Monday, March 26, 2012

Bill Dahl "California Images" Wrap-Up

The last day of Bill's "California Images" show at the 29 Palms Gallery was Sunday, March 25. The show was a big success--he sold nine photographs. Yay Bill! If you didn't get a chance to see the show in person, all of the images are posted at Bill's website, You can also contact him at

The above image, "Font's Point, Borrego" was a favorite that's on display again for the month of April--it won second place in the gallery's spring Members Show.

Above: "U We Wash, Tecopa." This is one of our personal favorites and brings back great memories of a favorite place.

Above: "Keys Ranch, Joshua Tree National Park." A review in the local paper said, "The stunning images, both in black and white and color format, range from the humorous to the nostalgic and vintage-inspired fine art."

Above: "White Butterfly, Randsburg." The show included a number of color images from Randsburg, taken during our trip there in October 2011.

Above: "Clearing Storm, Independence." This image also came from our trip in early October. An unexpected snowstorm drove campers out of the mountains but made for some great photo ops.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Surprise Tank

For my birthday this year, I wanted to visit Surprise Tank. The weather gods cooperated, and we were able to get a group of people together too, so it all worked out--I was a happy camper! Above: a view of the wash where the petroglyphs are located, which is very similar in feel to Little Petroglyph Canyon. They say there are over 900 petroglyphs here.

This site has many rock ledges above cave-like openings. The ledges right over the openings are heavily decorated with petroglyphs.

I was in search of a specific petroglyph, which as it turns out was located on one of the most heavily decorated ledges. It's the four-legged animal in the middle of the photograph above. David Whitley describes it as the figure of a now-extinct llama and dates it as approximately 16,000 years old. Whether he's right or not is up for debate--but with my interest in all things related to ancient camelids, I was glad to see this petroglyph in person.

There were some very interesting abstract figures at this site, see above; and also numerous grinding slicks, see below.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bobcat Napping

We've had a bobcat as a sometime visitor to our yard--though he may be passing through more often than we realize. This past weekend, some friends stayed over and saw him sitting in the back yard in the middle of the night, under the bright moon. The next day, he was taking a nap by the water dish in mid-afternoon--after a nice big rabbit lunch, no doubt.

Waking up is hard to do. Bill was napping himself, and when he got up for a snack, the bobcat was there, and stayed there while he took these photos through the dining room window. I missed the whole thing, being down in Palm Springs for a weekly poetry workshop.

Bill said that a roadrunner wanted to come over for a drink but wouldn't while the bobcat was there. No doubt many bunnies thought better of it as well. The water dish has been a busy place lately--our weather has been way too dry. We need rain.

As the bobcat walked away up the hill, Bill said that a bunny ran right into its path. The bobcat wasn't interested--probably still full from that lunch.

Sorry I missed this sighting. I do have a bobcat poem, though, about an encounter that took place during a meeting of my book club in Joshua Tree a couple of months back.

Looking Glass

Rock outcrops mark the edge of the wild
where the last house offers its water dish.
Predator and prey, they all show up
sooner or later. Today it’s the bobcat
minus her kittens, tall as a cheetah,
twenty feet from the picture window
where a group of women look out.
The mother looks back, each twitch
of her ears tracking the rise and fall
of conversation—patient, fearless,
her eyes nearly close while she waits.
On either side of the glass unfolds
a strange and magnificent movie,
replete with mysterious creatures
doing unfathomable things.
A quarter-hour passes this way,
one species regarding another,
before a silent signal breaks
the spell. The bobcat lopes off
on the route that belongs to her,
still thirsty, but patient.
She will be back.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Geology Tour Road Redux: Mighty Old Rocks

On Valentine's Day, we packed a lunch and took off for one of our favorite spots, the Geology Tour Road in Joshua Tree National Park. It was a blustery day--cool air, warm sun, and hosts of beautiful clouds passing through.

We pulled over and hiked a short distance to what we think was the Towers of Uncertainty area. There used to be a sign marking it, which we didn't see on this trip. Anyway, it didn't matter--we just enjoyed the boulders and the uncertainty of it all.

Balance Rock, above, is a landmark on the way to Malapai Hill, below. The hill is made mostly of black basalt. It's younger rock than the surrounding monzogranite boulders--maybe two or three million years old as opposed to 85 million years old.

Finally, the local Methuselah of the rock world is Pinto Gneiss ("Nice")--at around 1.7 billion years old, probably the oldest rock in the park. Gneiss is metamorphic rock, formed under great pressure; monzogranite and basalt are igneous rocks, formed from cooled magma. According to the Geo Tour Road brochure, "the alternate banding of light and dark minerals defines a gneiss."