The San Jacinto Mountains

A snapshot of the San Jacintos taken with my iPad

A snapshot of the San Jacintos taken with my iPad

Art has the powerful characteristic of steering artists away from dogma. Should an artist become too dogmatic, they'll soon find their world narrowing quickly, and their art becoming stale. A stale life leads to stale art. To keep creativity alive one must remain receptive to the unexpected.

Recently I was driving across the San Jacinto mountains en route to photograph the Vietnam memorials in Palm Desert. It was early, and the sun had just barely risen. I wanted to arrive at Palm Desert early in the day to shoot the right light, and had awoken at 4:30. But I was beginning to worry that even a 4:30 wakeup was too late. The sun was rising higher and higher as I drove east, insistently shining in my eyes. 

Driving along the winding roads I noticed this scene to my left, the blooming plant, the unusual rock shapes blending together, the "V" on the hills in the background, and I was given the choice of continuing to the memorials and hoping the light was good, or stopping and shooting this sure thing. I pulled over to the side of the road and walked around for a while. For more than a decade I've driven along this area of 74, but I've often found it difficult to find the photographs I've wanted to make. I've written previously that photographing scenes like this is like photographing broken glass. It takes a while to find the rime and rhythm that initially attracted me. The land keeps its secrets until ready, and then it shares.

Once I found the rhythm, I didn't stop. I ended up photographing for about an hour and a half, finally stopping only because the morning wind started up.