Posts in Category: Anza Borrego Desert

Bristly Fiddleneck

Sometimes the beauty is in the small stuff…and in the small details. In all the great flower show of the beginnings of an Anza Borrego Desert superbloom, this tiny flower caught my eye. I think it is Bristly Fiddleneck, but there are several possible Fiddlenecks that grow in the Anza Borrego, and I would not be too surprised if it were one of the others. 🙂 I am not an expert. I found it coming back down the Hellhole Canyon Trail at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, near the end of our March 4th flower adventure. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.

Desert Still-life

Hiking back down Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, on our March 4th wildflower excursion, we found this little natural still-life all set up and waiting. The big cholla stump and the short cholla with the Common Phacelia twined around it, against the backdrop of the Anza Borrego Desert canyon landscape and the Ocotillos standing tall…something for the eye in every corner. In-camera HDR. Sony a51000 with 16mm prime and UWA converter for an 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.

Wildflower Carpet

We hiked part way up Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park when we went wildflower hunting there in early March. This is a mixed stand of Parish’s Poppy (yellow), Wild Canterbury Bells (purple), and Biglow’s (or maybe Red-stemmed) Monkey Flower (pink). Simply wonderful! In-camera HDR. Sony a5100 with the Sony 16mm f2.8 lens and the UWA converter for an 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.

More Anza Borrego Wildflowers

Brown-eyed Primrose, Desert Lily, California Evening Primrose, Mix with Sand Verbina and Primrose.

We arrived in Borrego Springs late Sunday, after sunset, but we could not resist driving up Di Giorgio Road beyond Henderson Canyon Road to were the pavement ends to see the wildflower fields of the first of the superbloom. These shots were taken in the fading light. Brown-eyed Primrose is one of the most common Anza Borrego Desert wildflowers at lower elevations. Desert Lily can be found in isolated patches off Di Giorgio Road, (Coyote Canyon) and we found them the next morning out along S22 near Arroyo Salado Campground. I am sure they are other places as well. We found Evening Primrose wherever there were flowers. And finally a mixed stand of Brown-eyed Primrose, Sand Verbena, and maybe one of the popcorn flowers? Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 400mm equivalents. Macro mode. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 100-250. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.

Along S22, Anza Borrego Desert

Desert Sunflower, Sand Verbena, California Chicory, Desert Pincushion

It is time to share some desert wildflower closeups from our visit to the Anza Borrego Desert in southern California. These flowers were all found within a few feet of each other on the hillside between S22 and Truckhaven Trail just east of Borrego Springs (there is actually a pin there on google maps, with some photos of the wildflower bloom, courtesy of They are, clockwise from the upper left, Desert Sunflower, Sand Verbena, California Chicory, and Desert Pincushion. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 between f5 and f6.3. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-thoated Sparrow, Hellhole Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert

We went to the Anza Borrego Desert in Southern California to see the beginnings of the superbloom of 2019, but that did not mean we did not enjoy the birds. Hellhole Canyon was full of Black-throated Sparrows, all around us, singing, and perching up for us to look. Such a perky little sparrow! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/400th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.

Desert Lily

Among the whole wonderful display of desert wildflowers at Anza Borrego Desert this season…at least a mini super-bloom year, and perhaps a full blown super-bloom…the Desert Lily is among my favorites. This is the image I imagined when I ordered the ultra wide landscape kit last month (among others). Off SR22 in the Anza Borrego badlands east of Borrego Springs. In-camera HDR. Sony a5100, 16mm f2.8 pancake with the Ultra Wide converter for 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.


Phainopepla. Palm Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA

The Phainopepla is a silky flycatcher, the only representative of its Central American family to reach the US. It is a desert dweller and is frequently seen around any water source in its arid habitat. This specimen, a male, was along the running part of the stream in Palm Canyon, up toward the Palm Oasis, in Anza Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs California. They feed on insects and Mistletoe berries. Interestingly, according to the wiki, they peal the berries and digest the skins separately from the meat…so they extract maximum nutrition from the fruit. They are the only birds known to practice this trick. Unlike most flycatchers, they are also mimics, with a repertoire of half-a dozen or more other birds calls.

They are certainly striking birds, with their silky, glossy, jet black feathers, jaunty crest, and bright red eye. Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f6/5. Processed in Lightroom.

Master Gardner in the Desert. Happy Sunday

Di Giorgio Road, Borrego Springs CA

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light.” Jesus.

This is a “chance” arrangement of wildflowers from the end of Di Giorgio Road in Borrego Springs, California…part of my Desert in Bloom series from my visit to the Anzo Borrego Desert last week. If you believe in chance, which I don’t. 🙂 I see the hand of the Master Gardner here, in this arrangement of Desert Lily, California Evening Primrose, Sand Verbina, and Common Cryptantha (I think it is Common but it could be one of the others). All I had to do was see it, and put a frame around it. And even if you don’t believe in a Master Gardener who makes arrangements in the desert where they may or may not be seen and appreciated, there is a little bit of Master Gardner just in seeing, framing, and sharing the arrangement when found. Or that’s what I think. 🙂

The generous eye is active…proactive…constantly looking for, and therefore seeing, God in the world. God working beauty. God working love. God working good. God working blessing. God working protection. God working. Here in the desert, God works beauty, as the Master Gardener. In my drive over the mountains in a sudden snowstorm to get to the desert, God certainly worked protection. Both were a blessing…totally undeserved…total grace. Just God being God. That is what the generous eye sees. I remember the feeling of finding this arrangement of wildflowers in the desert. I was delighted! The light within me leapt up. I thought “What a God!” and gave thanks…thanks for the work, thanks for the seeing, and thanks for the opportunity to share. It was a moment of pure generosity. Happy Sunday!

Nikon P610 at 115mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f5. Processed in Lightroom.

Desert Bighorn Sheep Browsing

Desert Bighorn Sheep, Palm Canyon, Anzo Borrego Desert State Park, CA

Desert Bighorn Sheep, Palm Canyon, Anzo Borrego Desert State Park, CA

During my encounter with Desert Bighorn Sheep in Palm Canyon at Anzo Borrego Desert State Park in California, the sheep were actively browsing the whole time I watched them…and that is using the word “browse” in its original sense 🙂 They seemed to be stripping fresh leaves, new shoots, and maybe even flowers from the desert bushes. Here you have Indigo Bush (purple) and Creosote Bush (yellow). Note the delicate technique of closing the lips and teeth loosely around the stem and drawing the head back to strip the good stuff! It takes a lot of tiny leaves and shoots to fill the belly of a Bighorn Sheep…which is undoubtedly why they were so intent on their browse.

Nikon P900 at various focal lengths and exposures. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.