My August 2020 Photo of the Month is EC35. This was an image made near Warner Springs, California during a beautiful monsoonal storm.
Monsoonal activity is a Summer highlight after Southern California’s onshore flow subsides and the weather heats up. For the Four Corners region of the United States, this often means afternoon thunderstorms, every single day. For those of us further West and closer to the coast, it means a lot of watching weather forecasts and webcams.
The monsoons in East San Diego County don’t happen every day, so it is important to be ready to go on a moment’s notice. The pandemic has cancelled so many other parts of life, 2020 has been suitable to this. On a weekend, when I am not working, it is particularly important to be ready.
Monsoons spawn incredible weather. It’s not just the incredible cumulonimbus clouds. There are also paradoxical elements. For instance, when I set up to make this image, it was 106 degrees near Warner Springs, and I was getting rained on!
I find the light and shadow in this image interesting. The trees that line a large meadow are lit up, but Hot Springs Mountain and its associated range are completely in shadow. The clouds are dramatic. In fact, a few minutes earlier there was a microburst in Warner Springs that I photographed from the West. These moments, captured in a still image, are important because they change quickly. EC35 came about from years of driving County Highway S-2 and thinking about what the right moment would be to capture a moment.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
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.