Calendar Photo of the Month- January 2015

Every year I put together a calendar of my favorite images of the year. I order a couple for me, and one for my friend Bill. This year, Bill asked for more information about each photo to give it some context. And thus was born a recurring series on this blog. Every month I’ll take the photo from that month’s calendar page and tell the story behind it.

On March 22, 2013, I set out from my car on my most ambitious backpacking trip to date. There are two regions in California’s Joshua Tree National Park. The more famous western half is the Mojave desert is relatively cool and wet, and filled with the namesake Joshua Trees. I was in the eastern half, in the drier and more desolate Sonoran desert. It’s too hot and dry for Joshua Trees to live there. Instead the predominant vegetation is creosote bush, which is as beautiful and inviting as it sounds.

I left the car with the heaviest pack I had ever carried, mostly because I was carrying four gallons of water, which by itself weights 32 pounds. My trip was to last four days, almost entirely off-trail.

I was alone.

On the second day of my trip I reached a spot called Ruby Lee Well. This was an abandoned mining camp, strewn with the remains of a foundation, broken glass, and rusted metal.

I took photos of many pieces of wreckage, mainly as an excuse to keep my heavy pack off my back. One of the pieces of rusted metal was an old bed frame, which became my primary photographic subject. I liked the repeated pattern of the swirly bedsprings and their shadows. I shot the calendar image above using my lightweight G12 camera and a blue-yellow polarizer filter. This special little toy acts as a regular polarizer filter, but also adds a blue or yellow tint, depending on the direction that it is rotated. Here is what the bedsprings look like in blue:

The rest of the trip was a success. Although being by myself in such a desolate area was definitely unnerving, I achieved my goal of climbing Monument Mountain. I didn’t see a single person on my four day hike.

Technical Data: Canon G12; f/5 at 1/80; ISO 400.