In late winter/early spring, the normally hot and dry desert of east San Diego county, Anza-Borrego, comes to life with wildflowers and cactus blooms. We were a little late in getting out there this year and most of the vast fields of flowers were gone by, but it seemed still a little early for most of the cactus flowers. I prefer the cactus anyway... they are more unique and somehow more interesting to photograph than simple flowers because they come in such wild shapes & textures and each has it's own special bloom, most of them really beautiful. The ocotillos are tall and wispy, with small red flowers on the ends (the one seen here didn't have many yet) but have brutally sharp barbs hidden by the small green leaves. The other cactus below is a beaver tail (I think you can see where that name comes from) and they have these really bright pink flowers each spring.
There are some challenges to working in this environment; I have been stabbed several times by cactus for not paying attention while maneuvering to set up a shot and the light is usually extremely harsh during the day due to the dry climate and clear blue sky. Better to forget the big scenics during the mid day and concentrate on detail subjects. Even for that I try to bring along my trusty fold out reflector/shade to knock down the bright sun - I was able to use it to good advantage on this one. The colored lichens on the rock were kind of a color bonus. My main reason for being in this particular spot was to find a rock with some ancient native-american pictographs that I had read about.. I'll cover those separately in the near future.