It seemed the only place in the country not affected by constant streams of cold Arctic blasts, ice storms, and mounds of snow was the southwest. During January and February, we enjoyed relatively mild conditions in Southern California and Nevada, which was a vast departure from the frigid temperatures we were used to up north. Safely arriving at our temporary home for conducting our Joshua Tree workshops, we nestled our rig in spot #16. Our tiny area of the RV cul-de-sac felt like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle because the snowbirds had already long settled in for the winter. Just like our life on the trail, we are beginning to settle into a rhythm of setting up and breaking down the RV for transport. Likewise, the affairs of everyday living are beginning to feel routine. For example, I have no room to leave dishes in the sink or on the counter, so everything that is used must be immediately cleaned. Terrific! I only make simple meals. The mornings are cold, so window blinds are fully opened to let in radiant sunlight during coffee time. Afternoons are hot, so down go the blinds and canopies, creating perfect conditions for a computer work session or cool catnap. As our sun sets behind the desert mesas, we go outside and watch each bursting color fade to a cool purple haze, signaling another day on the free open road.We spent some time scouting out various areas Brad wanted to take our participants during their instruction. It was also a good excuse to have a “date night” camping under the stars. I’m a pretty cheap date because my favorite thing is to comfortably sit by a campfire, cocktail in hand, and listen intently to… well, the peaceful sounds of nature. The methodic crackling of dry burning logs, baby coyotes yipping with their pack across the desert floor, and a gentle wind echoing through rock canyons and ravines seemed a more natural way of being than man-made sounds of the city. While relaxing under the stars, Brad could not help but reminisce about his first visit to the park. Having lived his life within the concrete jungles of southern California’s madness, his perspective about his world and everything above him changed when he first experienced the Milky Way galaxy under these same dark skies. On this serene night however, we bore witness to the city’s light pollution slowly creeping its way into what was once an enveloping pitch-black expanse. The first day, of our first workshop, the first participants disappointedly arrived from all parts of the world. Mother Nature decided to play a trick on us all by blowing in the biggest winter storm Southern California has seen in 18 months! Really? Alone in our RV, the wind seemed to come from all directions and horizontal rain pellets mirrored the trees, straining against the monsoon-like downpour. Our best laid plans needed a bit of tweaking, so Brad offered to take the group out additional nights and he conducted the classroom portion on the first day, hoping for improved conditions on day two. As luck (or divine intervention) would have it, our participants were granted the most wonderful and clear conditions for photographing the night sky that Brad had ever seen in this park! Our students came away with some amazing images and now newfound skills to create their own unique portfolios. It just goes to show that this particular genre of photography takes patience, practice, and a bit of luck to triumph over and master fresh skills. Way to go class of 2014!!
Well, our work here is done and it’s time to roll…literally. The high desert town of Moab, Utah and our Arches and Canyonland workshops await us. Natural red sandstone plateaus, arches, and canyons make for the most intense and unique backdrops for our night sky images. After a short resupply trip through “Lost Wages”, Nevada, we finally arrived amid a wind storm of 40 mph gusts (I’m sensing a pattern here), and safely backed in to spot #5 in our new neighborhood for the next two months. It’s a completely different vibe here; the little town of Moab is gearing up for the season in a bustle of anticipation, warm greetings, and new merchandise. Rock climbers, mountain bikers, campers, hikers, and many other outdoorsy types are here enjoying the trails and magic scenery. Brad and I anticipate an amazing experience with our next workshop participants in a land of beautiful and inspirational salmon-red arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths to complement their night sky images!
We are almost completely sold out of our workshops for 2014! Remember, NO WORKSHOPS ARE PLANNED IN 2015 so visit goldpaintphotography.com/workshops before all the spots are taken!
Marci & BradGood Kharma Kitty Blogging
Well, well, well, what do we have here? My latest and greatest accomplishment is finding the most popular traffic areas within this very tiny moving contraption called a “home” and air out my kitty parts. You see? Wherever you go…there I am and reminding you that the pack always sticks together. Why? Because I’m the mistress of this domain. Want to snuggle in bed? I’m not moving so take that other corner. Want to sleep in? I’m hungry so I’ll stand outside the door and practice my low; hallow meow singing voice until I get some respect, or milk, or lovey-dovies, or baby talk. Remember, this is my home and you are simply a house guest working long hours to buy me more kitty food!
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