My trips to this hill last year were constrained by the limitations of gravity; bringing my drone with me this year opened up whole new vistas and geometries. The artificial nature of this water retention area is far more apparent when view from the air.
Today marks the start of the spring semester at many colleges and universities. A wistful look back at winter break and its associated festivities seemed appropriate.
Making it up to a good view in time to catch some sunset colors is great in any area, of course, but the open nature of desert landscapes means that at least I won’t miss the colors if I don’t make it all the way there.
This grand desert setting has a tiny bonus: can you spot the tiny walker in the foreground?
A hike through La Quinta Cove, like many hikes, is a mix of experiencing natural and human-adjusted forms. That’s normally more subtle on the east coast, but this desert hike shows the clear shapes of water retention and control structures carved into the landscape.
Erosion can be a major issue in areas with sparse vegetation; the areas supported by the roots of this small tree stand apart from the eroded absence-of-soil nearby.
The alien (to me) landscapes and strange life forms make the hike feel like exploring a strange new world.
Just before a snowstorm battered the northeast, we’ve escaped back to the desert. The rocks are craggy, the nights are weirdly cold, and there’s always a palm tree swaying in the distance.
Can you spot the tiny figures at the top of the hill? I’m confident that tiny figures produce a sense of grand scale in images—particular desert shots, like this one, where the inhuman nature of the place can make understanding the sizes of objects difficult. Nonetheless, I find myself wondering how small the figures in an image can be before the viewer loses the ability to recognize them as human.
My favorite images are those that contrast (apparently) natural and human-populated places. Escaping all of the noise of the holidays to a hike in the desert has a certain appeal at this time of year.
Nothing makes the incredible scale of a western landscape apparent like some tiny people navigating the scene.
A sunset Christmas Eve drive through the less-inhabited parts of Coachella Valley has to end eventually. The palm trees mark the seconds of the drive back into town.
The iconic arrays of white wind turbines at the northern end of Coachella Valley scatter whatever color of light is available—quite a blue situation as the sunset fades over the mountains.
Today, a completely different view of the tetrahedral sculpture at Bombay Beach that I’ve showcased previously. I really find this thing fascinating; placing it in greater landscape context takes away none of its surreal presence.
I guess there are worse tautological statements to make into a sign.
Fields of wind turbines in the California desert may seem like a futuristic addition, but a recent viewing of Rain Man (from 1988) reminded me that there have been wind turbines in this area for decades.
Whether water or earth, the nonlinear and irregular forms of nature are in stark contrast with the Bombay Beach tetrahedron’s straight lines and round connectors.