I can remember when I first visited the southern California desert being fascinated by the large panoramic vistas and the wealth of detail that was available to shoot more intimate landscapes. While I love shooting at both sunrise and sunset, I feel that I can't ignore the opportunities to shoot during the rest of the day, despite the lighting being harsh or the weather not cooperating, for example.
These sundried mud tiles are a great example of such an opportunity. I took this shot in the early afternoon and liked how the shape of the curled-up edges of the mud tiles have been exaggerated by the deep shadows that they cast and those underneath them. I deliberately filled the image with the tiles to highlight the individual tiles' natural mosaic pattern. I wanted to capture the beautiful golden brown color of the tiles and show the detail in the loose sand that rests on some of the tiles.
The sun-scorched and withered plant draws your eye into the scene, and then you explore the shapes, tones, and texture of the individual mud tiles. Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California and is located within the Colorado Desert. It covers a vast area of almost 600,000 acres and is best explored with a four-wheel-drive vehicle as many of the best locations to photograph are well off the beaten track.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor