Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pure and Simple

It's back... Winter that is.  Being February, most of you will say: "What do you mean back?.. it never left where we are!"  Well, we like our variety of climate here in southern California.  After a few weeks of warm and dry weather, we got hammered with over a foot of snow at our house and much more a bit higher up... and out in the forest, where I spent the whole day on Sunday stomping around in pristine white powder with my cameras. In fact, after the last shot of the day and towards dusk, I still had to hike quite a bit uphill to get back to the road and was really struggling the last bit. Walking around in the snow loaded with gear starts to take it toll.. it sure felt a lot harder going up late than it did going down earlier:)
I was working for a while early with my digital camera and then switched later to film, so we'll have to wait a week or two to see what I got there.  I'm pretty pleased with 4-5 of these digital shots, though... especially this one.  I think it does pretty well what I am always aiming for (with mixed success, of course).. pure design, texture and tone.  Looks like a watercolor painting, doesn't it? (And quite a contrast to the subject of my last few posts.)
I shot this vertically too; it seems to work in any format.. horizontal, vertical or square and I can see this one on the wall printed *large*.
I'm still digging out day by day from this storm.. just got the driveway shoveled and the car back into the garage tonight!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Palm Canyons: from the Inside Out

And finally, a view into the lush, shaded world found underneath these thick palm tree groves. A very surprising sight if you have only seen the more typical views of this extremely hot and dry desert region in southern California. No wonder the native people settled in this area, with it's shade and reliable water supply.
Seems like the almost spring-like weather we have enjoyed up in the mountains for the past few weeks is about to end, with rain and snow moving in for the remainder of the week.  It's been nice, but on the other hand I've been missing the chance to work on some more wintery-type images. Hope I'm not too busy digging out to get out and about for some good shooting.
Even if I get stuck in the house for a few days, that's o.k. too because I am busy doing a complete, from-the-ground-up redesign of my main web site... something I've been putting off for quite a while.  It's going to be REALLY nice, with a full, user friendly shopping cart integrated right into the galleries for print purchasing/licensing, a keyword search function and clean new interface.  I am reviewing, titling and captioning every image.  I've known since we moved away from the city (and my main outlet to sell work), that I need to do this, but it's a big project so it's been easier to procrastinate. I am still debating whether or not to open a physical gallery this year.. depends on available local space and the economic outlook, but at least I will have a state of the art website in the near future.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Palm Canyons: from the Outside In

Before I post a few better ones that were shot along the cool shady stream flowing under these palms at Andreas Canyon, I thought this might be an interesting view to set up the general feel of the area. It can be an extremely hot and rugged place in the summer, but very pleasant right now, through the winter and into early Spring.
Some of you who read regularly have seen my recent posts of green forest and snow around where I live... this may seem like a very distant world in comparison, but in reality it is only a 50 mile drive, and only that far because I have to drive down and then part way around the mountain to get here.  Just out of curiosity, I fired up Google Earth and used the measuring tool to check the distance from where I live to this spot in a direct line: just 12 miles!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Desert Oasis

Winter seems to have taken a serious break up here on the mountain, so I decided to drive down to the desert on Saturday for some exploring and shooting, while moderate winter temperatures are still in effect.
Right in Palm Springs, but tucked up against the foot of San Jacinto, is a large network of beautiful canyons that still belong to the Cahuilla Indians, who used to live in these oases... and you can easily see why. Crystal clear streams flow down from the mountain, nourishing huge palm groves that in turn provide a habitat for many other plants and critters, and formerly the native people that used to live here. It's a truly beautiful and unique environment, surrounded by harsh, arid desert.  Underneath these shady palm groves and along the streams is a cool, lush world that you wouldn't expect to find in this otherwise hard and desolate looking area.
This is a view of Palm Canyon, the longest of the several canyons... there are interconnected hiking trails all over the area and I only had time to explore one of the smaller side canyons, so I will have to get back here soon. I shot this in the early evening light from a parking area at the top of the trail just before leaving for the day.
I'll have a few more from this spot as well as some other older stuff coming up, at least until we get some photo-worthy conditions up here in the mountains.