I was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas, just 70 miles or so north of the Mexican border. Basically that part of South Texas is a desert environment as defined by vegetation—mesquite and acacia trees, thick brush, and, of course, cactus.
I never had a great appreciation of the South Texas desert, and I still prefer a nice redwood or sequoia forest over the desert environs.
However, I do think that desert pictures subject to serious photoshopping make better pictures than the forests.
Here, then, are some Photographic Art of the environs known as the Southern California High Desert, specifically in and around Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:
I visited the desert back in August, and I’m still wondering where the plums are in Plum Canyon.
This one shows those “purple mountains majesty”:
The following picture shows a “wash.” Washes are where the waters flow during heavy desert rains, and that cloud you see in the picture brought some heavy rains to where I was. I didn’t stick around to get a picture of any flash floods; I’m more of a dry weather guy.
In the following picture are two ocotillo, a plant that is quite beautiful in the spring when it blooms. Surrounding them, and in the middle of the picture, are cholla cactus (Cylindropuntia sp.). Most of the cholla found in Southern California are called “jumping cholla” because the stems easily break off if you brush up against them, and when these things become stuck to your clothing or your skin, it is painful and the thorns are difficult to remove.
Looking like a moonscape:
This mountain had been scarred by a recent wildfire:
Wildfires are common throughout Southern California. Upon first glance, it doesn’t appear that there is much to burn in a desert, but the saltbush and manzanita provide real nice, oily materials that produce great fires.
In the following picture, I was tempted to follow that road, but my car is a front-wheel drive vehicle, and I’ve learned not to trust it in off-road conditions. There are over 500 miles of dirt roads in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
This shows the community of Borrego Springs in the middle of the picture:
For the picture above, in the map below I was standing due west of the B in Borrego Springs at the green border.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, established in 1933, is the largest state park in California, comprising 585,930 acres. The park is very popular in the spring, especially after a good, wet winter, because of the wildflowers, but it’s well worth a visit at any time of the year.
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Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.