Sunday, February 28, 2010



It was the large setting moon low over the San Ysidro mountains that cast it's long, almost horizontal moonbeams through the windshield of our Motorhome & gently alighted on my waking eyelids.  A new dawn was about to begin.


I was glad to see a clear morning with stars visible.  Weatherman had been calling for a windy rainy day but so far in the early morn it had not yet arrived.  Tossed my camera gear into the car & was out the door headed for Borrego Springs by 6:30.  First time I've seen the  night time lights of Borrego.  There were a couple cars already parked in front of the Borrego Desert Nature 
Center where everyone was meeting for the desert hands on photo class.  Photographer Leo Larsen & wife Helen rolled in a few minutes later & introductions went around.  Leo & Helen are from San Diego & Leo was a Park Ranger in Wyoming's Grand Teton mountains for 30 years. 

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Twenty minutes later all were present & we were in our cars with headlights on convoying 5 miles east of Borrego Springs to an area known as, The Dunes.  Cars were parked & we headed out on foot across small sandy dunes to an area of larger dunes.  The awakening sky was nothing short of spectacular.  A weather front moving in over the San Ysidro mountains to the west had brought with it huge storm clouds loaded with darkened moisture.   The breaking morning sun cast it's long tentacles of crayoned colors into the clouds & onto the mountaintops.  Probably one of the finest mornings I have seen for a very long time. 

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We gathered in the lee of a large 15 foot sand dune while John gave a short talk on the importance of light, contrasts, composition, location, & preparation.  I could tell by his words & his equipment, he was a true professional dedicated to the finer arts of photography.  Leo still prefers to work in the film format & his technical knowledge was well beyond the rest of us mere mortals gathered there.  With that having been said, about a dozen or more avid photo bugs scurried off in all directions in search of their own personal photographic morning.

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The 360 degree panoramic view across the valley was beautiful and especially so towards the town of Borrego Springs about 5 miles to the west tucked up against the San Ysidro mountains.  To the south I could see all the way toward the Yaqui Pass probably 20 miles or more away.  A slight rainbow in the San Ysidro's as clouds began to filter down onto the mountain tops & into the canyons.   Rain approached in the dark gray & almost burgundy colored mists.  This was truly an exceptional morning.


Leo had explained earlier that the mornings class was originally geared for photographing desert flowers but with the lateness of bloom this year the emphasis had shifted to a sunrise opportunity in the sand dunes.  Nevertheless, after wrapping up our shoot in the dunes we all walked back to our vehicles, piled in, & drove the short distance to Henderson Canyon where many great desert bloom photographs have been taken over the years.  But, as Leo & wife Helen explained, that was when the blooms were in their heyday 15 to 20 years ago.  Those days are long gone now Helen explained because of several factors.  The Saharan Mustard plant has somehow taken foot in southern California & is slowly choking out many native species.  Environmental factors may have taken it's affects as well.  The glory flower days may be gone but there is still plenty of color to see & plenty of color to come in the next few weeks.  This morning's excursion took us to patches of Sand Verbena, Brown Eyed Evening Primrose, Desert Sunflowers, Desert Lilies, & Dune Evening Primrose.  And amongst all these colorful flowers grew the dreaded spreading Sahara Mustard plant.  

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Our sojourn into the flower patches along Henderson Canyon road was cut short as sheets of graying rain clouds finally made their way across the valley to our very location.  Camera's were quickly packed up, a few hasty goodbyes, a couple of handshakes, & I was back in my car with the windshield wipers going heading the short distance back to our rig.  This mornings photo shoot will be one of those scenic memories in time which will remain with me for many years.  It was a special morning with a group of people I will never see again & a canopy of moody morning storm clouds that will only ever remain in peoples memories & photographs.



LAURIE  brought up an interesting thought in a blog comment last night.  She asked, "Is that REALLY why you blog? Would you quit blogging if you didn't get comments from readers? If you thought no one was reading?" 

I guess my short answer to that question is yes.  Blogs can be different things to different people.  I have often been a person of logs & journals over the years so it came naturally for me to connect that with the blogging craze a few years ago.  The blog is, amongst other things, a daily diary into the life of myself & those around me.  I enjoy looking back over the years to see different events & times I have written about.  It gives me personal 'way points' in my life.  My first written recordings actually began back in the late 50's & I still have those.  Blogging is also a great form of communication for friends & families.  I don't write nearly as many emails to people anymore because everything is right here in the blog.  I still write a daily blog even when we are not traveling because it gives me a focus & purpose each day.  It's a perfect format for blending together my hobbies of writing & photography.



