Lori Carey Photography

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mean Mojave Green

Mojave Green rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

This rattlesnake decided to get in a standoff with my Jeep the other day while we were prowling around the outskirts of the El Paso Mountain Wilderness in Kern County. The Northern Mojave Rattlesnake is more commonly known as the Mojave Green because it often is a silver-green color that allows it to blend into the creosote scrubland it inhabits. It is considered to be the most deadly of all pit vipers because its venom contains a neurotoxin in addition to a hemotoxin. The venom of a Mojave Green is estimated to be as much as 16 times more potent than that of the Western Diamondback. Immediate treatment is required if you are bitten, so you don't want to mess around with this snake.

They are also more aggressive than Western Diamondback rattlesnakes (crotalus atrox). While other snakes will usually slither away if you give them a chance (stomping on the ground can help), the Mojave Green tends to prefer to stand its ground. This one refused to budge from the center of the trail for more than 15 minutes despite our remaining a good distance away once we spotted it. The upside is that I had more than enough time to grab a telephoto lens so I could photograph it from a safe distance. We didn't want to take a chance trying to drive over it, so we carefully chose a path around it where we would cause minimal damage to the plants.

The Mojave Green looks similar to the Western Diamondback. If it doesn't have the characteristic green color, the Mojave Green has a light stripe that extends from behind its eye to behind its jaw while on the Western Diamondback the stripe goes from behind the eye to intersect with the jaw, and the Mojave Green has 2 large scales between the supraoculars while the Western Diamondback has multiple scales, and near the tail where the diamonds fade the Mojave Green has narrow black rings that are often offset while the Western Diamondback has broad black and white rings that are fairly equal in width.

My husband had never heard a rattlesnake in the wild before. "That's not how I expected it to sound," he said. It's a buzzing sound, not unlike a large swarm of cicadas. It doesn't sound at all like a "rattle" if that's what you are expecting. You can listen to a Mojave Green rattle here on the California Herps website.

The snakes are out and about on warmer days this time of year, so be careful out there! Wear boots, watch where you're walking, and be especially careful when scrambling on rocks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

54th Annual Tierra del Sol Desert Safari

The Cheeto, Randy's Off Road
The Cheeto, Randy's Off Road

I guess it's fair to say that I took an extended hiatus from blogging, although it wasn't intentional. Writing for DrivingLine has made it a bit harder to find time to write for myself, but I think the biggest mental hurdle I need to overcome is that I don't want to post photos on my blog or upload them to my website before they are published on DrivingLine. There is nothing in my contract preventing me from doing so, but it just didn't seem like the right thing to do. I would never share event photos to my social media sites either, for the same reason. By the time the photos and article are published on DrivingLine, I've already turned my attention to the next thing on my plate and and honestly just haven't been making time to go back and even upload the photos to my own site. The reality is, that doesn't help me or my business. DrivingLine has a niche audience, so I know that I've been limiting my audience when I only rely on them to get eyes on my work. And I realized that I haven't even been blogging about all of the other client work and places I've been published, which frankly is pretty stupid of me. And to top it all off, I've put very little focus on any photography outside of the off road world. I need to find a way to make all this work better for me, which probably means making up a strict schedule of days to review my work from the previous month, a schedule of social media days, a schedule for blogging...Or something like that, I'll get it figured out. So if you don't read DrivingLine, don't give up on me yet please!!

Texas Pride at the 2016 Tierra del Sol Desert Safari
Texas Pride

I covered Tierra del Sol's Desert Safari at the beginning of the month. It was held at a new location on the Salton Sea and there wasn't an official trail run this year, so I concentrated on all of the fun at the new obstacle courses. My article on DrivingLine explains why they had to find a new venue and why the new trails weren't open in time for the event. There was a storm coming in, and the beautiful cloudy sky was a nice change from the typical solid blue sky we usually get here in Southern California. Overcast skies give a nice softbox effect with even light, none of the dreaded harsh light and bad shadows that I usually have to deal with when shooting natural light in the middle of the day in the desert. And you have to love those moody skies for some drama! The late afternoon light was so gorgeous that I really wished I could sneak away to do some personal photography. I only stayed one day this year; I had the flu and was miserable, so I went out shooting for DrivingLine in the morning and afternoon when the light was best, and I worked at the 4 Wheel To Heal booth the rest of the day.

Red Jeep on obstacle course, 2016 Tierra del Sol Desert Safari

White truck on obstacle course, 2016 Tierra del Sol Desert Safari

Without a trail run I didn't shoot nearly as many photos as I normally would at this event. Since I was sick, I shot what I needed for the article and went home. Here is a slideshow with some of the images:

Or you can view larger images in the gallery on my website. In the gallery just click on any of the images to enter the lightbox where you can view them larger.

I didn't even stick around for the fireworks show this year, which I was looking forward to seeing in the new location. My photo of their fireworks show in 2014 was used on the Tierra del Sol website to promote this year's event. Prior to the event it had a countdown clock overlayed on it, and it looked really great on mobile devices.

Tierra del Sol Desert Safari fireworks countdown clock