Let’s get this out of the way right now. In case you’re wondering, no, the clouds were not exactly like this when I took this picture of the Palm Springs Visitor Center.
That’s not entirely true. The clouds on the right side of this iconic structure are natural and looked just like this when we visited Palm Springs between Christmas and New Years’ last year. On the left side of this hyperbolic paraboloid at the time I took this was a clear blue sky with a bit of the mountains showing at the base of the image.
As I looked at the original image with the symmetry of the building, it seemed incredibly obvious to me to turn this into more of a composite and take the clouds from the right and mirror them on the left.
Now, I appreciate if this is not your cup-of-tea. But for me, I think it really makes the image. Here’s the original shot below. You can decide for yourself which one you prefer.
Regardless of which photo you prefer (if either of them!), this is one of the most iconic buildings in Palm Springs, California.
It is now the Palm Springs Visitor Center, but it was originally the Tramway Gas Station and its construction was completed in 1965 and is considered to be a prime example of modernism in architecture.
Without a doubt, the defining feature of this building is the cantilevered, wedge-shaped canopy. There’s a sign on the building that describes this shape technically as a hyperbolic paraboloid.
If you go to Palm Springs, be sure to stop here. It’s on Highway 111 and serves as the entrance to the Palm Springs Tram.
Looking back through my 2014 photo library and came across this one of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park. This was one of my favorite shots of the weekend trip. I had seen photos of this landmark before, but didn’t realize how accessible it is. You literally drive up to this point and walk about 150 yards from the parking lot to this view. Sorry if that ruins it for you, but hey, if you’re looking to go to Death Valley, I figure I’m helping you find this location.
When Nathan and I went, we camped in the Furnace Creek campground. You can reserve a camping spot here. The Furnace Creek camping area is decent by most standards. Running water. Flushing toilets. This camp site is also the only one in the Death Valley National Park that takes advance reservations on the Internet or by phone and you can make reservations six months in advance. Fees are a very affordable $18 per night in the winter and $12 in the summer.
Depending on when you’re reading this or planning to go, be advised that Zabriskie Point and surrounding area in Death Valley will be closed starting in December 2014 for major rehabilitation work to repair unstable support walls. When we were there 12 months ago, it was very obvious that some work needed to be done. It’s estimated that these repairs will be completed by the end of March 2015.
I’ve tried to surf before and I’m terrible. So I think I’ll stick with photographing those who know what they’re doing.
The other weekend, we made the short drive down the coast to one of the most spectacular surfing points in the south central coast / northern southern California called Rincon Point. Man oh man, were the waves cooperating.
The Rincon Classic surf competition was going on just around the corner, but I was having fun shooting all of the amateur surfers who were just south of the pros.
There were dozens of surfers out competing for the waves. I have no idea how they keep track of and avoid each other as they are all trying to catch the same wave. They clearly have a method to the apparent madness and they all seemed to get along just fine.
This was one of my favorite shots of the day. One surfer was just trying to ride the wave out and get on the other side of it, while another surfer had clearly caught it and was making his way through.
This was taken around Thanksgiving 2014. We were up in San Francisco for the long weekend and went to the Exploratorium.