Author Archives: tmschultze

About tmschultze

T.M. Schultze is a San Diego area-based photographer, writer, and artist.

Anza Borrego Buttes and Slot Canyons

This weekend brought another storm to San Diego (wildflowers should be fantastic next month).  In anticipation of picturesque weather in the desert, my friend Alex and I decided to head to Anza Borrego Desert State Park (see his post on the trip).

As usual, below is a gallery of images from the trip.  Clicking on any of the images will launch the slideshow.  Read below for more information.

Alex suggested we visit a loop he has completed that took us from The Slot parking lot up the West Butte Borrego Mountain (one of the Sierra Club San Diego County 100 Peaks), down a ridge to the lower wash below the Dropoff, over some wind cave formations, and finally up through the Slot and back.  All told, this turned out to be about 5.9 miles.

Anza Borrego – Everything Is Green!

As soon as we descended Highway 78’s Banner Grade and down the San Felipe Wash, it was apparent that the desert had completely transformed over the winter.  Drought-hardened plants and barren desert were now vibrant and green.

I wasn’t shooting landscapes much back in the famous 2005 wildflower season, but this certainly looked like as superb as it could get.  In particular, the ocotillos really stood out.  Each branch was covered with beautiful green leaves, thriving in a superb winter season.  Some sprouted a few flowers, but it was a little early.  I like to look for Ocotillo flowers because they tend to be the earliest to signal spring has arrived.

On our hike, there were dramatic scenes unfolding to the West as the storm cleared the Laguna Mountains.  Beautiful cloud formations could be seen throughout the Borrego Valley. Occasional cloudbursts in the Hellhole and Borrego Palm Canyon areas were apparent from miles away.

Hiking Up West Butte

The West Butte was a relatively easy hike up.  There was a rock cairn on top that was assumed to be the peak, but that wasn’t the case.  The reason for the cairn placement was not apparent.  On top, there were seemingly three different “summits.”  It was difficult to tell which one was indeed the top.  If anything, there were within a few feet of each other.  Just in case, we went to the top of all three, so nobody can say we didn’t actually make the top.

The ridge walk down to the bottom wash was a couple miles of easy hiking, until we reached a difficult talus slope near the bottom.  This was not a great area to scale down with a camera around your neck, but I was loathe to put it in my camera bag because with the weather, there seemed to be a great scene at every turn.

Wind Caves And A New Arch

Alex took me up a scenic route straight up some steep slickrock to a wind cave section.  It reminded me of the Hole in the Rock area of Mojave National Preserve.  The personal highlight for me was a beautiful arch in the wind cave area.  It had a nice opening to Toro Peak in Northern Anza Borrego.  The arch is not named, to the the best of our knowledge.

The Slot

On the last leg, we reached The Slot.  This is still an area I struggle to make great images.  There is one section that is intensely narrow, and there is always a lot of people coming through on weekends.  The rock is also a neutral brown, and it doesn’t glow with reflected light (it is definitely not like Antelope Canyon).  Some of the slot canyon is also relatively open at the top. This makes it very difficult to keep the sky out of the image, resulting in a need for dynamic range that exceeds what our digital cameras can do.

I am hoping the coming weeks, with more rain on the way, will seal the deal and make this the best wildflower season since 2005.  Henderson Canyon and Hellhole Canyon will be extremely busy, but I am hoping to find some other places a little out of the way to enjoy Anza Borrego some more.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the images.

Sunset Over Diablo Dropoff

Arroyo Tapiado: Mud Hills, Mud Caves, Anza Borrego

In the second part of my weekend travels with good friend Chris Horn, we decided to do some wandering through Anza Borrego.  This post primarily concerns our travel through Arroyo Tapiado and their famous mud caves.

Below is a gallery of images to enjoy.  I encourage you to read more below. Continue reading

Making The Great American Novel

About That Novel I Was Going To Write…

At long last, I am embarking on a long-desired project, the completion of my first novel.

I have been writing for nearly as long as I could read.  Before my 30s were defined by my love for photography, I spent much of my teens and 20s writing.  Most people do the majority of the writing in their lives as children, whether they be book reports, essays, or other class assignments. Continue reading

New Year’s Day – The Most Optimistic Day Of The Year

New Year’s Day is the greatest day of the year.  Be happy.  Be happier.  Eat better.  Exercise more.  Be a success.  Get back to your ideal weight.  Stay focused.  Save money.  Pay down debt.  Be more amiable.  Meet somebody.  Fall in love.  More importantly, have them fall in love with you.  Take fewer photographs.  Take higher quality photographs.  Stay off social media.  Stay away from television.  Stay away from politics.  Waste less.  Consume less.  Be less materialistic.  Write more.  Write that novel.  Find a publisher.  Don’t fear the future.   Or the reaper.  Lifehack without being too obsessed with lifehacking.  Learn to code.  Learn to code in multiple languages.  Rebuild your career.  Get that promotion.  Look for a new field.  Have a career plan.  Network with more people.  Be more social.  Make more friends.  Have less anxiety.  Worry less.  Embrace that mid-life crisis.  Make a difference to others.  Get to know more people.  Spend fewer nights at home.  Admire the stars.  Make a few images of them.  Wish upon a meteor.  Don’t worry if your wish comes true or not.  Be optimistic for the future.  Make all your dreams come true.  The world is your oyster.  You can do this.  You can do it.  You got his.  Starting today, on New Year’s Day.  All is quiet on New Year’s Day.

Don’t fret when none of these come true in 2017.

Best Images of 2016 (12 Images)

At the urging of many friends, I am creating a post that includes what are my personal favorite images of 2016. Continue reading

Gray Reflecting Moment at Hospitals Reef

September Morning At Hospitals Reef (7 Images)

September Morning At Hospitals Reef

My good friend Alex Kunz and I spent the morning visiting Hospitals Reef in La Jolla.  This is one of the most popular sunset spots in San Diego. Continue reading