My March 2020 Photo of the Month is LM115, taken in early March during a rainstorm clearing the Laguna Mountains in San Diego County.
It is unusual to post my monthly Photo of the Month on the 19th. I can think of no better way to illustrate what is going on in our everyday lives than to give up hope of creating a better image. The likelihood of a County-wide order to Shelter-In-Place is growing. I am not a big practitioner of in-home photography, so this is what you get.
I took this photo on March 1 after the driest February on record. The winds were howling, the clouds were moving fast, and the temperature dropped quick enough that I decided to leave Laguna Crest after 8 images in case snow started coming in.
A lot of people stop at the USFS Storm Canyon Overlook, the one with the nicely-built deck. This is an alternate view, about a half-mile up Sunrise Highway. It appears this small turnoff is a piece of an older version of Sunrise Highway. You can see older road going North, although its only dirt now.
What I liked most about the image was the symmetry. I carefully composed so just a little of the foreground brush was viewable, and let each mountain take its section of the image. Then, I was blessed with just a little magic from Mother Nature, as the clouds created a great pattern. Even though this is a still (the wind was just too bad for a long-exposure image), you can still sense the turbulence as the storm fought the rain shadow over the crest.
Gimme Shelter….If You Must
Is there reason for hope? I suppose. My last post was both fatalist and ended on a hopeful note. The cabin fever has already set in. I have had to do very little behavior modification as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As an introvert, I was into social distancing before it was a term.
But I also like to be active, and outside, and experiencing new things, particularly in the outdoors. The prospect of sheltering-in-place for 2 weeks or more is already messing with my mind. (Editor’s Note: Within seconds of posting this, my friend texted me that the entire State of California is now shut down.) Will I even have an April Photo of the Month? I don’t know how we will all get through this, but history shows we will. If this is the last good image I have for March, then it’s meant to be. I took some of Gary Crabbe’s last blog post to heart, and if I must sit at home, it will be in Lightroom searching for good light of the past.
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.