My April 2018 Photo of the Month is Transitions, a photograph taken in the Laguna Mountains during a clearing storm in San Diego County.
Granite Mountain is impressive, and as I looked over my April photography, Transitions was an easy selection for my Photo of the Month. Coincidentally, this was the second month in a row I created a composition involving Granite Mountain (see last month’s post and image, Layerscape).
I gave this some thought. Sunrise Highway is my favorite roadway in San Diego County, and I rarely have a disappointing trip through the Laguna Mountains. Granite Mountain sits due North from the highway when it descends from the Pine forests to the chaparral forest below 5,000 feet. When we have a storm clearing the region, the mountain’s position provides beautiful side-light in the afternoon and the shadows create drama. It’s well-positioned.
This “storm” was dry, but the clouds passing through packed some punch. In the usual exposed areas like Storm Canyon, Kwaaymii Point, and others, the wind was stunning and powerful. I saw a man knocked over by a gust that shooked my SUV violently (he was okay). One of the port-o-pots at Fages Memorial was blown over. It was some of the strongest prevailing winds I have experienced in a long time. I noticed each time I got back in my vehicle, I was totally out of breath. I realized the wind was so intense, I wasn’t breathing walking through it!
This image looks peaceful though. One interesting thing happened here that was incredible. I spotted this small, narrow, canyon as I passed on Sunrise Highway. The light and shadow contrast interested me immediately. There was nowhere to park though. I ended up parking far down the road and running back over a half mile. When I got there, I had an incredible moment. I could hear the wind howling, it was gusting very hard. However, I was in a small protective area where the road was cut in, and there wasn’t a breeze at all. Peace and calm in an area of turbulence.
Naming The Image
As far as I can tell, this canyon is not named. Oriflamme Mountain is slightly to the East, and of course, the beautiful sentinel, Granite Mountain is off to the North. Light is falling on the East canyon, while shadow rules the West. This is why I called this photograph Transitions. There is a transition of light as the storm blows through and the sun gets lower on the horizon. The storm itself is giving way to a transition in weather. And of course, this is the Laguna transition zone. The pines dominate above, this image is taken in the chaparral zone, and off in the distance, the desert awaits.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
Other Images and Reading
Portfolio: Photos of the Month
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.