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In my lightboxes:

Painted Rocks
Photo By Alice Adler

  • Title: Painted Rocks
  • State/Province/Region: California
  • Country: United States
  • Nearest Town: Fort Irwin
  • Brief Directions: On the I-15 between LA and Las Vegas, just outside of Barstow, California is a sign for Fort Irwin Road. Exit there and drive 30 miles through the Mojave desert nothingness to get to Fort Irwin. You cannot enter the military post without a military ID but luckily the Painted Rocks lie just outside the front gate.
  • Best Season: Autumn
  • Description: Outside the gates of the Fort Irwin Army post is a massive pile of huge rocks, each one painted with the insignia from military units that have trained there. (Fort Irwin is the National Training Center, the Army's biggest training area.) It's decades of military history, right there in a huge pile of stones, and reminiscent of the ancient stone paintings that can be found throughout the Mojave Desert. The folks stationed here call it The Painted Rocks and it is a popular spot for photography. I teach a photography class on post and this is where my students always want to go on field trips. On this trip the desert sun was setting bathing the colorful rocks in golden light, but the strong sidelight also highlighted the tracks in the sand from the military vehicles that drive off road in the area. Waiting for my students to arrive I was drawn to the high contrast tracks next to the familiar pile of rocks. Converting the image to black and white in Lightroom only emphasized the contrast.
  • Gear: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70 2.8 at 24mm, f/16, 1/80, ISO 200
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