Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Desert is a magical place.

To most making the "Vegas Run" I-15 is reason to complain and basically crab about nothing to see or do. I could not disagree more. It is an amazing place. I really learned to appreciate the desert and all its vitality and hazards while living in Death Valley for a year while I was taking a break from college.

I cannot think of any other place I have been where there were such extreme changes from season to season. How each season changes the landscape is something truly amazing if you take the time to see what's there. How life has adapted to this environment is equally amazing. Every drive through is a treat to just watch how light and shadow dance across the landscape.

Monsoon season starting as early as July in the Southwest is one of those extremes. It is during this time of year the Mojave Desert has these pockets of moisture pumped up from the Gulf of California. As this moist air hits the desert it is energized by the intense heat of the desert. What happens next is these incredibly intense highly localized thunderstorms spring up and provide quite a show, day or night. One of the more interesting phenomena is "verga" or rain that falls but never makes it to the ground as the air at the desert floor is so hot and dry it evaporates on its way down. Of course the recently evaporated rain goes back up to feed and energize the storm further.

I spent time last year in the Mojave around Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston in the Las Vegas area. I was up before sunrise (suppose sleep disorders do have some advantages) and hiked in a wash, watching a storm brew and the sunlight slowly skim the ridges and work its way into the canyon. Another day I was up on Mt Charleston and got to watch a surprise storm work its way across Kyle and Lee Canyons. Watching a monsoon work its way across the desert into the Spring Mountain Range is one of my favorite things to do.

I pulled out a few images from those shoots as part of the gallery exhibition I am preparing for in July. I also will have some of those images at the Art Walks on Myrtle Avenue this summer.

Enjoy, and remember my motto, buy your art to match your soul not the sofa!

Red Rock Drive Sunrise
Mt Charleston Storm

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