Lori Carey Photography

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Stone concretions at the Pumpkin Patch in Ocotillo Wells near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

Wowee I have been out doing so much shooting lately that I can barely keep up with processing, let alone blog about it...I need to start catching up!

We were in Anza-Borrego two weekends ago to photograph the Lyrid meteor showers. It was 106+ degrees out there and not fun. My husband joined me on this trip and he was a pretty good sport about it. One thing about going to Anza-Borrego, which is in the Colorado desert region of the larger Sonoran desert, as opposed to the Mojave is proximity to civilization; good or bad depending on your viewpoint. In this case it was an advantage because we decided to run into town (Borrego Springs) for some ice cream in the afternoon when the heat was making us cranky. We spent the day checking out some trails in the Badlands area before setting up to watch the meteor showers at Vista del Mapais, a lesser-known viewpoint overlooking the Badlands.

The photo above is of some of the sandstone concretions in an area of Ocotillo Wells adjoining Anza-Borrego Desert State Park known as the Pumpkin Patch. It is said that the concretions form in a manner similar to pearls, started by a piece of shell, a grain of sand or even an insect. The concretions in the Pumpkin Patch were formed in the sediments of the ancestral Colorado River some three million years ago. Natural erosion caused by wind and rain gradually reveals the strange formations. The largest patch of them are fenced in to protect them, but erosion continues to reveal more of them up on the hillsides.

If you want to go see them, take the trail through the Arroyo Salado Campground into the Arroyo Salado Wash. At 3.5 miles from pavement make a right at the turnoff for 17 Palms Oasis. Continue past 5 Palms Oasis and when you reach the next junction at Tule Wash, stay left following the wash until you reach the Pumpkin Patch on the right. An unexpected added bonus is a very clean bathroom located at the site. The trail is deep loose sand and 4WD is strongly recommended.

These type of globular masses can be found throughout the southwestern deserts. A few other places to see stone concretions in the Anza-Borrego area are Arroyo Tapiado, Arroyo Seco del Diablo and Cannonball Wash.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Borrego Springs Sky Art

Night photo of Giant Eagle sculpture by Ricardo Bracedo for the Galleta Meadows Sky Art installation.

I've always wanted to photograph the giant metal sculptures by Richard Braceda that are scattered throughout the desert in Borrego Springs and I finally had my chance last month to do some night photography. These sculptures are impressive enough during the day but at night they almost seem to come alive.

Galleta Meadows owner Dennis Avery commissioned Bracedo to create many large metal sculptures for display on the open desert property he owns in Borrego Springs, California near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He graciously allows the public to wander his private property to view the sculptures and enjoy the desert scenery. The original group of sculptures represented native animals that roamed these lands many years ago, later sculptures were added to reflect the history of the area, and the most recent are whimsical in nature. There are currently over 120 sculptures throughout the Borrego Valley.

The Giant Bird with a rattlesnake in its talons seen in the image above has a 30 foot wing span and is 24 feet from beak to tail. The Tyrannosaurus rex seen below is 20 feet tall. Since there were six of us all trying to shoot at the same time we were a bit limited in what we could do because we had to take turns and leave room for each other. Some of my friends have done incredible star trail shots here in the past but I was happy to do some light painting with shorter exposures. The top photo was done using my favorite warm light flashlight and the bottom photo was light painted by someone else using a colder light.

Night photograph of Tyrannosaurus Rex sculpture by Ricardo Braceda for the Galleta Meadows Sky Art installation.

There are many really cool sculptures there and I'm looking forward to adding more photos of the Sky Art to my collection soon. If you want to visit the sculptures in person you can get a map of the locations on the Galleta Meadows website.