Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, February 22, 2016

The first time is always more exciting

Emma and I headed out early this morning to revisit Sony Bono Salton Sea NWR.  I was hoping to see lots of waterfowl before they began their journey north for the summer.  An ulterior motive was to get some photos for the latest Photo Bug group challenge here at Jojoba.  Our assignment for next Friday is to bring in some photos where we only took one shot of the subject, and did no after shot processing of the photo.  I almost always process my photos before putting them on the blog.  Cropping is the most frequent tool I use, and I absolutely can’t stand tilted horizons.

This is a good challenge for me.  You have to think about composition, lighting, and myriad other things before pushing the button to take the shot.  I have to admit that I cheated a bit though, since I have difficulty keeping the camera steady.  If I thought the photo was blurry, I took a second shot.  It also helps if your subject isn’t moving, but as you know, wildlife is my favorite subject and it seldom holds still.

IMG_1249 (2)

Sony Bono NWR is a two hour drive away, and I was excited to find this coyote coming down one of the hills only a half hour into the drive.  I pulled off the road, lowered the passenger’s side window, and whipped up my 150-600mm lens camera only to find I couldn’t extend the lens.  It’s been several months since I’ve used this lens, and I really fumbled around trying to unlock the zoom.  This photo is severely cropped to even tell there was a coyote out there.

IMG_1256 (2)

Eventually I got the lens unlocked, and got this parting shot.  It’s cropped too, so I won’t be using it at Photo Bugs. 


Along the way I had to travel through a portion of Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  I just wished these ocotillos were in bloom so the flowers at the tips of the branches would have brought out a pop of red.

I got to the refuge and stopped at the visitors center to find out what was around.  Compared to the volunteer I talked to in October when I was here, this lady was lack luster.  It was rather disappointing.  What the hay?  She couldn’t answer my questions with anything other than a maybe or I think so.  Not the best person for the job I’d say.

Overall the visit was a bomb.  Didn’t find much, and took next to no photos.  The wind was blowing like crazy and the area made me think of what I had read about the dustbowl of the 1930’s.  You could barely make out the surrounding mountains. 

Oh well, I’ve found that the first time volunteering at a refuge is always the most exciting.  Everything’s new I guess.  It’s not so exciting the second time around.  I won’t be making any more trips to Sony Bono this year.  Time to set my sights elsewhere.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy 


  1. Too bad about the volunteer... the first impression she'll make on visitors doesn't sound very promising. And you're right... first times are more exciting whether you're the volunteer just arriving or a visitor who may be there only a few hours. Interesting that your visit to the Sonny Bono refuge was a bomb... we've been there only once and didn't care for it at all.

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  2. It was a windy day here too too bad the refuge was a bomb, guess you be looking for a new place to explore.

  3. There's so much more to see and do out there, don't let this disappoint you.

  4. I've found that I need several years between visits to an area for me to be able to enjoy the second visit. And even then, sometimes they do bomb. Good luck with your photo challenge.

  5. That's a catchy title all right. Your photo challenges are very interesting. I too have the tilted horizon problem and have to fix every one. I'm impressed with your finding so many things to be part of in your new winter home.

  6. Sorry your trip was a bust. Some folks make you question why they volunteer. I like your take on the serpent in Borrego Springs.

  7. We are so disappointed in AZ this trip. Have seen absolutely no wildlife to speak of. A coyote, regardless of how distant would be a real welcome.

  8. Sorry you didn't have such an exciting day. I agree...the first time is always the best. That might be why Paul and I don't usually go back to a place a second time. Why ruin a good thing. Now we do make a couple of exceptions like the Desert Museum in Tuscon.

  9. I think your coyote photos are absolutely wonderful! What a beautiful animal. I never do anything to my photos (cuz I can't see the little details anyway), but I do sometimes crop them. It's amazing how much it brings out in a picture - that's the only way I could get any recognizable shots of my foxes last year. I hope Mama Fox is back again with a new litter of kits, although I'll only have 2 weeks to see them this year.

  10. The ocotillo here at the Chihuahuan Desert have not started greening up yet. We had big winds yesterday, as well ... got out of Santa Elena Canyon at BB before the winds got bad ... it was a hold on to your hat time in the canyon. The winds when we got home to Lajitas were really rocking and rolling the rig all afternoon. All's quiet now ... and will hopefully stay that way for tomorrow's drive north.

  11. The Salton Sea is an odd place, anyway. You certainly have to wonder why some people volunteer if they're not interested.

  12. Hey . we will be in San Diego with Aja March 16-17. You having company for spring break?

  13. Judy, does your camera have a setting to take multiple shots at one time? I use this feature all the time. It is a nuisance to delete the ones you don't use, but you have a nice array of possibilities where one of them may be a keeper because it caught the animal mid-stride, or snapped just as your own grip was steady. My camera has this feature; it is called "continuous shooting" (Panasonic Lumix camera). My iPhone takes ten or eleven shots and then suggests which one is best. I usually choose to save the one suggested, and the next one, so I have two copies to play with. The unused shots are deleted automatically, so they don't pile up there, or require manual removal.

    Virtual hugs,


  14. Phooey, sorry your day at Salton Sea was bust. I really dislike desert wind, it's so drying that my skin can turn to alligator hide in one day! I crop most of my pictures, too, mainly to eliminate distractions. Be difficult to get a good shot (of moving wildlife) without using that tool. Oh well, better luck next time. Nice cropped pics of the coyote.

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