Friday, June 05, 2015

Top 10 California Parks #1: Anza-Borrego State Park

Sunrise light on Fonts Point
I've been exploring California for many years, and one of my favorite parks is Anza-Borrego State Park.  The largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego encompasses an impressive 600,000 acres (938 square miles). For photography, subjects include wildflowers, narrow, winding slot canyons, eroded badlands, cracked earth on a dry lake bed, desert plants including cacti and ocotillo, over 100 large, rusty metal sculptures, and more.

The most comfortable time to visit the park is in the fall, winter and spring months, avoiding the summer heat.  In late February through March, you may encounter a decent wildflower bloom.  


My favorite location in the park is probably Fonts Point, which offers nice views for both sunrise and sunset.  The only problem is that you have to drive for miles up the loose gravel of a dry wash to get there, so it's best reached in high clearance vehicles, even better if you have 4WD.

The rusty metal sculptures scattered around the desert surrounding the town of Borrego Springs often depict animals from the region's past.  They make popular subjects for night photography.  The adjacent community of Borrego Springs has been recognized by the  as a Dark Sky Community for its efforts to preserve visibility of the night sky.  The nights around the new moon dates in the summer are particularly good for Milky Way photography, and any clear night is good for star trails.

Not far to the east is the Salton Sea, and the 200 square miles of dunes at Imperial Sand Dunes can be productive for photographers to explore as well.

As I mentioned here on my blog recently, you can browse the latest photos from California's over 11,800 parks on the new Web site Caliparks.org.  

Later this summer, I’ll share hundreds of my favorite landscape photography locations in my new 320-page guidebook: Photographing California - Vol. 2: South - A Guide to the Natural landmarks of the Golden State.  Connect with me on social media sites for updates on the book's release, including a pre-release offer for author-signed copies.

If you use Flickr, you can also browse my Anza-Borrego album there for more photos from this park, to get an overview of the types of sights that you can see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreysullivan/sets/72157650176184687 

The 17 Palms oasis in Anza-Borrego