Wednesday, my alarm went off at 3:50am, and I quickly grabbed my gear and headed out the door to make the 2 hour drive out to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
The day before, Dustin LeFevre and Emily Dickey, two landscape photographers I'd met online (Instagram rockstars, @dustinlefevre & @ienjoyhiking), had messaged me about meeting up for some photography in the desert. They flew in from Utah, and only had 2 days in California to work with. So we put together a list of places to explore and photograph.
I met up with them at 6:20am at the spot where they'd camped for the night, on a jeep road that marks the beginning of a 4x4 route to a remote and relatively unphotographed Badlands overlook.
We arrived at the badlands with just minutes to spare. As the sun crested the eastern horizon, there was a delay in the light, as a dense layer of fog in the distance over the Salton Sea caused it to form a big orange disc. Then, the sun rose from the fog and ignited the vast expanses of badlands in a vivid pink and orange glow that painted the hills in gorgeous light and color. (Those images are coming up next!) After the sunrise, we 4-wheeled our way back to the paved road, grabbed their rental SUV, and headed over to this slot canyon area, where they hopped into my 4x4 and we headed into the canyon wash systems, driving as far in as possible and then hiking the rest of the way on foot up the canyons. We spent the morning exploring 3 different slot canyons, and experienced some beautiful light.
They soon had to leave for San Diego to catch their outbound flight back to Utah, so we ended the day early and I even made it home in time for lunch. What an incredible privilege and blessing it is to live in such close proximity to this desert wonderland! On our way out of the last canyon, we stopped and took turns taking photos of each other in the canyon to show some scale and to give you an idea of what it's like to walk through these halls of light and stone.
Want to bring the serenity of the desert into your home? Beautiful framed traditional, aluminum and canvas fine art prints of the images in this post are available here.
"The desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation."
– Walter Elliot