My April 2019 Photo of the Month is SCP1, a photograph created in San Diego County’s Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve.
April was a sigh of relief. The Spring wildflower season has been very good for Southern California, and brought out some of the worst in people. In addition, the value and power of flower photography was a little lost after everybody’s social media was covered in the same images. I have always wanted to do something a little different than the rest of the crowd.
My friend Alex Kunz suggested a hike I had been meaning to do for some time, at the Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve. When he asked if I wanted to do a loop hike which took you down into the canyon and back out, I was in.
There were still a lot of interesting flowers in the area, including some specimens that were fairly rare. As I am a lousy botanist, I’d recommend you read up in Alex’s blog for the latest in those finds.
This hike had some disappointment with the state of our hillsides, as the mustard was really starting to take over. Its an invasive weed, and hillsides throughout San Diego County are covered in it with no end in sight. In addition, where there is ranchlands (like Sycamore Canyon), you end up with the invasive wild oats and foxtails that crowd out the original native California grasslands.
I really didn’t have a photo to my liking until we were heading back up the Ridge trail to complete the loop. The light was getting low, and the trail steep, so I found myself catching my breath. South of the ridge, as the light was getting low, the shadows turned deep and I found myself an angle I loved. The geometry of these hillsides brought to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech at the Grand Canyon: “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it.”
The hills, the shadows, everything works perfect. You can even see what must be 20 miles South to San Miguel Mountain, although of course, this is urbanity, and the towers on top are plainly visible. Someday, maybe even these objects will disappear.
As always, thank you for viewing, and I hope you enjoy the image.
Photos of the Month Portfolio Gallery
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.