For me, a blog is the perfect example of a two way street.  Because of this blog my mind is alive each day thinking of ideas, events, & points of interest.  A fellow blogger awhile back mentioned how much he likes windmills so now I watch for interesting windmills along the way.  Some folks are bird people so my eyes & ears are on the hunt for birds.  Flower people give me purpose & pleasure as I tramp around fields with senses more attuned to flowers than ever before.  All of these things plus countless more give me purpose.  It is the little things in some of the comments that give me ideas.  It is the emails from people that give me the inspiration to get off my can & head off to a car show, or photo class, or a historical location, or to an event of some kind that I may not have ordinarily attended.  It is the readers of the blog that I owe my re-newed interest in photography & It is the readers of the blog who have restored my writing interests.   I may have included fellow bloggers in blanket coverage opinions before so I had better reel that in & keep those opinions directed at myself.  Every blogger has their own reasons for their blogs.


This morning's early start led to a lazy afternoon.  The weather closed in, temps dropped, rain came down & the winds picked up.  Seemed like a good day for inside stuff so that's just what I did.  Sat down in my chair & fell asleep.  The dog alarms went off about 1 o'clock with the gang rumbling out the door & down the steps barking their heads off.  My head had already fallen off in my lap so it took me a few seconds to get things reattached again.  Kelly was out the door & I heard her say something like, "Hello Bill."  Despite my sleepy state I knew instantly that WANDERING WILLY had just rode into town.

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Well, what a great pleasure it was to finally meet another blogger who we have been in contact with for over a year now. WW is on our current blog list & we follow his adventures.  This is a soft spoken mild mannered man & it was so great to finally meet him.  Had ourselves a chat for bit & then he set up his rig just behind us off to the right.  We were both out taking photos a couple hours later when sheets of rain could be seen descending on Borrego Springs down in the valley.  It wasn't long & the cooling winds blew that rain in our direction & we all headed for our rigs. 

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After a long & sometimes difficult trip deep into Mexico this winter WW is only about 4 days away from British Columbia & anxious to get home.  I imagine we will be getting close to that very same feeling in another month or so...............................:((



I didn't get Friday's Christmas Circle photos into an album today but will try again tomorrow along with the rest of today's photos.

Just received a comment in our blog from a fellow by the name of Barney in which he said......"As far as I am concerned your posting of candid pictures of folks is far more intrusive in another person life than a few campers within what you consider your special space out in the desert. Legally in the USA you need a models release for those pictures taken without permission."

Well, looks like I've got myself into the soup again....:((

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GROANER'S CORNER:((  What do you call a country where the people drive only pink cars?
A pink carnation.



The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. Al, I have to say your photographs (can't just call them pics) of flowers are amazing. Truly, they are. I almost feel as if I could reach out and touch one and feel the softness of the petals.

    I also have to admit that since reading your blog for the past several months, I feel a new interest in seeing the world without that "critical eye" you wrote about in the fall. I've also noticed that, although my photography skills are limited as is my equipment, I am always out there looking for something to shoot. You have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to many bloggers and readers of blogs. Thanks for taking so much time to put together the great posts that you do.

  2. Don't worry too much about Barney.
    He has a point...perhaps mixed with just a little bit of jealousy?...or maybe he was one of those noisy, obnoxious invaders the other day? Or maybe he is just an opinionated guy leaving an opinionated opinion on an opinionated guy's blog? Anyway, the photos of strangers might only be a problem if you were trying to sell them...there's a lot of gray area there, I know. If someone ever visits your blog and says "HEY! You have a photo of me on your blog and I don't want it there!"...I'm sure you would simply remove it and say "ooops, sorry, no harm meant", or something like that. Right?

    And yes, we all have our own reasons for our blogs. I started ours as a way to show our family members and friends where and how we are on this new journey in our lives as RVers, but, then I saw that many other people were visiting our blog and I kind of got a kick out of that, and yes it does indeed give you something to look forward to and it definitely stirs those creative juices. I don't know where I'm going with our blog yet, I'm still working on finding my "rhythm", but, I am having fun with it.
    Carry on being yourself Al.
    - Mary Ann :-)

  3. I think that question you were asked is a good one to cause everyone that blogs to think about why they do it.

    For us we started it because we were asked to by readers of our posts on a forum.

    So I just started writing stuff. I had no idea what I was doing or really even why.

