Despite my love for the high desert, I have to confess that it feels pretty good to be back in the mountains for the summer. This weekend, we headed to the San Bernardino mountains for a quick, local, Mother’s Day camping trip. On the way home, fog from a very heavy marine layer was working its way inland, and up into the foothills of the mountains. I loved the way it was drifting through the valleys, and watching it move slowly gave a lovely sense of peace.
Click on the image to view it large on black (highly recommended)
One of the things that gives this image its uniqueness is the skeletons of dead pine trees scattered throughout the hillside; however, its also those trees that make this a not-so-uncommon scene in the West. The trees were killed by mountain pine beetles, which have not only devastated forests in southern California, but all over the West. They burrow into the trees, and block their ability to assimilate nutrients. Its interesting to me how the appeal of an image can be imparted from the biology that killed the trees.
This scene is also is a reminder of the nature of landscape photography in general. Although you might see other scenes similar to this, no one will ever be able to make this same image again. As I made this image, I thought to myself about coming back on a day with similar weather, when I have more time to try making images. I probably will return at some point, but this was really serendipitous weather. Running into (or in my case, haphazardly stumbling upon) an ephemeral scene like this, and being able to make an image of it, is really the essence of the craft.
I hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day!