I took thousands of pictures while hiking this past year and some even turned out OK. Digital photography is a wonderful thing because it used to be that you'd have to develop your film to discover that only 2 of the 36 pictures you took were any good. Now, you can snap away freely and if you don't like the pictures, just hit DELETE and you're done.
A professional photographer I am not. All of my pictures were taken with your basic point and shoot camera with a minimum of fussing with the controls. I saw something I liked, pointed the camera and snapped. The main camera was a Canon S3IS. I like this camera because it has a 12X optical zoom but it broke on me twice, unfortunately. The first time I sent it to Canon for repair and now it's just sitting waiting to go back again. The other camera I used was a Canon PowerShot A540, a real basic camera. It worked OK but I really missed the extra zoom, especially when I came upon Bighorn Sheep, which I did a few times. I didn't do any real photo processing. I just uploaded them to iPhoto on my Mac and that was that. A couple of them I changed to B&W just for fun and a few I enhanced the color if they were too dark but basically they are as I shot them.
Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. Click on them to enlarge and if you'd to download one for your personal use, right click and save it to either your photo application or your desktop.
Trees don't last to long in the desert without a constant source of water. That's why there are so few of them. I took a number of pictures of dead trees and, for some reason, they tend to look better in black and white. At least, to me they do.
This bent over palm is near my home in La Quinta and is near where a water tank used to be. They put a road up to the location and planted trees around it but once the water system was upgraded, and the tank no longer used, all the trees died.
The palm in the Indian Canyons is still living despite its bent over position. I always call it the Rainbow Palm and people who go there seem to know what I'm talking about. I don't know if they have a name for it but to me it will always be the Rainbow Palm.
We did not have a great year in the desert for wildflowers but we did have enough rain so that we got a couple weeks of decent displays. I found the best place for flowers this spring was in South Palm Desert near the Visitors Center for the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa National Monument.
There were good displays of Desert Chicory.
The Notch Leaf Phacelia were particularly abundant and I discovered that they can irritate your legs if you brush up against them.
These little Windmill flowers were also all around. They were probably the most delicate little flower I saw this year.
The area off the Art Smith Trail was also pretty good for flowers, especially Cacti. There were a couple of days where the whole trail was lined with flowers although it didn't last for very long.
Cholla, Red Barrel and Brittlebush in the late afternoon light near the Schey Trail.
Red Barrel Cactus flowers in bloom.
The Boo Hoff Trail in La Quinta was also an area where I came across a fair amount of flowers. These pictures were taken over a couple week period in February on different sections of the trail.
The green bloom of the Silver Cholla.
Ghost Flowers are pretty common along Devil Canyon at the southern end of the Boo Hoff.
The Desert Five Spot just might be the prettiest little flower that blooms in the desert. This one was sort of a late bloomer and I saw it about two months after everything else had died.
While not really a picture of flowers I liked this photo so much I decided to include it here. I also might include it in the upcoming section about my favorite animal shots, too.
I also got a few shots in the mountains nearby but really didn't get any good floral shots in the high mountains. I think I may have just been there at the wrong time.
This one was taken on the trail on the way down from Cahuilla Mountain. It was part of a long plant that grew in a meadow up there. I have no idea what it is.
I was just about the take a picture of this Silver Cholla bloom at the start of my hike to Sugarloaf Mountain when a little milkweed bug decided to hop in my picture. He made a nice contrast to the color of the flower so I decided not to shoo him away.
People who've never been to the desert or who don't look to closely have no idea what incredible beauty exists in this stark and often barren landscape. But with just a little rain the desert turns into a carpet of wildflowers and lush life. Here's hoping for some good winter storms and more flowers this spring. I'm ready to point and click. How about you?