    Now that we have been doing it for a while it is something that I enjoy very much. Particularly due to the emails and comments we get from our posts.

    But more importantly the story we are telling ourselves. Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote and I find myself somewhat surprised at my own reactions to things.

    Just like you said it puts you on a "scavenger hunt" of sorts each day to pay attention to the things around you that might have simply passed by never noticed.

    Before I started blogging I had read your blog and realized there was so much more to it than just words and pictures.

    The way you have done it is a continuing story that by your words gets the readers to generate their own pictures in their minds.

    You do have a gift for word and images that when put together create a theater in the mind.

    Quite frankly it is YOU that is the inspiration for people like me that blog.

    You set a standard to follow -- not so much in what you write and photograph but more so the end result you achieve.

    I bet you could write about changing a light bulb and by the time you were done the reader would be surprised at all the facets involved and would enjoy watching it from all angles of your camera.

    The really neat thing is -- for you to do this -- all you do is be yourself!

    Ken and Nanette

  4. Yup Al, you got your flower photo people, your bird photo people, well we are followers of the boondocking photo people group! We sure enjoy your boondocking choices and quest for quiet and solitude and great places in the desert!!! It is very important to us- (as I sit here watching the snow come down again)

    Karen and Steve

  5. it's OK for someone you know to park "too" close to your personal space, but not OK if you don't know them??

    I really liked the dune pictures with the mountains in the distance. Great composition with the footprints leading one into the picture!

  6. Al, your writings brings us a sense of adventure.

    The way you paint the beauty of the dessert through your photographs takes us to every bluff, mountain and valley as if we were right there in the moment, enjoying the incredible scenery our country has to offer.



  7. Al, the photos you took of the sand dunes were really spectacular and I truly mean that--I felt like I could step into the photos--as we say in the south, you done good! As for photographing people unaware--you take great photos of people in gatherings such as the one we attended at your's and Kelly's rig in the KOFA area--I don't photograph well but you got some candid shots of me I actually liked. With that said--what is the gray area--many great photographers have published candid shots of people who were unaware--I guess it is a fine line!

  8. I wondered why you were getting up at 6:00am to go to a photography class - now, I know. Those sand dune pics are spectacular.

    As for Barney? Get real, Barney - are you telling us that all the pics of folks at the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl and other sporting events which are splashed across the front pages of newspapers and the Internet are all illegal??

    Looks like I'll have to catch up with Wandering Willy down the road somewhere.

  9. We wondered about WW being close also -- but it sounds as if (1) he's leaving soon, and (2) he will not be a rowdy noisy bunch.

    Just as your photos tell the story, your word descriptions paint vivid pictures that stretch our imaginatrions to try to see as you do! Keep on blogging, we'll keep on commenting.

  10. Al,take heart in the many varied groups that have their own interests enjoying your photos.One need not be a flower person to enjoy a particular photo of a flower if it is well done,just as those that hate storms can relish in the incoming storm front veiwed in the morning sunrises.I myself enjoyed the photo of the dehydrated petrified hissing snake that so many will only veiw as driftwood !

    Rick brought up a very good point about about taking pics of people in public places!

    Dont stop doing what your doing, it only is getting better all the time.

    the hermit

  11. Rick said exactly what I wanted to say so I will just say Great Job Al.

  12. Astonishing AL!!,,,,,I love your photo's and your writing style. Keep it up and keep lookin fer them WINDMILLS!!! :-)

  13. Hi Al: I haven't noticed a satlite dish around your rig. How do you uplink your Blog?

    As usual you have taken some very nice desert photo's.

    As for your opinions I like being around people who are direct and theres no question where they stand.

    Travel Safely: John Rosasco

  14. Oh, my, those are gorgeous photos. I live about 2 hours from you, and have never been there. I have a friend who goes boondocking there all the time, but didn't realize until I saw your photos how lovely it is. As for Barney, ignore him. The above posters are correct and you've done nothing wrong.

  15. Another excellent post!

    I agree with you comments about blogging. Since I starting regularly blogging, I have a renewed interest in learning and thinking about how I am going to write about a place or event on the blog.

    Great pictures.

  16. You certainly have an eye for what makes a good photo. You can teach technique, but you can't teach someone to have a good eye. Fabulous photos!

  17. Great shots of a fun morning.
    To bad that guy in black with the white beard kept getting in your way.
    You have an interesting blog that is now one of my favorites---keep it going.
    I posted a few shots from the day on today.
    If you get over this way give us a shout.
    gene wild