I started the month of March by flying to corporate headquarters in California. I flew out on a Tuesday to prepare for a conference the following week. As luck would have it, the conference was canceled on Thursday, the first personal impact that the corona virus would have on my life. I decided to stay in California for the rest of my trip, not knowing what was on the horizon. I started talking to my friends about a weekend hike I was planning. Justin asked to join me, and I gladly accepted the company.
Our destination was Eagle Peak, a mountain in the eastern portion of Joshua Tree National Park. At 5350’ elevation, Eagle Peak isn’t particularly high. It makes up for this by rising up thousands of feet above the flat valley floor of Pinto Basin, a massive bulk of granite that dominates the landscape. Eagle Peak has no trail, which added to the adventure. The hike starts on an abandoned road. Although it hasn’t seen traffic in many a decade, plants grow slowly in the desert, and it was fairly easy to follow. From there, we left the road behind and headed cross-country to a wide ravine on the side of the mountain. The open desert was surprisingly interesting, with huge slabs of slickrock-like granite and piles of exotically shaped boulders. When we reached the base of the mountain, the route led steeply up the rough ravine. Once at the top, we continued over a series of hills and valleys, filled with dense vegetation that scraped open my flesh on my legs, arms, back, and neck.
The views from the top were spectacular, stretching in all directions. The landscape was barren and brown, broken up only by the Salton Sea and distant snow-capped peaks. We relaxed, ate lunch, and took pictures. This shot facing north was a typical view, and it became my favorite image of the week.
View from Eagle Peak
Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 24 mm, f/8 at 1/160, ISO 200.
Digital Darkroom. Post-processing started with the Velvia film simulation. From there I increased contrast (+16) and texture (+23). I boosted up the exposure by a quarter stop. After that, I painted the foreground rocks and dropped highlights there by -91 to prevent some blinding hot spots that would have continuously drawn the viewer’s eye away from the vista.
WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.