Mountains and hillsides in Coachella Valley are a rocky, scrubby desert so long as they stay sufficiently sloped; the moment they reach the flat ex-lake valley floor, the housing developments begin.
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.
Christmas Sunset Together
At the Top
Exploring La Quinta Cove
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.
Creosote on Christmas
Tiny Figures and Big Rocks
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.
Off for a Hike
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.
Descending the Trail
Palms Back Into Town
Pyramid at Sea
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.