, no, those aren't birds in the pics...I had dust on my polarizing lens! It was kind of dusty/hazy that afternoon, but I sort of like the effect. Scenic Sunday and SOOC Sunday for January 23, 2011. To visit Scenic Sunday, please stop by: http://scenicsunday.blogspot.com/. To visit Straight Out of the Camera Sunday, please visit: http://www.murrieta365.com/ Enjoy your Sunday!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cottonwoods and blue sky~SkyWatch Friday 012111

We've had beautiful, clear blue skies here in southern California the last several days. On Sunday, I drove up to work my horses and spotted these cottonwood trees along one road. I looked closer and saw some buds starting to come out on them, but for now they look bare against the blue sky. SkyWatch Friday for January 21, 2011.

Superstition Mountains~Nature Notes 012011











I don't know how many times we've driven BY the Superstition Mountains, Arizona, so Sunday they were our destination. Unfortunately we were shooting INTO the morning sun, so our photos didn't come out very well. But, we were able to take some pics of the surrounding plants and cacti. There were other people and families out on one of the trails, the birds were singing, the air was warm...aaahhhh....a beautiful day to enjoy nature! We are planning on returning next month and we'll plan our visit for late afternoon, when the sunlight is hitting the mountains. Nature Notes for January 20, 2011.




Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First wildflowers~That's My World 011811




We've had several days of warm, sunny days here in our desert and yesterday, when I headed up the hill to visit my horses, I saw my first blooming wildflowers! :-) They were along the road (Highway 74) and I counted 6 of them. I pulled over at one turnout and found this one and stopped to take a photo of it. We have another week of clear weather while this high pressure zone is over Southern California. Then...??? Who knows, but we sure are enjoying the blue sky and warm days! Several of the horses up at the ranch were taking "sun naps" when I arrived! That's My World for Tuesday, January 18, 2011.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Saguaros! Cactus Monday for January 17, 2011













Hubby and I traveled to Arizona and we couldn't head for home without a few photos of the giant saguaro cactus. We found these over at the Superstition Mountains state park. It was a cloudy and hazy day and we couldn't get a good angle on the mountains, unfortunately, so I don't have a decent photo of them! But, that just means we'll have to return for another trip! There are lots of saguaros in the park and I'm always intrigued by them. I'd love to find one with a little owl or woodpecker sticking out of one of the holes, but, that too shall have to wait until another time! Cactus Monday for January 17, 2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aspen and snow~Scenic Sunday 111611









Oh, gosh! I didn't realize that I hadn't posted for several days and all of a sudden, it's SUNDAY! Where did the time go? Hubby and I decided to drive over to Arizona for the weekend, since he is off work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and I have a 3 day weekend from school. So, we packed up the XTerra and off we went to the Desert Ridge Villas near Scottsdale. During breakfast, hubby said, "Let's go out to Taleisen West and take some photos," so off we went. Then he remarked that we should drive up to Payson and "maybe" drive up to the Mogollon Rim and then see how much snow was there...it turns out that there was a LOT of snow up on the rim. We stopped at our favorite aspen road and since the road was open and plowed, we drove down it. I'm glad we did! We found another grove of aspen in the snow and we stopped to photograph them against the white background. Today was just a case of "let's just GET IN THE CAR AND GO!" We really didn't have a plan or an agenda, we just WENT! I'm glad we did! :-) Scenic Sunday for January 16, 2011.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keys Point and tree branch~SkyWatch Friday 011311

This dead tree is out at Keys Point, which is the highest point in Joshua Tree National Park. That's Mt. San Jacinto, near Palm Springs, in the background. And, yes, look at our clear blue sky! No clouds here! SkyWatch Friday for January 13, 2011.

Whitewater Canyon Preserve windows~Window Views and Doors, Too 011311











There is a beautiful log building, the ranger station/visitor center up at the Whitewater Canyon Preserve and when I was there, I was fascinated by its windows. Aren't they gorgeous? That's an outside photo of it on top, but inside there are exhibits, meeting tables, and wooden chairs. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the view! Below the building are the fish ponds, full of trout. No, not for fishing!!! No fishing is allowed here as it is the hatchery. Toddlers like to feed the trout and as I sat looking at one pond, a group of them were being fed by a youngster whose parents were right there with him! The preserve is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Hubby and I would love to return right after a snow storm, but the temps this next week will be in the mid 70's!!! Window Views and Doors, Too for January 13, 2011.




Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Desert weather~Outdoor Wednesday 011211

We currently have a HIGH pressure system sitting over the Coachella Valley. Yesterday it was the coldest day of the week, with thin clouds, but today and the next several days will be clear and warm. It should be 77 degrees by next Tuesday! WOW! From mid-60's to 77 degrees in a week. Today should be 70 degrees, then 74, 75, 76, and finally 77 by early next week. I wish we could return to Joshua Tree and get another peek at our valley from Keys Point, like this one, but we'll be heading over to Arizona this weekend. Hubby got the weekend off and he wants to go to Scottsdale, so off we'll go! You can really see the San Andreas Fault in this photo, taken from Keys Point, in Joshua Tree National Park. The fault is the big ripple line in the middle of our valley. My school is only about 10 miles away from it and we practice earthquake drills every month. This fault runs along the Coachella Valley and we are constantly aware of it. Outdoor Wednesday for January 12, 2011. To visit other participants in Outdoor Wednesday, please visit: http://asoutherndaydreamer.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keys Point, Joshua Tree Natl Park~That's My World 011111











Hubby and I enjoy going to Joshua Tree National Park and we always stop by Keys Point. KP is the highest elevation in the park, at over 5,000 feet. You have a great view of the Coachella Valley from there. That's Mt. San Jacinto in the top and bottom photos, and hubby in the bottom one! The third photo shows Mt. Gorgornio. Big Bear and other ski resorts are on this mountain, as well as Arrowhead. I pointed toward the Salton Sea in the fourth photo, but the desert was having a terrific duststorm that day and we couldn't even see it! We ran into another dust storm on our way home through Palm Springs. Those things happen in the desert...it's part of my world! That's My World for Tuesday, January 11, 2011.




Monday, January 10, 2011

Joshua Tree rocks







Joshua Tree not only have joshua trees, but rocks, rocks, and more rocks! Hubby and I took a dirt road, one which we hadn't been on before, and we ended up across from the Keys Ranch. There were several hikers who had gathered that morning, so we turned around and parked near a wash. There were some trails there, so off we went! Hubby spotted this little hawk sitting nearby. I don't know what kind of hawk he is...maybe somebody can identify him? We hiked back into the wash until we came to large boulders and then turned around. It's hard for us to scramble over boulders when we have cameras dangling!!!